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Pleading Your Case Can Get HS Rugby Back

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Pleading Your Case Can Get HS Rugby Back

Advocating and working with other sports can help rugby get back on the field, especially for high school teams and leagues.

We've seen it in Illinois, where it was the playing advocates who went back to Rugby Illinois to discuss changes in how the game will be played in order to get some games in. The Rugby Illinois Executive Committee last week approved rugby for the season (after appearing to be leaning toward a full cancelation) incorporating masking and travel restrictions and some unspecified game modifications. But the key here was that a group pushed back against cancelation with a plan.

Even bigger was Southern California, which not that long ago looked like it would not have much in the way of high school sports. SoCal Youth Rugby got together with representatives of other sports that sometimes (or always) get overlooked and started to lobby to play. They needed some data, and they needed the COVID infection rates in the region, especially Los Angeles, to drop. But they also needed to advocate for themselves.

Op-Ed: The Science Says Kids Should Be Allowed To Play

SoCal Youth Rugby CEO Giovanni Vaglietti was able to get his organization into a federal testing program so players can get tested regularly, and that helped. But also something very interesting happened the decision-makers in the State of California had a look at states that didn't halt high school sports. What they found was that COVID transmission rates were not the apocalyptic story the naysayers said they would be. 

In short, the states that didn't follow California's lead became the leaders for California to follow. 

Meanwhile, a group called Let Them Play fuled a a lawsuit against California’s COVID-19 restrictions against youth sports, and the upshot of all that advocacy was that high school sports will be resuming across the state. 

So there will be high school rugby in Northern and Southern California. SoCal will have four divisions for teams to select what is right for them—Open, Single-School, HS Club, and 7s—but it will be rugby no matter what. 

And it happened because people communicated, did their research, and advocated.

RMA: Shaking Up The COVID Response