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Postseason In D1A? Yes, But Expect Changes

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Postseason In D1A? Yes, But Expect Changes

The 2019 D1A final between Life and Cal. Might we see these two again in 2021? No guarantees. David Barpal photo.

D1A rugby has plans for a postseason this spring, but it’s going to look a little different from previous seasons.

Teams throughout the top level within the College Rugby Association of America have discussed where they are in terms of being ready to play, and what kind of season any type of play would look like.

The upshot is that aside from the Mid-South, we won’t see much in the way of conference play. Rumors remain that the PAC Rugby Conference might get a season done (it only needs three weekends to accomplish that after all), but given that currently the University of California at Berkeley has confined its students to dorm rooms except for food, toilet breaks, and medical visits (no exercise, no classes, no anything) might put a bit of a speed bump on that.

Whatever games teams can put together is up to them, What CRAA worries about is the playoffs, or, as we might more carefully call it, the postseason. Essentially what’s going to happen is that any team that is able to play in a postseason will get consideration. There will be no automatic qualifiers and no automatic home games. Instead, we’ll probably see a smaller postseason field (eight teams? 12?) base entirely on the CRAA’s official rankings. 

Right now, who those rankings will rank remains up in the air. Certainly the Mid-South quartet of Arkansas State, Davenport, Life, and Lindenwood looks to be playing, and we will likely see Central Washington (independent), BYU (Rocky Mountain), and even the Air Force Academy in the mix, and maybe some more from Utah. We could see Arizona and Grand Canyon, and also some teams from California, but nothing’s confirmed as yet. There’s been talk of Army and possibly Navy doubling up their membership (both NCR and CRAA) but that isn’t confirmed yet, and while the Red River Conference and Big 10 won’t play official seasons, some of the teams in those conferences might take the field.

So with all of this, the winner of the 2021 won't be called a National Champion. The victorious team will have won the 2021 D1A postseason tournament, but since we know not everyone will be able to play, this year, of course, is a little different.