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Rugby Shutdown A Chance For USAR To Fix College 7s

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Rugby Shutdown A Chance For USAR To Fix College 7s

David Barpal photo.

The shuttering of the collegiate season offers an opportunity for USA Rugby to fix a broken sevens system.

For years now, we've been chasing the game when it comes to the collegiate sevens landscape. We're not talking entirely about how the CRC beat USA Rugby to the punch back in 2010 (although it did); what we are talking about it planning.

This year it's been worse than most. With the demise of the CRC and USA Rugby's financial problems making it impossible for the organization to look ahead to next week let along a few months in advance.

But that's what has to happen. In recent years we started to get a series of tournaments confirmed as qualifiers for national college sevens championships. But last year it became increasingly difficult to know which tournaments we qualifiers, and this year it's been impossible. As one coach said to me, "I am told we're playing in a qualifier ... but a qualifier for what?"

Right, for what. We never did get the official announcement of a national championship tournament. That tournament was going to be in Houston (probably) and would have included six brackets (D1A Men, D1 Elite Women, D1AA Men, D1 Women, D2 Men, D2 Women). But with the Coronavirus worrying people and institutions around the country, organizers held off on announcing, and then everything was canceled.

Fine, cancel it. Right now we're not really concerned with that championship weekend per se. We're not saying whether it would have succeeded or not. What we are concerned with is USA Rugby informing its membership early enough for somebody to do something. Figure out your qualifiers now—you've got ths whole hiatus to call around and nail down what's what. Figure out the size of a nationals bracket now, and then create parameters for who fills out those brackets aside from qualifier winners.

Then work out the other questions—money, who runs it, who shows it, and whether you want it to be a fan-attraction event or just a participation event. They might also look to stop dumping all of those jobs on one person.

The reasons for the rugby shutdown are distressing, but it can be an opportunity for USA Rugby to get ahead of the game, and as a result allow teams to do the same.

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