I’m so happy I don’t know what to do with myself.
Logic has taken control in Boulder and, more importantly, around the country.
USA Rugby, after realizing their restrictions on 7s club rugby were hurtful and illogical, have changed things again; this time, for the better.
There are the changes:
1.Players may form and join any sevens club, regardless of their fifteens affiliation.
This makes sense because 7s is different from 15s. There is no guarantee that a 15s club will field a 7s team, and there’s no guarantee that a player and his 15s club will share the same competitive goals. So … a player should have the freedom to change clubs for the 7s season, and a club formed for 7s shouldn’t have to be linked to a 15s team.
2. A club may be registered solely to play sevens.
The silliness of the old rule saying a 7s team must be affiliated with a 15s team was obvious. Fifteens is not 7s. If you have a group of college students who want to play 7s but can’t play under their college name, what do you do? The 7s season is separate and distinct from the 15s season and therefore whatever teams take the field should not be linked to 15s.
This also allows teams like 1823 to compete, and that’s what we want, right? We want teams and players to compete.
3. Players may transfer from a fifteens club to a sevens club and transfers can be denied by their club for outstanding financial issues or disciplinary matters with their Territorial Union (TU) or Local Area Union (LAU).
Again, logical and obvious. Players should be allowed to find the right competitive situation for themselves at the beginning of any season. We allow it in 15s, so we should allow it when the season shifts from 15s to 7s.
(I have encountered people who don’t like this, saying I was supporting all-star teams playing in club rugby. What’s an all-star team in this case, a team where a lot of good players gravitate? The detractors are basically saying we should prevent a team from getting too good. That’s just the sort of thinking that hurts the game in this country. If a club is better, more fun, better coached, or better financed, of course players should be allowed to play for them.)
Equally smart is the restriction that if a player owes a club or union money, he can’t switch.
4. For USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s All-Star Sevens championships, players will be held to that TU in which their sevens club is registered.
This prevents the TU-hopping some players make.
5. For the USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s Club Sevens Championships, at least 10 players on the roster must meet National Team eligibility standards.
This is a simpler way of coming up with a foreigner limit. The purpose of a foreigner limit is to make sure we’re always developing players for the national team. The wording of this rule doesn’t prevent foreign-born players who are eligible for the USA team. It does, however, force teams to look locally.
6. For the USA Rugby Sevens Men’s and Women’s All-Stars Tournament, all players must meet National Team eligibility standards
Here is where you need restrictions. The purpose of the All-Star Championships is to find players for the Eagles. If a player is not eligible for the Eagles, why is he playing in this tournament?
7. Players may register with any sevens club, but may not play in any qualifying tournaments for any other club during a USA Rugby qualifying match
And this rule recognizes that many 7s tournaments are just for fun or prize money, and have no connection to a national championship. Those tournaments don’t care who is on a team; they care who has come to play. So if you’re just playing at a tournament that has no bearing on the national championships, you can play.
So it comes down to this:
At the beginning of any season, players should be allowed to move to any club (because they’re not under contract), and clubs should be allowed to form and compete.
The 7s season is a separate and distinct competition from the 15s season, and so any player should be allowed to play with any one 7s team he or she wants, and new clubs should be allowed to form. It’s simple.
So here’s to logic, and to USA Rugby embracing it.