The newest DII college rugby conference has come to fruition in the Midwest: the Gateway Collegiate Rugby Conference. Central Missouri, Missouri Science & Technology, Principia, Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois, University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) and Washington University make up the seven-team league. Six of the seven programs have established clubs, while UMKC will play its first season in the Gateway.
The new conference boasts some competitive teams, with Central Missouri and Saint Louis (SLU) reaching the DII Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2011, respectively. The member teams join the Gateway from three separate Local Area Unions: the Heart of America, Missouri and Illinois, and two territorial unions: the West and Midwest.
Pending ratification from USA Rugby, the conference will begin play in the fall of 2012 and crown its first champion in the spring of 2013. The league will have a home-or-away schedule, with each team playing each other team once, culminating in a spring four-team playoff.
The title of the conference an homage to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a monument to westward expansion. The Gateway Collegiate Rugby Conference is the western-most independent DII conference in the country.