It’s not official, contrary to the earlier version of this article. We previously reported that the College Management Council had approved a plan to move the USA Rugby Men’s DII College National Championship to the fall, beginning this year. A straw poll of the CMC was taken, indicating approval of the plan put forth by conference commissioners, administrators and coaches. But the official vote will take place tomorrow.
Last season, 15 of the 16 participants in USA Rugby’s 2012 DII Championships came from conferences which played the entirety or vast majority of their rugby in the fall semester. Only one conference with an automatic bid, the Southern Conference, played regular season games in the spring.
If the fall championships is approved, the 2013 season could well see more conferences of teams, which have traditionally played their regular seasons in the spring, play in the fall. DII conferences are expected to form in the Deep South, Southern California and Eastern Rockies regions. Whether or not those conferences would garner automatic bids is unknown.
The proposal has the 2013 DII National Playoffs beginning Nov. 23-24 and concluding the first weekend of December, with 16 teams moving onto the postseason. If the new conferences receive automatic bids, there will be only one at-large bid up for grabs. Talks of the Potomac’s second seed receiving that bid have already begun, which makes sense given Towson and Salisbury have reached the Final Four each of the last two seasons.
The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight dates collide with the proposed dates for USA Rugby’s College 7s National Championships, which were supposed to include DII teams for the first time. So, effectively, any team that makes Nationals in 15s won’t be able to participate in 7s Nationals. With fewer free weekends in the fall, it’s unclear how many DII conferences will schedule 7s tournaments, anyway, so the planned DII 7s National Championship may or may not get nixed.