Complaints and frustration from the USA Rugby Collegiate Competitions Committee have prompted some action within USA Rugby regarding USA Rugby’s planned-for National Collegiate 7s Championships.
After several months of little communication between USA Rugby's Board, offices and committees regarding the December 16-17 event, reports are that a decision on the finals venue, and more information on how at-large participants will be chosen, are imminent.
The venue is expected to be Texas A&M University, with the first day of games at the intramural fields, and the second day at Aggie Soccer Stadium.
Committee Members said they hadn’t seen anything in writing and made that plain Thursday in a tense conference call involving the Committee, USA Rugby Director of College Rugby Todd Bell, and USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville.
Melville told RUGBYMag.com he thought everything was settled, but apparently a few papers needed to be signed, and will be soon.
Some sources seemed confident that the Championships would come off with little drama, and that there will be some sort of event sponsorship and some sort of broadcast, but the Committee made it clear in no uncertain terms that they weren’t happy with the lack of information this late in the process, and were surprised to learn that the budget for the tournament is smaller than originally thought.
USA Rugby cannot afford to lose large amounts of money on an event, but must build them slowly, said Melville, but the Collegiate Competitions Committee members were led to believe the Board would back a larger event.
The process for inviting at-large teams could well solve itself very soon. The qualification process for the men involves 14 tournaments, with the winners qualifying automatically, and ten more spots to be filled. It is highly likely that between one and as many as four tournament champions might opt not to attend the finals. In that case, that spot would revert to an at-large bid. One source close to the process said he expected most, if not all, of the second-place teams to garner invitations.
What is clear is that the members of the Men's Collegiate Competitions Committee are, to a man, unhappy with the hurry up and wait process behind USA Rugby's Collegiate 7s Championships.
Editor’s Note: RUGBYMag.com’s parent company also runs the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championships invitational. Any reporting on displeasure regarding USA Rugby’s college 7s event has come from independent third parties. This website does not believe that a USA Rugby college 7s championships would negatively impact the USA 7s CRC, and we would report on it the same even if it would. We are covering this issue chiefly because it reflects on USA Rugby’s planning and decision-making processes.