USA Rugby’s Elite Cup appears to have imploded and won’t be competed in 2014.
After the emergence of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, only five teams remained in the Elite Cup – Old Blue and NYAC in New York, Boston, Life in Georgia, and Seattle-OPSB in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, some other teams, notably Metropolis out of Minneapolis, had shown an interest in playing.
However, a vote of those five teams saw Boston, Old Blue, and Life indicate they did not want to travel to Seattle for Elite Cup games, and Seattle-OPSB was not admitted to the Eastern Conference. NYAC, which had voted to include the Seattle team, also had issues with the schedule, which held key matches during the USA Men’s National Team assemblies for the World Cup Qualifiers in March.
According to USA Rugby’s Club Manager, Jim Snyder, clubs should vote on who plays in the league because USA Rugby didn’t want to force teams to do something they weren’t prepared to do.
According to NYAC co-head-coach Matt Persanis, his club’s effort to move some games to May, when the Eagles weren’t playing, were met with insults, and the AC has opted to just play its DI games and add a few extra matches along the way.
That seems to be the MO for the other clubs, as well, with Seattle-OPSB looking to concentrate on their efforts in British Columbia. The entire episode, which clubs acknowledge is in part due to the clubs’ inability to get along, has left the elite competition marketplace open for the PRP to waltz in and take.
Meanwhile, Snyder said USA Rugby had funds allocated to help support the Elite Cup – a five-figure amount. That money will potentially be used now for another purpose, possibly some sort of domestic-player all-star effort.
“We need to use it for a domestic high performance purpose,” said Snyder. “That’s what the resources are there for. How we would do that remains to be seen.”
Officially the Elite Cup remains on hold, and will be revisited next year.