Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Tech, St. Ed’s and Sam Houston are forging their own path in college rugby with the formation of the Allied Rugby Conference.
As is typical in rugby (or just about any competitive human activity from politics to church committees), there are disagreements. Some are large, some are small. What this newspaper believes is that USA Rugby has not shown the proper leadership in the college game. We are no USA Rugby bashers, either.
The formation of a College Premier League seemed like a good idea, but the structure did not allow for clear direction. In the olden days, the divisions were clear – D1, D2, D3. The movement of teams up to or out of the Premier League was not clearly set. So the D1 and D1A guidelines were drawn to mirror college football – to set up more of a conference system.
If that is what USA Rugby wants, then so be it. Conferences (as SWCRC and now ARC have done) can be set up and run as the members see fit. Quit your bitching and live in the system, schools (rugby clubs, really) can move as they see fit and do whatever they feel is best for them. If ARC makes a ton of money, great. If the SWCRC says “Hell no” to a school – that’s the conference’s right.
Several years ago, Temple University was kicked out of the Big East Conference for suckage. The Owls joined the MAC, and raised their game enough to get an invite back to the Big East. Rice, SMU and TCU and UH did not get invited to the original Big 12 – oh well. UTSA just reneged on its commitment to the WAC and joined Conference USA.
What the issue is, as we see it, is that there is no clear direction from the top – USA Rugby. Either put forth the mandate of: form conferences. Or, put forth the mandate of: we’ll administer a league of some sort.
In short, what is college rugby in Texas? Is it a business? Is it a loose confederation of like-minded clubs? Should their be conferences? Should there be a league with divisions administered from a central authority (a rugby union)?