For college rugby, changes could be the hardest

Last week USA Rugby took time to highlight and thank some of the nation's top coaches. One thing that is going to change, and soon for US Rugby is that all team will have to have coaches. This got me thinking about the coaches I have had as well as what my college playing was like with out a coach. Safe play is the top priority to why coaches are needed. It also helps teams develop their skills and when playing with out a coach helps eliminate a player having to make the decisions of who is going in and who is coming out. However I am not sure how this will effect college club team who have no financial support from their University and who struggle to get players to pay their dues on time.

 

CARFU will have a scholarship program to send college players through a USA Coaching Clinic so they can then go back to their teams to help develop and ensure higher quality playing. This is great, but what about the schools outside the city? All college teams have the same basic problems;

  1. At the end of spring season, you are never sure who will be coming back to play in the fall. This is because some people can't afford to return to school, will have to heavy of a class load the next year or find something else to join that takes up their time.
  2. Recruitment and finding dedicated team leaders. The first rugby tournaments start around the last week of August first week of September. Trying to recruit new players, get them out to practice and ready to play can be a hug challenge. Then in that time finding someone who will step up to be certified and stick with the team, can be a hard choice
  3. It all comes back to the money thing. Paying dues of $150, plus your CIPP, is just one start up cost. New shorts, socks and other kit gear comes into account. When I played in college sometimes we got money back from our gas costs but more often than not we didn't. How many teams can afford to cover the clinic cost? Should schools offer to cover this for their club sport? Will faculty become more involved and get certified and come out to practices?

 

The Women's Team I play with in college was well run with responsible and dedicated older players some seasons, then other seasons were all about rebuilding. This is how most college teams eb and flow, we even had some of the guys help coach us for a bit.  USARugby.org says

College is still where many of our members first start playing the sport.  There are rugby clubs on most college campuses across a wide variety of levels of competition and support.

USA Rugby believes in setting high standards for its Rugby programs on college campuses.  College rugby provides an outstanding opportunity for students to develop leadership and management skills, bring positive recognition to the college or university, and promote a high standard of physical fitness.

College teams need to start thinking now about what their next fall season will promise, which is hard for many college teams to grasp, as they most likely are just getting their spring match schedules drafted. Currently, most American collegiate rugby teams are classified as club sports programs.  Women's rugby is considered an NCAA emerging sport. For teens who are starting to look into colleges and have played rugby in High School they need to see which schools offer scholarships (which the numbers are low) and start thinking if they want to be a team leader or just play for fun. For the more social college teams and the ones that struggle to keep strong numbers new rules could make a team rise or fold.

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