Rugby Bits & Bites: Newsletter from our National Office

Did you receive your monthly USA Rugby newsletter by e-mail this weekend?

I scanned it and found a few items worth sharing and discussing some more, buried down a bit in the newsletter, regarding the NCAA emerging sport status and also changes in online registration and our membership.

First, this piece on why USA Rugby is working for women’s rugby in the NCAA, but not men’s …

EMERGING SPORTS PROGRAM MANAGER BECKY CARLSON ANSWERS WHY THERE IS NO INITIATIVE FOR COLLEGE MEN’S RUGBY
The current Emerging Sports Initiative campaigns for the education and expansion of women’s rugby within the NCAA. USA Rugby’s major push for women’s rugby within the NCAA has created positive attention and is gaining ground in the eyes of the NCAA administrations and the rugby community.

Over the past year working as the Emerging Sports Program Manager, I have logged a growing pattern of inquiry related to the emerging sports initiative. Many questions may be answered in the FAQ section of the NCAA Initiative portion of the site but one issue in particular has risen to the front of the pack: “Why is USA Rugby pushing for women’s rugby instead of (or in conjunction with) men’s rugby?

To answer this question, it must be explained that the vast majority of NCAA institutions are not currently adding men’s sports, period. The reasons for this can be quite complicated, but I will attempt to explain briefly below.

The NCAA trend currently calls for new women’s sports. Part of this is due to a federal law, called Title IX. For detail about this law, which encourages equity in participation for all institutions receiving federal funding, please visit http://www.usarugby.org/goto/Title_IX.

Whether it is rugby, lacrosse, crew, equestrian, archery or synchronized swimming, USA Rugby is not alone on the mission to penetrate the NCAA by pitching its women’s game to prospective athletic directors and administrations. Synchronized swimming, as well as Equestrian, are among fellow emerging sports striving to make the hard sell to the NCAA.

You can be sure that if USA Rugby does not promote women’s rugby as an option for varsity status, these other sports will, and they will win the competition for participation, opportunity and accompanying benefits for their programs. During the mid 90’s, when previous emerging sports like women’s crew and water polo (now championship sports) were able to penetrate into the NCAA, there was an extreme demand for women student-athletes to balance out the populations of many institutions.

Crew, with its high roster numbers, was able to slide into the NCAA with great ease as more schools opted to add this sport to their varsity sponsorships. The story is the same for water polo. At this time, unfortunately, women’s rugby was non-existent on the “varsity radar” as these potential schools shopped to even out their compliance. Within the last few years, the need to add women’s sports has resurfaced. In wake of this requirement, many institutions are currently soliciting only women’s sports for future varsity sponsorship and USA Rugby must take advantage of this climate within a short timeframe.

In direct relationship to this question of men’s rugby in the NCAA, we must also keep in mind that women’s rugby worked nine long years to even achieve a place on the emerging sports list. This list grants 10 years for expansion from the first year of rugby’s inception (2002) for women’s rugby at the Division I level. Currently, there is no emerging sports list for men in any sport in the NCAA.

While it is true that USA Rugby retains a responsibility to support and help develop safe and successful collegiate club programs for men and women, an immediate and critical goal must be to pitch women’s NCAA rugby as often–and as professionally–as possible to expand our great sport in the NCAA. Our sights are set for achieving NCAA Championship status with 40 varsity teams in the coming years.

USA Rugby views this initiative as a positive step forward for the game of rugby in the US in terms of exposure and, most of all opportunity–regardless of gender. For further questions on this subject matter and the NCAA Emerging Sports Initiative, please contact Becky Carlson at mailto://bcarlson@usarugby.org or 303.539.0300 ext 102.

And yes, this is true. The vast majority of NCAA-member schools in our country are not adding men’s sports (because they already have enough or too many) and need to add women’s sports to meet/maintain their Title IX compliance.

We could debate the best way to meet Title IX eligibility – whether it’s adding, cutting, expanding, etc. Learn more about Title IX here.

However, much like the inclusion of 7s in the Pan American Games, any rugby added to mainstream events, schools or instutitutions is good for all of rugby, in my humble opinion.

And in the membership updates, I saw that our membership season is changing from the calendar year to the competitive/school year, among other changes:

MEMBERSHIP RELATIONS
————————

ANNUAL ELIGIBILITY CHANGE PROCEDURE: 2ND ROUND FOR MEMBER COMMENTS
Having received 38 suggested rule changes during the 1st Round submission period (which represents only about .063% of USA Rugby’s currently active membership), USA Rugby is proceeding with the release of Proposed Regulation Changes for the scheduled 2nd round of member comments. Please visit http://www.usarugby.org/goto/regulation_changes for detailed timelines, information and comment submission forms.

BIG CHANGES AFOOT IN USA RUGBY MEMBERSHIP!!!

1. USA RUGBY PARTNERS WITH FIRST SPORTS INTERNATIONAL FOR MEMBER AND COMPETITION MANAGEMENT You were probably wondering what’s been happening with the new online member registration system! After an extensive research and bid process, USA Rugby has reached an agreement with First Sports International, a US and UK based company, to provide online member registration, information management, competition management, and coach, referee & elite player tracking. Online member registration is scheduled for delivery in early August, with competition management and additional services for coach and referee development to follow in late fall. First Sports International currently provides membership, information management and competition management systems to the RFU, Wimbledon, and other major athletic organizations and we are very excited to move forward with this partnership.

2. USA RUGBY REGISTRATION CYCLE CHANGES TO MIRROR COMPETITION SEASON To alleviate many of the issues associated with duplication of records, management of player movement and eligibility issues for various competitions, the registration cycle for members will now follow the competition season and a one-year registration will run from September 1st to August 31st, instead of January 1st to December 31st. If you are already registered for 2007, your registration will not be affected. This cycle will be much more efficient for USA Rugby’s growing school and college based clubs. A detailed timeline and schedule of dues will be released soon!

3. NEW EXPEDITING FEES TO TAKE EFFECT AUGUST 1 USA Rugby offers many services to its members, which do not incur additional processing fees. Unfortunately, too often these services can be subject to significant abuse and last minute requests, which can make processing of timely requests and customer service issues difficult. In order to provide the service of expedited processing, fees will accompany certain rush requests for service, such as: expedited insurance requests (needed within 24 hours); expedited waiver requests (within 14 days); expedited club international clearance (within 10 days); expedited individual international clearance (within 3 days). These are scheduled to take effect August 1, 2007. The full schedule will be released and posted to all forms for applicable processes. Please note that these services remain absolutely free when made in a timely fashion!

For more information, please visit http://www.usarugby.org/goto/membership!

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we make our systems and services more efficient and help you spend and less time on paperwork more time playing rugby.

USA RUGBY ANSWERS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEMBERSHIP CHANGES
1. I hear USA Rugby is getting a new system for member registration. Why?
USA Rugby is in the research and developmental stages of creating a more efficient online registration system. New technology will help our members register easier and also manage their personal and club information. USA Rugby will also launch a competition management system to help clubs and LAU and TU administrators with scheduling, recording player statistics and maintaining club records, and creating better communication across the rugby population. These new tools will streamline USA Rugby’s data into an efficient online system that will offer powerful tools for information management to member clubs and unions.

2. How will this change what I see when I visit USA Rugby’s website?
Only the registration portion of the website will change – all links from http://www.usarugby.org will be directed to the appropriate portion of the registration website.

3. Will my name and information still exist in the new system?
–All individuals who have registered prior to August 1, 2007 will be enrolled through December 31, 2007.

–Members registering on any date after August 1, 2007 will be enrolled through August 31, 2008. (Between 8/1/2007 and 12/31/2007, fee will be full year dues and will expire on 8/31)

–As of September 1, 2008, every member would be on the same cycle (September 1-August 31) and will pay the full dues amount, regardless of the date of registration.

Registration would open between August 1 and September 1 to accommodate the senior women, summer sevens, and collegiate competitive seasons (similar to current registration opening Dec. 1 to accommodate early competition in Southern & Pacific regions). In the future, a seasonal registration cycle may also be considered.

I like it … simply because it’ll make my job easier as a administrator trying to wade through all of our CIPP and paperwork. I’ve also heard rumor the new registration may help with match reports and statistics …

Any thoughts on these updates – NCAA or Membership? Leave them in the comments!

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3 Comments

Filed under CIPP, NCAA, USA Rugby, varsity rugby

3 responses to “Rugby Bits & Bites: Newsletter from our National Office

  1. OBG

    You said: “We could debate the best way to meet Title IX eligibility … However … any rugby added to mainstream events, schools or instutitutions is good for all of rugby, in my humble opinion. “

    Well said. Getting ANYBODY to play rugby, whether it’s varsity status for women at a university or 6-year-old mixed gender at the local parks and rec … getting people to play the game is the important thing.

  2. Anonymous

    I didn’t like the way the e-mail article was worded re: Title IX. Obviously, there has been a lot of concern, probably from guys playing college club rugby, or this wouldn’t have made the newsletter. If you mention “Title IX” within the first two paragraphs of the answer, all it will do is infuriate most college guys more. I think it would have been a fine answer w/o the two sentences about Title IX. -J

  3. Katy

    I think it’s great news and great for rugby in general. RE: USA Rugby mentioning Title IX, I think they could have been more thorough.

    I am reminded of another article you posted on here that really changed the way I speak with my students (often writing papers about why Title IX “sucks”). The article you posted reminded readers that the reason most institutions aren’t adding male sports is because the vast majority of athletic department budgets are pumped into football and basketball. Simple reallocations would make space for everyone to be varsity. The footballers don’t NEED to have first rate hotel rooms and fly first class to away games….

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