Lots of talk all over about restructuring women’s rugby in our country.
And when I say lots, I mean here on the web, there on the web, and among us women’s ruggers … who truly should be the decision makers, in my humble opinion. The people out there practicing and playing. We talk about it on our team. I’m pretty sure it’s been brought up on your team too.
We talked about it on my team because we’re trying to rebuild and want to make sure we’re where we best fit naturally … which as it stands is “D-I AA” as one of my teammates put it. Meaning we’re capable at D-I, but struggle …
The “powerhouse” teams – we’ll say those who have made the D-I Elite 8 over the past 2-3 years – travel more extensively to find the necessary competitive games. A friend who plays for Atlanta and another friend who plays for Colorado both tell me stories about flying all over for games. If I played for their teams, I’m not sure I could afford to do that.
Goff wrote an opinion piece – Changes Needed in Womens Competitions (subscription required) – this week on how he thinks the women should restructure, with essentially a super league of the top teams, followed by lower tiers of the next level teams in D-I (D-I AA?). He credits Berkeley and Eagle coach Kathy Flores with this idea. He also mentioned D-II, but didn’t include them in any of his tiers. His breakdown:
Premier League West Conference
Premier League East Conference
That leaves a second tier as follows:
National League West
National League Central
National League East
National League teams earn a shot at promotion. Or perhaps we have a slot open for the national playoffs, where the National League champion can play a team from the Premier League for a place in the national semis.
We have the infrastructure. We have 31 clubs who want to play DI rugby. We have clubs and players willing to travel to play. We just need to start over with how they are organized.
I won’t get into the fact that these hypothetical leagues would have my own team – Wisconsin – traveling – at the very least – six to eight hours for our closest league games (currently 2.5 right now), and a glance at all the leagues looks similar. Some of you (West teams) already do that though.
My real question is do we need to “start over” with how our division is organized? What do you think? And is this realistic or affordable for the majority of teams? Will teams stay healthy over time?
I figured it was worth discussing in a wider forum …
On a somewhat related note for team health, does anyone have any recaps from the Women’s Rugby Roundtable down in Orlando during nationals?
Kelly in Iowa and I have been discussing the similar struggles of senior teams in Iowa and Wisconsin and our ideas for what we can do in our states to help.
Here in Wisconsin, we’re talking about a union-wide women’s committee to help teams, a liaison to the union that works to benefit all women’s teams and an “all-wisconsin” tournament for women in our state.
So A. if you have notes from the roundtable, pass them on in the comments please. And B. if you have ideas or experience with building up the women’s game in your own area of the country, pass that on too.