College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) and USA Rugby Forge Forward Together Delivering a better student athlete experience through partnership

D1A Rugby: College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) and USA Rugby Forge Forward Together Delivering a better student athlete experience through partnership
Photo Credit: College Rugby Association of America

Santa Barbara, CA – The College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) has committed to partnering with USA Rugby to help rebuild the National Governing Body (NGB) as it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In conjunction with the soon to be formed College Council, CRAA will remain members of USA Rugby with representation in new governance structure of the organization. Currently, the CRAA oversees Men’s D1A and is excited to work with Women’s D1 Elite and D1 divisions, the Women’s NCAA initiative, and are working with other divisions and competitions to provide an overarching support organization to advance the sport in the collegiate sector.

CRAA is partnering with USA Rugby and working collectively on the services provided by the union to its members. Members will be provided insurance, coach/referee certification & development, high performance program eligibility, cross conference and international play along with other various member services. CRAA will continue to manage and oversee their own competitions, eligibility and governance in conjunction with the other college divisions and competitions.

“USA Rugby witnessed the perfect storm; a financial crisis coupled with the COVID-19 shutdown of the sport.” stated D1A Commissioner Kevin Battle. “The challenges the union experienced brought on the opportunity to discuss mutually beneficial relationships to rebuild and create a better experience for our student athletes.”

“We as a rugby community need to do this together as stewards of the game,” stated CRAA Chairman Paul Keeler. “We worked to create the CRAA to enhance the student athlete experience and ensure that we had an independent structure to return to play. We believe that structure needs to be a part of USA Rugby to create greater opportunity for our athletes.”

CRAA believes in the value of a strong and successful National Governing Body for all members. Strength in numbers provides better economies of scale, but it also provides great opportunity for student athletes. “We certainly have the ability to operate on our own, independent of USA Rugby, but it’s not about that. It’s about partnering with other areas of college, youth, high-school, senior club and Major League Rugby to develop players and provide opportunities.” said Keeler.

The Collegiate Rugby Association of America, widely regarded as collegiate rugby’s flagship, is the governing body administering to over 100+ Men’s and Women’s Division I programs. Currently headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the CRAA is centered around academic excellence and internationally recognized colleges and universities.