- Men’s D1A and Women’s D1 Elite partner in operations for 2020 National Championships
- Women’s Semis & Men’s First Round: April 11th at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA
- Women’s Final & Men’s Semis: April 25th at The Fortress Sports Complex in Obetz, OH
LAFAYETTE, CO – An exciting day for Collegiate Rugby as Men’s D1A and Women’s D1 Elite today confirmed a partnership bringing the 2020 National Playoffs and Championships together in the same venue. The dates proposed include the D1 Elite Semifinal on April 11th paired with the D1A First Round at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, and an April 25th D1 Elite Championship double-header with the D1A Semifinal, hosted at The Fortress in Obetz, OH.
D1 Elite Commissioner and Life University Women’s RFC head coach Ros Chou had this statement regarding the partnership and the future of collegiate rugby, “In talking with all the other D1 Elite teams, the partnership with D1A just made sense. Having the top tiers of collegiate rugby for women and men under one tent is exciting for the sport and Kevin Battle has welcomed us with open arms. The venues are top notch and being included in the Eleven Sports broadcasting is a move forward for women’s rugby in the US.”
Division 1A is the elite collegiate rugby competition sanctioned by USA Rugby. The conference-based league features 68 elite men’s college rugby teams competing in eight conferences: Big Ten, California, East, Mid-South, PAC, Red River, West, Liberty and two Independent teams. The regular season sees all teams in the conference play one another, with the competitions 16 highest ranked teams qualifying for the postseason in East and West regions. Playoffs consist of four rounds of single elimination matches leading up to the D1A National Championship match.
Division 1 Elite is the premier collegiate rugby competition within the women’s division, composed of four teams: Life University, Central Washington University, Lindenwood University and Penn State University. Originated in 2015 to serve the needs of women’s elite collegiate rugby, D1 Elite crowns the only cross-seasonal national champion in women’s rugby.
Central Washington Head Coach Trevor Richards stated this regarding the evolution of collegiate rugby in the United States, “The D1 Elite/D1A Playoff Partnership is the next step in the evolution of the collegiate game for both men and women. Both divisions have shown their genuine interest in growing the sport of rugby and the partnership we have established is the pinnacle of our game at the collegiate level. What we are seeing now is the progression and inclusion of forward-thinking coaches and administrators that want to expand opportunities for young student-athletes in this rapidly growing game.”
Billy Nicholas, head coach for Lindenwood University discussed his excitement of the growth of the game through this upcoming collaboration, “This partnership allows a larger audience to continue to grow and support the game of women’s rugby. Being able to bring some of the most competitive collegiate women’s and men’s programs together on the same weekend will make for a great atmosphere for everyone involved. We look forward to continuing to see the number of teams and competitiveness continue to increase as we move forward.”
USA Rugby’s Scholastic Manager, Johnathan Atkeison noted, “It’s a natural fit for two of our top-tier collegiate competitions to work together, and we’re tremendously excited about the possibilities of their partnership. The teams all bring energized and passionate fanbases, the players are going to have a great game-day environment experience, and for the fans it’s a chance to see even more great rugby at one location”
D1A Commissioner Kevin Battle talked about his excitement of this idea becoming a reality and the teamwork it took for this to happen, “It has been a goal of ours for some time to promote the finest of the men’s and women’s collegiate rugby together. These student athletes have worked tirelessly to perform at this elite level, and this partnership will allow them to showcase their skills on a grander scale. Now we need each of you, the fans to do your part, to support these student-athletes by purchasing a ticket or tuning in to For The Fans network (FTF) and cheer on your favorite team.”
As Battle explained, the playoff games from both divisions will be streamed LIVE on Eleven Sports Network via ForTheFans (FTF) and will be looking into continuing on growing the broadcast partnership with both divisions, hand-in-hand for the future. You can either watch live on television on Eleven Sports network (DirecTV: 623), on their website ftfnext.com, download the FTFNext app.