January 11, 2017
Women’s Collegiate Competitions Committee Discusses Divisions
LAFAYETTE, Colo. – USA Rugby is seeking feedback on a new proposal to define categorization standards for Division I and Division II women’s college rugby.
The proposal, which has come out of the work of the Women’s Collegiate Competitions Committee, seeks to lay out an objective set of criteria for use in determining in which division a team should be competing for post-season play. The document, covering the classification of Division I and Division II teams (Small College and D1 Elite will be addressed in a later addendum), is the first phase of that work.
“We’ve been working on this for about a year, with rounds of feedback and revision from key stakeholders, but we want to make sure everyone in the community has a chance to review it and express their opinion,” said Johnathan Atkeison, USA Rugby college development coordinator and a member of the Women’s College Competitions Committee.”
The document has been previously circulated amongst college conference commissioners, and was recently distributed to all DI and DII women’s college team contacts.
“It’s an issue that frankly is a tough one to solve,” continued Atkeison. “Over the years we’ve tried a lot of approaches to divisional criteria ranging from the school’s NCAA categorization to basic enrollment numbers, but I think we all agree there was room for improvement in the previous approaches. What the Committee has done is lay out a system that takes into account a number of factors we think, in total, have an influence on a team’s competitive abilities.”
The proposal lays out a table of objective criteria – such as school size, funding, and a team’s competitive history – and assigns each category a score. A team’s categorization would be determined by the sum of its scores, and whether that exceeds or falls under a set threshold.
“We wanted to make the process more transparent,” said Atkeison. “This is a step forward in that, so teams, administrators, and USA Rugby committees can all be working from the same set of clear and measurable criteria when questions arise about where a team should be competing. The idea isn’t to take every school, run them through the matrix, and start reassigning conferences nationwide; it’s there to give us a starting point for those discussions, and to help guide teams as they try to find an appropriate competition.”
The document will be open for review and feedback until Jan. 25. Feedback will be compiled, reviewed, and incorporated into the document prior to it being re-submitted to the College Management Council for approval and implementation starting with the 2017-2018 competitive cycle.
Please submit any questions or feedback to Johnathan Atkeison at firstname.lastname@example.org or USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez at email@example.com. Both will also be available for in-person discussions at the 2017 USA Rugby National Development Summit.