Varsity Cup Championship

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Varsity Cup
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 2012
Inaugural season 2013
Number of teams 14
Country United States
Holders BYU (2014)
Most titles BYU (2 titles)
Broadcast partner NBC Sports

The Varsity Cup Championship is a college rugby competition established in 2012 to serve as an invitational championship following the breakaway of several schools from Division 1-A Rugby.[1]

The Varsity Cup is organized by United World Sport, the same organization that runs the USA Sevens tournament and the Collegiate Rugby Championship.[2] The 2014 Varsity Cup final was televised by NBC Sports on NBCSN.[3] The Varsity Cup's ability to get onto television was seen as a boost to the Varsity Cup and to the rugby programs of the member schools.[4]

The development of the Varsity Cup post-season tournament has created some controversy. The Varsity Cup Championship doesn't replace Division 1-A Rugby, and it is endorsed by USA Rugby.[5] The schools participating in the Varsity Cup often refer to it as a national championship, but with the rival Division 1-A Rugby post-season tournament running concurrently, USA Rugby does not consider the Varsity Cup to be the national championship.[6]

The founding schools formed the Varsity Cup with a number of goals in mind. One was the ability to manage and control their playoff games. Another was to develop a tournament with commercial appeal, that would generate revenue from attendance and concessions, and that would generate marketing exposure through TV coverage.[7]


The teams invited to compete in the Varsity Cup are from schools where rugby enjoys varsity status or at least advanced club status.[8]

Team School's
Head Coach Rugby
VC Result
Air Force $28 m Mountain West 2013 Joe Muehlbauer 1968 QF (2013)
Arizona State $553 m Pac 12 2015 Gary Lane 1975 N/A
Arkansas State $43 m Sun Belt Conf. 2015 Mani Delaibatiki 1991 N/A
BYU $957 m West Coast 2013 David Smyth 1965 1st (2013, 2014)
Cal $3.0 bn Pac-12 2013 Jack Clark 1882 2nd (2013, 2014)
Central Washington $13 m Great Northwest 2013 Tony Pacheco 1972 SF (2013, 2014)
Clemson $483 m ACC 2014 Justin Hickey 1967 R16 (2014)
Dartmouth $3.7 bn Ivy League 2013 Alex Magleby 1951 QF (2013, 2014)
Navy  ??? Patriot League 2013 Mike Flanagan 1963 SF (2013, 2014)
Notre Dame $8.3 bn ACC 2013 Sean O'Leary 1961 QF (2013)
Oklahoma $1.2 bn Big 12 2014 Jason Horowitz 1974 R16 (2014)
Texas $6.0 bn Big 12 2014 Chris Hopps 1985 QF (2014)
UCLA $2.6 bn Pac-12 2013 Scott Stewart 1934 QF (2013, 2014)
Utah $670 m Pac-12 2014 Blake Burdette  ??? QF (2014)

Utah was supposed to be one of the eight teams participating in the 2013 inaugural Varsity Cup, but the Utah rugby team was suspended by the school,[9] with Central Washington replacing Utah in the 2013 Varsity Cup.[10] Arkansas State committed in 2014 to join the Varsity Cup beginning in 2015, in significant part due to the ability of the tournament to improve the name recognition of the school's rugby program.[11]


Date Champion Final Score Runner Up Broadcast Attendance Location Stadium Other
May 4, 2013[12] BYU 27 – 24 Cal YouTube 3,000 Provo, UT BYU's South Field Cent. Washington, Navy
May 3, 2014[13] BYU 43 – 33 Cal NBCSN 10,172 Sandy, UT Rio Tinto Stadium Cent. Washington, Navy

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