Collegiate Rugby Championship

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Collegiate Rugby Championship
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2022 Collegiate Rugby Championship
Collegiate Rugby Championship Logo.png
SportRugby sevens
Founded2010
Inaugural season2010
CEOJeremy Treece
No. of teams32
CountryUnited States
Most recent
champion(s)
Kutztown (2022)
(1st title)
Most titlesCalifornia (5 titles)
TV partner(s)CBS Sports[1]
Official websitewww.ncrugby.org

The Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) is an annual college rugby sevens tournament. The CRC is the highest profile college rugby sevens competition in the United States, with the tournament broadcast live on NBC from 2010–2017, on ESPN News and ESPN3 from 2018–2019, The Rugby Network in 2021, and on CBS Sports from 2022. The CRC has capitalized on the surge in popularity of rugby following the 2009 announcement of the addition of rugby sevens to the Summer Olympics.

Format and qualifying[edit]

The tournament has expanded since 16 sides were featured in the inaugural competition, with 32 men's sides competing in the 2021 tournament. The competition has been played over the course of either two or three days. The first day of the tournament features pool matches, with the top teams in each group advancing to the quarterfinals, along with the best second-placed teams. The final day of the tournament is knockout play, featuring the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

The majority of the participating teams are invited to the tournament based on the quality of the school's rugby program and on the school's fan appeal. Certain teams also qualify by winning the Southeastern Rugby Conference, the Las Vegas Invitational, and the new Heart of America Tournament.

History[edit]

The inaugural 2010 Collegiate Rugby Championship, at the time known as the Collegiate Championship Invitational (CCI), was held in Columbus, Ohio, at the Columbus Crew Stadium. Utah defeated Cal 31–26 in overtime in a thrilling final. Bowling Green's Rocco Mauer led the tournament with 11 tries and was named tournament MVP by Rugby Mag.[2]

The 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship moved to PPL Park in Philadelphia, PA. NBC increased their coverage over the previous year, devoting 14 hours of coverage to the tournament.[3] California and Arizona were favored after cruising to victories in the first day of pool play, but both were knocked out in quarterfinal upsets. Ultimately, Dartmouth beat Army 32–10 in the final.

Due to the strong support from Philadelphia fans and its Pennsylvania-based title sponsorship, Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, the CRC remained in Philadelphia until 2021, when it moved to New Orleans.[4][5] The Gold Mine on Airline again hosted the tournament for the 2022 edition, with television coverage provided by CBS Sports.[1]

Past Results[edit]

Men[edit]

Year Venue Final Bronze*
Winner Score Runner-up Winner Score Runner-up
2010 Columbus Crew Stadium,
Columbus, OH
Utah 31–26 California Arizona
San Diego State
2011 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
Dartmouth 32–10 Army Utah 12–10 Central Washington
2012 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
Dartmouth 24–5 Arizona California 26–7 Life University
2013 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
California 19–17 Life University Navy
UCLA
2014 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
California 24–21 Kutztown Life University
UCLA
2015 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
California 17–12 Kutztown Life University
Arizona
2016 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
California 31–7 UCLA Kutztown
Arizona
2017 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
California 19–0 Life University Lindenwood
Indiana
2018 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
Lindenwood 24–7 UCLA Life University
Arizona
2019 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
Lindenwood 21–12 Life University Navy
Kutztown
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Gold Mine,
New Orleans, LA
Lindenwood 24–14 Life University Army 12–10 Davenport
2022 Gold Mine,
New Orleans, LA
Kutztown 17–12 Dartmouth Lindenwood 31–0 Iona
 *Both semifinalists are listed as "Bronze Winners" in years in which a third place match was not contested.

Men's championships[edit]

Collegiate Rugby Championship is located in the United States
California
California
Lindenwood
Lindenwood
Dartmouth
Dartmouth
Utah
Utah
Kutztown
Kutztown
CRC Championships by school
ButtonBlue.svg – 5 championships ButtonRed.svg – 3 championships ButtonGray.svg – 2 championships ButtonWhite.svg – 1 championship
Team # Years
California 5 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Lindenwood 3 2018, 2019, 2021
Dartmouth 2 2011, 2012
Utah 1 2010
Kutztown 1 2022

Appearances[edit]

  •  CH  Champion
  •  RU  Runner-up
  •  SF  Semifinals
  •  QF  Quarterfinals
  •  •  Participant

Women[edit]

Collegiate Rugby Championship is located in the United States
Lindenwood
Lindenwood
Penn State
Penn State
Life
Life
Army
Army
CRC Championships by school
ButtonBlue.svg – 4 championships ButtonRed.svg – 3 championships ButtonGray.svg – 2 championships ButtonWhite.svg – 1 championship
Year Final
Winner Score Runner-up
2011 Army 14–5[6] Penn State
2012 Not held
2013 Penn State 31–5[7] Ohio State
2014 Penn State 29–12 James Madison University
2015 Penn State 24–7 Lindenwood
2016 Life 19–10 Lindenwood
2017 Life 17–12 Lindenwood
2018 Lindenwood 21–12 Penn State
2019 Lindenwood 34–12 Army
2020 Not held
2021 Lindenwood 10–7[8] Life
2022 Lindenwood 19–7[9] Life

Women's championships[edit]

Team # Years
Lindenwood 4 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022
Penn State 3 2013, 2014, 2015
Life 2 2016, 2017
Army 1 2010

Popularity[edit]

The Collegiate Rugby Championship has succeeded in drawing media attention.[10] NBC recognized that rugby is growing in popularity, participation and interest,[11] and NBC's broadcast of the inaugural 2010 CRC was the first time college rugby had been broadcast live on network TV in the US.[12] NBC Sports Programming President, Jon Miller, described NBC's support of the Collegiate Rugby Championship, "We're hoping to see continued growth in the ratings and the attendance. We like the sport a lot, and we've given it a great time period and a real plumb (sic) position on our schedule."[13] The CRC has posted respectable TV ratings, with the TV audience for the CRC larger than that of the NCAA lacrosse championships.[14][15]

Due in part to the exposure from NBC's broadcasts, the tournament has attracted several blue chip corporate sponsors, including Geico, Subway, Toyota and Bud Light.[16] The CRC is popular with fans, with over 17,000 fans turning out to watch the 2011 tournament,[17] and over 18,000 fans in attendance at the 2012 tournament.[18] This was followed by a twenty-two percent increase in attendance from 2014 to 2015 totaling 24,813 and an even further increase in 2016 to a total attendance of 27,224.[19][20] In September 2014, Penn Mutual life insurance company announced a multi-year title sponsorship of the annual championship, which led to the tournament being renamed to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.[21]

The Collegiate Rugby Championship has sparked a mini revolution in college rugby, prompting scores of schools to begin offering a rugby sevens program.[22] One of the schools that has benefited from the publicity generated by the CRC tournament has been the University of Texas. Following Texas' participation in the CRC, Texas "raised an additional $10,000 from alumni, landed a new apparel sponsor, and have been contacted by 90 students (including two DBs from the football team) who want to play rugby."[23] The CRC has also given a boost of exposure to lesser known schools with strong rugby programs. For example, when Life University went undefeated in pool play and reached the semifinals of the June 2–3 2012 CRC, Life University's Wikipedia page was viewed by 9,800 people that weekend.[24]

Year TV Viewership Ratings Channel Stadium Attendance
2010 692,000 (Day 2)[25]
818,000 (Day 3)[25]
0.5 (Day 2)[26]
0.6 (Day 3)[27]
NBC[28]
2011 750,000 (Day 1)[29]
797,000 (Day 2)[29]
0.6 (Day 1)[29]
0.6 (Day 2)[29]
NBC 17,894[30]
2012 0.6 (Day 1)[31]
0.6 (Day 2)[31]
NBC 18,149[32]
2013 NBC 19,275[33]
2014 427,000[34] 0.4 (Day 2)[35]
0.5 (Day 3)[35]
NBC 19,181[35]
2015 571,000 (Day 1)[36]
647,000 (Day 2)[36]
0.4 (Day 1)[36]
0.4 (Day 2)[36]
NBC 24,592[35]
2016 506,000 (Day 1)[37]
545,000 (Day 2)[37]
0.3 (Day 1)[37]
0.5 (Day 2)[37]
NBC 27,224[38]
2017 427,000 (Day 1)[39]
530,000 (Day 2)[39]
0.3 (Day 1)[39]
0.4 (Day 2)[39]
NBC, NBCSN[40] 37,518*[41]
2018 ESPNews, ESPN+, ESPN2 27,002[42]
2019 ESPNews, ESPN+, ESPN2 27,587[43]
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 The Rugby Network[44]
2022 CBS Sports[1]
 *The Saturday crowd set the CRC one-day attendance record with a crowd of 14,973.[41]

Rivalries[edit]

Despite the fact that the CRC tournament has only been around since 2010, the tournament has seen some notable rivalries:

  • Army v. Navy[45] – these Service Academy rivals met four times from 2010–16 and 2019, with Navy leading 3–2.
  • Texas v. Oklahoma – these Big 12 rivals met in 2011 & 2012, with Texas winning both encounters.
  • Cal v. Utah – these Pac-12 rivals met in the knockout rounds of the 2010 & 2011 tournaments, with the underdog Utah upsetting the favored Cal both times.

Notable Past Players and Coaches[edit]

The Collegiate Rugby Championship has been notable for its ability to showcase the emerging stars of US rugby.[46][47] In 2012, representatives from all 12 clubs in the English Premiership (the top professional league in England) attended the CRC, where the Premiership coaches scouted talent from the 16 university teams competing.[48]

The following athletes who have starred in the CRC and made the All Tournament team have gone on to play for the United States national rugby sevens team or United States national rugby union team in international competitions:

Player Name CRC All Tournament College
Rocco Mauer 2010 Bowling Green
Colin Hawley 2010 California
Thretton Palamo 2010 Utah
Nate Ebner 2010, 2011 Ohio State
Will Holder 2010, 2011 Army
Blaine Scully 2010, 2011 California
Don Pati 2010, 2011 Utah
Duncan Kelm 2010 San Diego State
Tim Stanfill 2011 Cent. Washington
Ben Leatigaga 2011 Army
Peter Tiberio 2011, 2012 Arizona
Nate Brakeley 2011, 2012 Dartmouth
Brett Thompson 2012, 2013 Arizona
Cam Dolan 2012, 2013 Life University
Seamus Kelly 2010, 2013, 2014 California
Madison Hughes 2012, 2013, 2014 Dartmouth
Danny Barrett 2013 California
Jake Anderson 2013 California
Niku Kruger 2015 Kutztown
Cody Melphy 2016, 2017 Life University

Alex Magleby, who became head coach of the United States national rugby sevens team in 2012, was previously head coach of Dartmouth, the team he coached to victory at the 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship and 2012 Collegiate Rugby Championship.

Leading players[edit]

Year Most tries Most points MVP*
2010 Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (11) Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (55) Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green)[49]
2011 Peter Tiberio (Arizona) (8) Peter Tiberio (Arizona) (54) Chris & Nick Downer (Dartmouth)
2012 Trevor Tanifum (Maryland) (10) Derek Fish (Dartmouth) (60) Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)[50]
2013 Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (9) Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (81) Seamus Kelly (California)[51]
2014
2015 Jake Anderson (California)[52]
2016 Niall Barry (UCLA) (6) Cian Barry (UCLA) (35) Jesse Milne (California)[53]
2017 Sam Cusano (California)[54]
2018 Ben Broselle (UCLA)[55]
2019 Wesley White (Lindenwood)[56]
2021 Evan Williams (Lindenwood)[57]
2022 Mate' Kvirikashvili (Kutztown)[58]
 *Tournament MVP as selected by Rugby Mag/Rugby Today/NCR.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "NCR Brings CRC 7s Back for 2022". Goff Rugby Report. 5 January 2022. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  2. ^ Bleacher Report, College Rugby: Utah Upsets Cal To Win Sevens Title, June 7, 2010, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/402408-college-rugby-utah-upsets-cal-to-win-sevens-championship
  3. ^ Philly.com, Rugby sevens championships to get plenty of TV exposure, June 2, 2011, http://articles.philly.com/2011-06-02/sports/29613371_1_usa-rugby-usa-sevens-international-rugby-board
  4. ^ Rugby Mag, CRC to Return to PPL Park in 2012, June 5, 2011, http://www.rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1151:crc-to-return-to-ppl-park-in-2012&catid=73:collegiate-sevens&Itemid=91
  5. ^ "2021 Collegiate Rugby Championship will be played May 29-31 in New Orleans". NC rugby. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Army Inaugural Women 7s Champions". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2015-06-23.
  7. ^ Finlan, Jackie (3 June 2013). "PSU Women, CRC 7s' Best". Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  8. ^ "Lindenwood Edges Life In CRC Women Final". Goff Rugby Report. 30 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Lindenwood On Top of Women's College 7s". Goff Rugby Report. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  10. ^ "7s tournament points to resurgence of invitationals", Gainline.us, Nov. 11, 2011.
  11. ^ Bleacher Report, NBC to Broadcast Collegiate Sevens Rugby Championship, March 6, 2010, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/358141-nbc-to-broadcast-collegiate-sevens-championship
  12. ^ Bleacher Report, Rugby: NBC's Collegiate Sevens Championship Preview, June 3, 2010, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/400735-rugby-nbcs-collegiate-sevens-championship-preview
  13. ^ Rugby Mag, Fans Can Make Rugby Work on TV - NBC, May 1, 2012, http://www.rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4390:fans-can-make-rugby-work-on-tv-nbc&catid=149:usa7s-crc&Itemid=392 Archived 2012-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Varsity Cup, USA 7s parent, NBC in landmark pact", Gainline, June 21, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  15. ^ "College Rugby Shines Under TV Spotlight Created by 2016 Olympics", Bloomberg, Mason Levinson, May 28, 2015.
  16. ^ PRNewswire, Utah Utes Win Inaugural USA 7's Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational on NBC, June 6, 2010, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/utah-utes-win-inaugural-usa-7s-rugby-collegiate-championship-invitational-on-nbc-95741209.html
  17. ^ Philly.com, "Big turnout for Rugby Sevens tournament at PPL Park," June 6, 2011, http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/123210403.html.
  18. ^ "PPL Park to host college rugby championship through 2014", The Times Herald, June 3, 2012.
  19. ^ "This Is American Rugby: Cal Claims Fourth Straight CRC". www.thisisamericanrugby.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  20. ^ "This Is American Rugby: The CRC: Better Than Ever". www.thisisamericanrugby.com. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Gainline.us, 7s tournament points to resurgence of invitationals, Nov. 11, 2011, http://www.gainline.us/gainline/2011/11/7s-tournament-points-to-resurgence-of-invitationals.html
  23. ^ Rugby Mag, 15 Teams Invited to 2012 CRC, Nov. 3, 2011, http://rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2555:15-teams-invited-to-2012-crc&catid=73:collegiate-sevens&Itemid=91 Archived 2011-11-06 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2012-06-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ a b "Collegiate Sevens Championship on NBC (Columbus Crew Stadium)". big soccer. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Weekend Overnights". sports media watch. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  27. ^ "The Ratings Game". sports media watch. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
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  29. ^ a b c d "Final Nielsen Ratings: CONCACAF Gold Cup Audience Scoring Big On Univision". sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  30. ^ "Collegiate Rugby Championship To Remain At PPL Park Through '14". sports business journal. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  31. ^ a b "Overnight Ratings: Tiger's Win At The Memorial Is Best Since '04". sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  32. ^ "CRC Crowd Grows". rugby mag. Archived from the original on 2012-09-23. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  33. ^ RugbyMag, CRC Crowd Up from 2012, June 2, 2013, http://www.rugbymag.com/tournaments-special/crc/8280-crc-crowd-up-from-2012.html Archived 2014-02-09 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "College Rugby Shines Under TV Spotlight Created by 2016 Olympics", Bloomberg, Mason Levinson, May 28, 2015.
  35. ^ a b c d "College Rugby Event Sees Strong Attendance Growth, With Mark Cuban Among Fans". sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  36. ^ a b c d "Audience Analysis: Record Women's College World Series For ESPN; Liga MX Finale Down". sports business daily. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  37. ^ a b c d "Audience Analysis: NBA Finals Down Through Three Games; X Games Hit By Weather". sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  38. ^ "This Is American Rugby: Cal Claims Fourth Straight CRC". www.thisisamericanrugby.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  39. ^ a b c d "Audience Analysis: Warriors-Cavs Still Pacing As Best Finals Since Jordan's Bulls In '98". sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  40. ^ "NBC Sports Group to Air College Rugby Championship". next tv. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  41. ^ a b "Speed Reads..." sports business daily. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  42. ^ "In a Rare 'Double,' Both Lindenwood University's Men's and Women's Rugby 7s Teams Win the 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia". newswire. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  43. ^ "Speed Reads..." sports business daily. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  44. ^ "All you need to know about the Collegiate Rugby Championship". The Rugby Network. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  45. ^ Philadelphia Daily News, Army-Navy rivalry resumes in rugby tournament at PPL Park, June 1, 2012, http://articles.philly.com/2012-06-01/sports/31960206_1_army-navy-rivalry-midshipmen-football-ppl-park
  46. ^ "Tanifum Steals the Show at CRC" Archived 2012-09-23 at the Wayback Machine, Rugby Mag, June 6, 2012.
  47. ^ "Cal favored to make history at Collegiate Rugby Championship", NBC OlympicTalk, Nick Zaccardi, May 28, 2015. ("Based on the track record, you have to look at this tournament if you’re going to pluck some American players off the sevens pitch and put them in the national team pipeline . . . “There’s no better place than here.")
  48. ^ "Aviva Premiership Clubs to be at CRC", April 30, 2012.
  49. ^ "College Rugby: Utah Upsets Cal To Win Sevens Title". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  50. ^ "Dartmouth Men's Rugby Wins Second Consecutive National Championship". Dartmouth. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  51. ^ "Cal Wins Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s". Cal Bears. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  52. ^ "Cal Tops Kutztown in Overtime For CRC Title", Rugby Today, May 31, 2015
  53. ^ "Points, Try Scoring Leaders at CRC", Rugby Today, Brett Anker, June 5, 2016.
  54. ^ "Champs x5! Cal Rugby wins 5th straight CRC 7s national title". 4 June 2017.
  55. ^ "Men's club rugby falls in championship finals against Lindenwood". Daily Bruin. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  56. ^ "Lindenwood Muscles Way to CRC Men's Title". Goff Rugby Report. 31 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  57. ^ "Kutztown Powers Through and Secures Men's National Champions Title". May Madness. Retrieved 30 May 2022.

External links[edit]