Collegiate Rugby Championship

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Collegiate Rugby Championship
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2018 Collegiate Rugby Championship
SportRugby sevens
Inaugural season2010
CEOJon Prusmack
No. of teams24
CountryUnited States
Most recent
Lindenwood (2018) (1st title)
Most titlesCalifornia (5 titles)
TV partner(s)ESPN

The Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC), is a college rugby sevens tournament held every June at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia. The CRC is the highest profile college rugby sevens competition in the United States, with the tournament broadcast live on NBC every year. The CRC has capitalized on the surge in popularity of rugby following the 2009 announcement of the addition of rugby to the Summer Olympics.

The Collegiate Rugby Championship has succeeded in drawing media attention.[1] NBC recognized that rugby is growing in popularity, participation and interest,[2] 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.[3] 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 position on our schedule."[4] The CRC has posted respectable TV ratings, with the TV audience for the CRC larger than that of the NCAA lacrosse championships.[5][6]

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.[7] The CRC is popular with fans, with over 17,000 fans turning out to watch the 2011 tournament,[8] and over 18,000 fans in attendance at the 2012 tournament.[9] This was further increased 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.[10][11] In September 2014, Penn Mutual life insurance company announced a multi-year title sponsorship of the annual championship, which is now titled the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.[12]

The Collegiate Rugby Championship has sparked a mini revolution in college rugby, prompting scores of schools to begin offering a rugby sevens program.[13] 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."[14] 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.[15]

Format and qualifying[edit]

The first day of the two-day tournament features 20 teams divided into 5 pools of 4 teams, with the top team in each group advancing to the quarterfinals, along with the three best second-placed teams. The second 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.


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.[16]

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.[17] California and Arizona were favored after cruising to victories in the first day of pool play, but both were knocked out in quarterfinal upsets. Dartmouth beat Army 32–10 in the final.

Because of the strong support that the tournament has received from Philadelphia fans and its new title sponsorship of the Horsham, PA based Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, the CRC will remain in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.[18]

Past Results[edit]


Year Venue Final b 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
2014 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
California 24–21 Kutztown Life University
2015 PPL Park,
Chester, PA
California 17–12 Kutztown Life University
2016 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
California 31–7 UCLA Kutztown
2017 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
California 19–0 Life University Lindenwood
2018 Talen Energy Stadium,
Chester, PA
Lindenwood 24–7 UCLA Life University
  • No third place match was played in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Results by team[edit]

  • 1st — Champions
  •    — Champions
  • 2nd — Runners-up
  • 3rd — Third place
  • 4th — Fourth place
  •  •  — Did not play

For each tournament, the number of teams in each finals tournament (in parentheses) is shown.

Team Conf/Div 2010
California PAC 2nd 6th 3rd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Dartmouth Ivy 5th 1st 1st 5th 6th 9th
Utah PAC 1st 3rd
Life University Div 1-A 4th 2nd 3rd 4th 2nd 3rd
Arizona PAC 4th 5th 2nd 8th 15th 3rd 4th 4th
Kutztown Div 1-A 7th 2nd 2nd 3rd
UCLA PAC 3rd 3rd 10th 2nd 2nd
Army Div 1-A 13th 2nd 15th
San Diego State Div 1-A 3rd
Lindenwood Mid-South 3rd 1st
Navy Atlantic Coast 8th 12th 6th 4th 7th 6th
Central Washington Independent 4th
Arkansas State MSC 5th 5th
Delaware Div 1-A 5th 9th
Michigan Big Ten 5th 8th
Penn State Div 1-A 14th 8th 13th 6th 8th 15th
Tennessee Southeastern 6th
Wisconsin Big Ten 7th 12th
Indiana Big Ten 12th 7th
Ohio State Big Ten 7th 14th 12th
Florida Southeastern 15th 9th 15th
LSU Southeastern 9th
Texas Southwest 7th 8th 19th 18th 20th
Maryland Atlantic Coast 10th 9th
Bowling Green MAC 9th
Notre Dame Independent 11th 10th 14th 10th 14th 13th
Arizona State PAC 10th
Northeastern East Coast 13th 10th
Oklahoma Allied 13th 11th
North Carolina Atlantic Coast 11th
Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast 14th 11th 11th
St. Joseph's Keystone 11th 13th 14th
Air Force Independent 12th
North Carolina St. Atlantic Coast 12th 16th
Temple Keystone 15th 16th 18th 17th 17th
Boston College East Coast 16th 18th
Harvard Ivy 16th
Alabama Southeastern 16th
Drexel University MARC 16th
Penn Ivy 17th 20th
South Carolina Southeastern 19th
Villanova Keystone 20th
Clemson Atlantic Coast 19th
1 Where teams reached the same stage in a tournament, they are ranked according to points differential (e.g., the four losing quarterfinalists are ranked 5-8 based on overall points differential).


Year TV Viewership &
Ratings (Channel)
Stadium Attendance
2010 ?? ??
2011 0.6 (NBC)[21] 17,894[22]
2012 ? 18,149[23]
2013 ? 19,275[24]
2014 427,000 (NBC)[25] 17,079
2015 24,813[26]
2016 27,224[27]


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

  • Army v. Navy[28] - these Service Academy rivals met four times from 2010–16, with even wins 2-2
  • 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.[29][30] 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.[31]

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 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
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 Leading Try Scorer Leading Point Scorer MVP
2010 Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (11) Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (55) Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green)
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)
2013 Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (9) Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (81) Seamus Kelly (California)
2015 Jake Anderson (California)[32]
2016 Niall Barry (UCLA) (6) Cian Barry (UCLA) (35) Jesse Milne (California)[33]
2017 Sam Cusano (California)[34]


  • Tournament MVP as selected by Rugby Mag / Rugby Today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "7s tournament points to resurgence of invitationals",, Nov. 11, 2011.
  2. ^ Bleacher Report, NBC to Broadcast Collegiate Sevens Rugby Championship, March 6, 2010,
  3. ^ Bleacher Report, Rugby: NBC's Collegiate Sevens Championship Preview, June 3, 2010,
  4. ^ Rugby Mag, Fans Can Make Rugby Work on TV - NBC, May 1, 2012,
  5. ^ "Varsity Cup, USA 7s parent, NBC in landmark pact", Gainline, June 21, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "College Rugby Shines Under TV Spotlight Created by 2016 Olympics", Bloomberg, Mason Levinson, May 28, 2015.
  7. ^ PRNewswire, Utah Utes Win Inaugural USA 7's Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational on NBC, June 6, 2010,
  8. ^, "Big turnout for Rugby Sevens tournament at PPL Park," June 6, 2011,
  9. ^ "PPL Park to host college rugby championship through 2014", The Times Herald, June 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "This Is American Rugby: Cal Claims Fourth Straight CRC". Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  11. ^ "This Is American Rugby: The CRC: Better Than Ever". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  12. ^
  13. ^, 7s tournament points to resurgence of invitationals, Nov. 11, 2011,
  14. ^ Rugby Mag, 15 Teams Invited to 2012 CRC, Nov. 3, 2011,
  15. ^
  16. ^ Bleacher Report, College Rugby: Utah Upsets Cal To Win Sevens Title, June 7, 2010,
  17. ^, Rugby sevens championships to get plenty of TV exposure, June 2, 2011,
  18. ^ Rugby Mag, CRC to Return to PPL Park in 2012, June 5, 2011,
  19. ^ Army Inaugural Women 7s Champions
  20. ^ Finlan, Jackie (3 June 2013). "PSU Women, CRC 7s' Best". Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  21. ^ We Are Rugby, College Sevens TV Ratings, June 17, 2011,
  22. ^ "Big turnout for Rugby Sevens tournament at PPL Park"
  23. ^ The Times Herald, PPL Park to host college rugby championship through 2014, June 3, 2012,
  24. ^ RugbyMag, CRC Crowd Up from 2012, June 2, 2013,
  25. ^ "College Rugby Shines Under TV Spotlight Created by 2016 Olympics", Bloomberg, Mason Levinson, May 28, 2015.
  26. ^ "CRC Attendance Record Shattered", Rugby Today, May 31, 2015.
  27. ^ "This Is American Rugby: Cal Claims Fourth Straight CRC". Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  28. ^ Philadelphia Daily News, Army-Navy rivalry resumes in rugby tournament at PPL Park, June 1, 2012,
  29. ^ "Tanifum Steals the Show at CRC", Rugby Mag, June 6, 2012.
  30. ^ "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.")
  31. ^ "Aviva Premiership Clubs to be at CRC", April 30, 2012.
  32. ^ "Cal Tops Kutztown in Overtime For CRC Title", Rugby Today, May 31, 2015
  33. ^ "Points, Try Scoring Leaders at CRC", Rugby Today, Brett Anker, June 5, 2016.
  34. ^

External links[edit]