Varsity Cup Championship

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Varsity Cup
Sport Rugby union
Instituted 2012
Inaugural season 2013
Number of teams 16
Country United States
Holders Cal (2017)
Most titles Cal and BYU (2 each titles)
Website http://varsitycup.us//
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, but it is endorsed by USA Rugby.[5] The schools participating in the Varsity Cup often refer to it as the 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 1989 Cal Rugby team.

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]

Teams[edit]

The teams invited to compete in the Varsity Cup are from schools where rugby enjoys varsity status or at least advanced club status.[7]

Team School's
Endowment
School's
NCAA
Affiliation
Joined
V-Cup
Head Coach Rugby
Since
Best
VC Result
Arkansas State $43 m Sun Belt Conf. 2015 Mani Delaibatiki 1991 2nd (2017)
Army West Point $284 m Patriot League 2016 Matt Sherman 1961 QF (2016, 2017)
Boston College 2017 R16 (2017)
Cal $3.0 bn Pac-12 2013 Jack Clark 1882 1st (2016, 2017)
Central Washington $13 m Great Northwest 2013 Tony Pacheco 1972 SF (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Clemson $483 m ACC 2014 [Steve Lynch] 1967 QF (2015, 2017)
Dartmouth $3.7 bn Ivy League 2013 Gavin Hickie 1951 QF (2013, 2014, 2016)
Harvard Ivy League 2017 R16 (2017)
Navy  ??? Patriot League 2013 Mike Flanagan 1963 SF (2013, 2014, 2015)
Notre Dame $8.3 bn ACC 2013 Justin Hickey 1961 QF (2013)
Oklahoma $1.2 bn Big 12 2014 Doug Neubauer 1974 R16 (2014, 2016, 2017)
Penn State $3.0 bn Big 10 2016 James Willocks 1962 R16 (2016)
UCLA $2.6 bn Pac-12 2013 Scott Stewart 1934 QF (2013, 2014, 2015)
Utah Valley 2017 QF (2017)
  • 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,[8] with Central Washington replacing Utah in the 2013 Varsity Cup.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • Arizona State joined the Varsity Cup in 2015 to increase the prowess of their Olympic athletes.[11]
  • Oklahoma was supposed to participate in the 2015 Varsity Cup but had to forfeit their scheduled match vs. Utah due to the use of ineligible players.[12]

Former teams[edit]

Team School's
Endowment
School's
NCAA
Affiliation
V-Cup
participation
Head Coach Rugby
Since
Best
VC Result
Air Force $28 m Mountain West 2013-2016 Denny Merideth 1969 QF (2013)
Arizona State $553 m Pac-12 2015-2016[13] Gary Lane 1975 R16 (2015, 2016)
BYU $957 m West Coast 2013-2016 David Smyth 1965 1st (2013, 2014)
Texas $6.0 bn Big 12 2014-2016 Chris Hopps 1985 QF (2014, 2015)
Utah $670 m Pac-12 2014-2016[14] Paul Benson  ??? QF (2014, 2015, 2016)

Results[edit]

Summary[edit]

Date Champion Final Score Runner Up Broadcast Attendance Location Stadium Other
Semifinalists
May 4, 2013[15] BYU 27–24 Cal YouTube 3,000 Provo, UT BYU's South Field CWU, Navy
May 3, 2014[16] BYU 43–33 Cal NBCSN 10,172 Salt Lake City, UT Rio Tinto Stadium CWU, Navy
May 2, 2015[17] BYU 30–27 Cal NBCSN 9,033 Salt Lake City, UT Rio Tinto Stadium CWU, Navy
May 7, 2016 Cal 40–29 BYU NBCSN Provo, UT BYU's South Field[18] CWU, Ark. St.
May 6, 2017 Cal 43-13 Arkansas State NBCSN Santa Clara, CA Stevens Stadium Penn State, Navy

Note: BYU's 2015 victory was vacated because BYU fielded an ineligible player.[19] Since the discovery and further questions of the usage of ineligible players by BYU, the team has left the Varsity Cup and rejoined D1-A.[20][21]

2013[edit]

Quarterfinals (April 20) Semifinals (April 27) Final (May 4)
                 
1 BYU 69
8 UCLA 8
1 BYU 53
4 Central Washington 20
4 Central Washington 81
5 Air Force 28
1 BYU 27
2 California 24
2 California 77
7 Notre Dame 0
2 California 74
6 Navy 6
3 Dartmouth 0
6 Navy 32

2014[edit]

  Regionals (April 12) Super Regionals (April 19) Semifinals (April 26) Final (May 3)
                                     
       
  BYU 70  
    Dartmouth 15  
Dartmouth 59
Clemson 24  
  BYU 60  
  Navy 0  
       
       
  Navy 64
    Texas 10  
Texas 55
Notre Dame 33  
  BYU 43
  California 33
       
       
  California 41
    UCLA 0  
Oklahoma 12
UCLA 77  
  California 58
  Central Washington 14  
       
       
  Central Washington 25
    Utah 24  
Utah 71
Air Force 24  

2015[edit]

  Regionals (April 4) Super Regionals (April 11) Semifinals (April 18) Final (May 2)
(NBCSN)
                                     
       
  BYU 45  
    UCLA 16  
UCLA 32
Air Force 12  
  BYU 35  
  Central Washington 8  
Utah 1  
Oklahoma 0  
  Utah 7
    Central Washington 18  
Central Washington 72
Arizona State 10  
  BYU 30
  California 27
       
       
  California 100
    Texas 7  
Texas 22
Notre Dame 17  
  California 57
  Navy 15  
Clemson 26  
Arkansas State 22  
  Clemson 23
    Navy 24  
Dartmouth 22
Navy 23  

Note: BYU's 2015 victory was vacated because BYU fielded an ineligible player.[22]

2016[edit]

1st Round (April 9) Quarterfinals (April 16) Semifinals (April 23) Championship (May 7)
NBCSN
               
BYU 113
Arizona State 8
BYU 75
Dartmouth 15
Penn State 25
Dartmouth 30
BYU 68
Arkansas State 20
Clemson 0
Arkansas State 50
Arkansas State 31
Navy 24
Notre Dame 3
Navy 57
BYU 29
California 40
Texas 0
California 138
California 41
Army West Point 29
Oklahoma 10
Army West Point 55
California 14
Central Washington 13
UCLA 15
Central Washington 44
Central Washington 58
Utah 5
Air Force 31
Utah 36

Italicized teams hosted each round.

Records[edit]

Most points for one team (single match):

  1. 136 — California vs Texas (2016)
  2. 113 — BYU vs Arizona State (2016)
  3. 100 — California vs Texas (2015)

List of broadcasters[edit]

The following table shows the broadcasters for each year's final match.

Year TV Network Play-by-play announcers Color commentators Sideline reporters
2013 YouTube Brian Hightower Salesi Sika
2014[23] NBCSN Todd Harris Brian Hightower Marty Snider
2015[24] NBCSN Todd Harris Brian Hightower Marty Snider
2016[25] NBCSN Bill Seward Brian Hightower Tanith White

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "USA Rugby: What BYU won was a mythical championship", Deseret News.
  2. ^ http://unitedworldsports.com/our-properties/
  3. ^ "Varsity Cup creates promotional broadcast partnership with NBC, UWS", Varsity Cup.
  4. ^ "Varsity Cup, USA 7s parent, NBC in landmark pact", Gainline, June 21, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "BYU Rugby joins Varsity Cup Championship", Provo Daily Herald, July 17, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  6. ^ "USA Rugby: 'What BYU won ... was a mythical championship'", Deseret News. May 17, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "New college 15s championship points to business goals", Gainline, July 18, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  8. ^ "University of Utah suspends its club rugby program ", Salt Lake Tribune, April 3, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  9. ^ "Central Washington Replaces Utah in Varsity Cup", This is American Rugby, April 5, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "Arkansas State Joins Expanding Varsity Cup", Rugby Today, July 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Varsity Cup Adds Arizona State". United World Sports. Retrieved 2014-08-08. 
  12. ^ "Oklahoma Makes it Official - No Varsity Cup". Goff Rugby Report. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  13. ^ http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2017/03/varsity-cup-adds-teams-sets-final.html
  14. ^ http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2017/03/utah-opts-out-of-varsity-cup.html
  15. ^ Linehan's dramatic dropkick gives BYU men's rugby Varsity Cup national title with win over Cal, Provo Daily Herald, May 5, 2013.
  16. ^ BYU rugby: Cougars defeat California in 2014 Varsity Cup Final, capture third straight national championship, Deseret News, May 3, 2014.
  17. ^ BYU Wins Thriller, Fourth Consecutive Title, Rugby Today, May 2, 2015.
  18. ^ "Varsity Cup Final Venue, PRP Rescheduling, Tracking Camps". This is American Rugby. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  19. ^ "With 2017 fast approaching, the Varsity Cup has a few questions to answer", Goff Rugby Report, December 26, 2016.
  20. ^ byu-out-varsity-cup
  21. ^ byu-joins-d1a-rugby-as-independent
  22. ^ "With 2017 fast approaching, the Varsity Cup has a few questions to answer", Goff Rugby Report, December 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "NBCSN PRESENTS 2014 VARSITY CUP NATIONAL RUGBY COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY AT 4 P.M. ET". NBC Sports Press Box. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  24. ^ "NBCSN PRESENTS 2015 PENN MUTUAL VARSITY CUP NATIONAL RUGBY COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY AT 4 P.M. ET". NBC Sports Press Box. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  25. ^ "CAL FACES BYU IN 2016 PENN MUTUAL VARSITY CUP NATIONAL RUGBY COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY AT 4 P.M. ET ON NBCSN: BYU Cougars Face Cal Golden Bears in Championship Match For Fourth Consecutive Year". NBC Sports Press Box. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]