Section 4. COLLEGIATE CLUB
(UPDATED June 26, 2012)
Academic Year – An annual period during which a student attends a college or university beginning with the first day of the fall semester or quarter and ending at the conclusion of the USA Rugby national championship event.
Academic Term – An academic session that is a division of the Academic Year. This includes a quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer) and a semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Qualifying Match – Any match in which the result is used to determine official competition standings and/or to determine qualification for the national championship tournament.
4.2 Collegiate Team Eligibility.
- 1. Each team must be recognized by USA Rugby.
- 2. Each team must be in good standing with the college/university and the conference or regional governing body of which it is a member.
- 3. Each team may carry an unlimited number of student--athletes on its Roster.
- 4. Consortium agreements between universities will be recognized by USA Rugby provided there is an academic connection between the universities, they are in reasonable geographic proximity, and:
- a) There is a written agreement in place for varsity athletics, or
- b) There is a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports.
4.3 Collegiate Student--Athlete Eligibility.
- 1. In order to participate in any Qualifying Match, and in any National Collegiate Championship, the student--athlete must meet all of the following eligibility criteria at the time of competition:
- a) The student--athlete must be enrolled full--time and in good standing, as defined by the university or college registrar and an undergraduate student seeking his/her first bachelor's degree.
- b) A student--athlete within his/her final two undergraduate Academic Terms may carry less than a full-time academic load and still maintain eligibility. This is only permitted if the student--athlete is a graduating senior and a letter from the Registrar confirming such status is obtained.
- c) A student--athlete may maintain eligibility after completing and/or receiving an undergraduate degree if that student--athlete is enrolled full time in post--graduate studies (graduate school or pursuance of an additional Bachelor’s Degree) provided the student--athlete is attending the same institution they received their first undergraduate degree from and the student--athlete still falls within all other collegiate eligibility standards.
- d) A student--athlete competing for an institution utilizing the quarter system is eligible through the National Championships of that Academic Year if he/she graduated at the end of the winter quarter. This requires a letter from the registrar confirming such status.
- 2. Every student--athlete has five (5) consecutive Academic Years of eligibility. Eligibility begins in the Academic Year immediately following high school graduation date or the graduation date of his or her class (as determined by the first year of high school enrollment) or based on the prescribed educational path in the student athletes country.
- 3. A student is eligible to receive a sixth (6th) year of eligibility under these specific instances:
- Delayed Enrollment
- A student--athlete who does not enroll in a collegiate institution as a full-- time student in a regular academic term during the one--year time period after his or her high school graduation date or the graduation date of his or her class. After one year the student--athlete shall be charged with a season of intercollegiate eligibility for each Academic Year.
- Gap in Enrollment
- A student-athlete can verify through school transcripts that there was a gap in enrollment for a full academic year at the school for which they are applying for a sixth (6th) year; subject to the following:
- a) During the academic year under review, the student--athlete was not enrolled in any school, or
- b) The student--athlete was enrolled at a school that did not have a recognized rugby team and that school has postsecondary institutional accreditation as listed with the US Department of Education.
- Medical Hardship
- A student--athlete through medical records and accompanying statement from a medical doctor can verify that they were physically unable to participate in rugby during an entire Academic Year.
- 4. The student--athlete must play on the team representing the school in which he/she is enrolled.
- 5. The student--athlete must not have played in a Qualifying Match for any other collegiate team or senior club at any level during the current Academic Year.
- 6. Student--athletes must meet and remain in compliance with all applicable amateur standards. A student--athlete is not eligible for participation in collegiate rugby if they have ever taken pay for competing in any form of rugby.
- a) Prize money based on place finish or performance in an open event from the sponsor of the event is permissible provided the amount of prize money did not exceed the actual and necessary expenses to participate in the event.
- b) A school, team or organization may provide actual and necessary expenses to players provided the expenses are a reasonable amount for travel, lodging, meals, apparel and equipment. This includes per diem offered during participation with recognized USA Rugby national and representative team assemblies and player win bonuses offered during participation with the USA Rugby National Team.
Addendum: Collegiate Eligibility Grandfather Clause.
These regulations apply to all student athletes participating in USA Rugby’s collegiate competition beginning with the 2012/2013 competition cycle. However, a student athlete who competed in the 2011/2012 competitive cycle as an eligible participant who has his/her eligibility status adversely affected by the new regulations may choose to complete his/her eligibility under the prior eligibility regulation 4.2(a):
- “4.2(a) is within five (5) years of the moment the player first enrolled in a university, college or junior college, regardless of when the player started playing rugby or had the ability to start playing collegiate rugby. Any college courses that are taken during high school do not start the eligibility clock.”
No other section of the prior eligibility regulations will be considered in determining student athlete eligibility including any eligibility extensions as defined in prior regulation 13.5.2(a).
4.4. Collegiate Student-Athlete Front Row Players.
Any college student-athlete under the age of nineteen (Under 19) should not play in any College Rugby match in the front row unless the following are obtained:
- written agreement from the player in writing to play College Rugby in the front row and acceptance of any associated risk of playing with Adults who may be stronger and more physically developed than the player;
- if the player is Under 18, written parental or guardian’s consent;
- written confirmation from a coach with an appropriate understanding of the physical attributes required of and the risks to players in the front row in College Rugby and to whom the player is known that the player has the requisite skills and experience to play College Rugby in the front row; and
- such other consents or confirmations (if any) as may be required by the player’s LAU/TU/GU, or College Conference, or to comply with the local jurisdiction.
When does my five-year window of eligibility begin?
Eligibility is a 5-year window that begins in the academic term following a player’s high school graduation date and may only be extended to a sixth, immediately successive year. If you graduated high school in Spring 2008 or later, you do not need an eligibility waiver. If you graduated high school in Spring 2007 or Fall 2007, you may be eligible for a sixth year if you meet the criteria for a waiver and have a request approved by the Collegiate Eligibility Committee.
When does my eligibility begin if I attended school outside of the United States?
Please consult our High School Graduation Equivalency Guide.
Is it possible to have my window of eligibility extended to six years?
Under certain circumstances, players may have their eligibility window extended to six years. In those cases, players may not have played for more than four of the previous five years. The additional year of eligibility may only be added to the immediate, successive year following the conclusion of your five-year window.
In order to receive a sixth year, you must submit an eligibility waiver request with all required documentation and have your request approved by the Collegiate Eligibility Committee. To state the criteria by which you may receive an extension in a general manner, you would need to have missed an entire academic year (for various reasons, including but not limited to military service, religious service, and gap years) or been unable to play rugby for an entire year due to a) your previous school not having a program, or b) a medical injury that rendered you unfit for rugby for an entire academic year.
If you receive a sixth year, you may not play more than five years of collegiate rugby during the six-year window you’ve been granted.
How does the grandfather clause work?
If you graduated high school prior to Spring 2008, you may also be eligible to compete under the Grandfather Clause to the USA Rugby College Eligibility Regulations, provided you were a registered member of USA Rugby at the collegiate level prior to the 2012-2013 season. If you were not, you are not eligible for the Grandfather Clause under any circumstances. The Grandfather Clause allows previous college players to continue their initial window of eligibility, which is 5 years from the date of first enrollment in a college or university. There are absolutely no extensions to that 5-year window, however.
Are there any extensions of eligibility for military or religious service?
Yes. Players may receive an additional year to their eligibility window (creating a six-year window) if they missed an entire academic year due to military or religious service. However, the eligibility window for players still begins in the academic term following a player’s high school graduation date. If you are beyond six years from your high school graduation date and not eligible to compete under the grandfather clause, you are not eligible to participate in collegiate conference/league and playoff matches. You may still participate in training with the club at your college/university, as well as participate in friendly/non-qualifying matches. You may also participate with a senior club team.
May I play both college rugby and senior club rugby in the same competitive season?
Generally, no. In most circumstances, players are only allowed to play in conference/league and playoff matches with one team per season. The primary exception to this rule is if you graduated from your college/university during the competitive season and are granted a waiver by the Club Eligibility Committee to continue your playing career with a senior club. Notably, players are allowed to play in non-qualifying matches (i.e. matches that are not conference/league matches and/or playoff matches) for more than one team. If you did not graduate mid-season, you are still welcome to petition the eligibility committees for an eligibility waiver.
May I play rugby for a school I do not attend?
No. Regulation 4.3.4 clearly states, “The student-‐athlete must play on the team representing the school in which he/she is enrolled.” The only circumstances in which you may play for a school that you don’t attend is if your school is part of a consortium agreement as defined by USA Rugby. If the college/university so allows, you may be able to participate in training with the club at the college/university, as well as participate in friendly/non-qualifying matches with that club.
What is a consortium agreement?
A consortium agreement is defined by USA Rugby (Regulation 4.2.4) as having “an academic connection between the universities, they are in reasonable geographic proximity, and: a) There is a written agreement in place for varsity athletics, or b) There is a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports.”
In order to qualify for consortium status, note that there must be a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports. If both schools have club sports, it is irrelevant that only one has a rugby program.
A common misconception is that students at branch campuses without rugby programs may participate at a campus that does have a program. If a branch campus has its own club sports of any kind, this is false. Another common misconception is that students at community colleges with working agreements at nearby colleges or universities may also participate at said college or university. Again, if the college you are attending has club sports of any kind, regardless of whether or not it has a rugby program, your school(s) are not participating under a consortium agreement as defined by USA Rugby. A good example of a consortium agreement is the Claremont Colleges.
What is the eligibility waiver request process?
For collegiate waiver requests, players must fill out the Collegiate Player Eligibility Waiver Request Form and submit it alongside a written statement, official transcripts, and any additional documentation required to support the player’s case. Once the player has submitted all proper paperwork to USA Rugby, the case will be forwarded to the Collegiate Eligibility Committee, who approves or denies the request for a waiver.
What are the official transcripts and how do I obtain them?
For official transcripts (as required for all collegiate eligibility waiver requests), documentation may be provided in the form of a sealed (unopened) copy of your official transcripts, a fax from your university's registrar's office (with clear understanding in the transmission line that this is where the transcript has originated from), or, where available, an encrypted e-mail from the registrar's office. To have a collegiate eligibility waiver request considered, you must provide official transcripts from all colleges/universities of attendance. The Collegiate Eligibility Committee will not accept unofficial records or printouts of your class schedule, nor will it accept opened transcripts.
My previous school didn't have a rugby program. How do I apply for a waiver under these circumstances?
In order to prove your case, you must obtain a letter from that school’s club sports or student life office confirming that it did not have a rugby program for your gender during your period of attendance.
I was injured and missed out on playing during one of my years of eligibility. How do I apply for a waiver under these circumstances?
In order to receive an additional year of eligibility, you must have been unable to play rugby for an entire academic year. Documentation should be attached to your eligibility waiver request form showing your date of injury as well as your date of clearance to resume playing rugby.
I spent a year in military or religious service. How do I apply for a waiver under these circumstances?
You must attach your military record (including dates of service) or a letter from your church’s administrative office(s) confirming that you were in service for at least one full academic year. Please note that you may only gain one additional year to your initial five-year window, which begins in the academic term following your high school graduation regardless of enrollment.
My waiver request was denied. What now?
Players who believe their due process was violated my file an appeal within five (5) days of receiving their denial. Appellate cases are not a retrial of your case; they are a review of the process by which your case was handled. You may not introduce new evidence and/or new arguments during the appeals process unless it relates to your right to due process. To make an appeal, you must submit your appeal case and $50.00. If you win your appeal, the $50.00 will be returned to you.
How do I contact USA Rugby?