Playoff dates announced for 2016-17 Collegiate rugby season

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - The 2016-17 competitive collegiate rugby season is about to get underway, and USA Rugby has announced the playoff dates for the Fall Championship, Spring Championship, and National Championship postseasons for 15s and sevens.

The 2015-16 15s season ended brilliantly on the campus of Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., where four National Championship matches and a thrilling Spring Championship were contested in early May. WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., then welcomed a host of 60 teams around Memorial Day weekend for College 7s. When all was said and done, eight National Champions were crowned.

"It seems like our College National Championship season just ended but already we're looking forward to what's in store for the upcoming season," USA Rugby College Director Rich Cortez said. "As we receive more input from programs across the country, we've taken into account the different situations between the fall and spring seasons. Our new College 7s date will work better for teams physically and academically, and our seasonal championship events will mirror the National Championship weekend in scope and stature."

This cycle, the College 7s National Championships will take place ahead of Memorial Day weekend May 19-21, 2017. Between Rugby Sevens' debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games and several high-profile domestic tournaments, the National Championship will be a major-ticket item in next summer's rugby calendar.

The College 15s National Championships for Men's Division 1A, Women's DI Elite, and Men's D1AA will be held May 6, 2017. For the first time, the D1AA competition will compete in separate Fall and Spring Championships prior to the seasonal victors meeting at the National Championship event. The earlier-round playoff dates for D1A and DI Elite will be announced at a later date.

The Fall Championship playoffs begin with the play-in rounds in Women's DI and DII Nov. 12, and continue through the regional rounds Nov. 19-20 before the Fall Championship Finals Dec. 3-4. The Men's D1AA playoffs kick off at the regional stage, and the Men's DII National Championship playoffs run the same dates as the Fall Championships.

The play-in dates for the Spring Championships are April 1-2, 2017, with regionals for Men's D1AA and the two women's divisions held April 8-9, 2017. The three Spring Championship Finals will take place April 22-23, 2017. National Championship Finals for Women's DI and DII will not be held unless the fall and spring champions agree to meet at the College 15s event two weeks later.

Locations and venues for all playoff dates will be announced in due course. Programs have been notified of host candidates and of the playoff structures and formats.

UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULES (as of March 21, 2017)

Men's D1AA

Spring Championship Regional Quarterfinals / Semifinals - April 8-9
Upward Star Center (Spartanburg, S.C.), Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.)
Spring Championship - April 22-23
Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
National Championship - May 5-6
Life University (Marietta, Ga.)

Women's DI/D1 Elite

Combined Round of 16 / Divisional Quarterfinals - April 21-23
Life University (Marietta, Ga.), Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pa.), Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.), UC Davis (Davis, Calif.)
DI Spring Championship - May 5-6
Life University (Marietta, Ga.)
D1 Elite National Championship - May 5-6
Life University (Marietta, Ga.)

Women's DII

Spring Championship Regional Round of 16 / Quarterfinals - April 8-9
Upward State Center (Spartanburg, S.C.), Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.)
Spring Championship Semifinals / Final - April 22-23
Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
National Championship - May 5-6
Life University (Marietta, Ga.)