USA Rugby evaluating youth rugby structure

USA Rugby and the Youth & High School Committee is undergoing a review and evaluation of several items pertaining to the Youth & High School game in the USA. Our last comprehensive evaluation of the process was over 5-years-ago, when the high school game aligned with high school sport structures and rules of the high school athletic association and NFHS. The current evaluation is centered more around the youth game and introduction of small sided games, variations, intro to contact, but will still consider the high school game and our pathways to collegiate and national level play.

Through this process, USA Rugby is soliciting feedback from the community about all areas of the evaluation. Please submit your thoughts and ideas around any of the subject areas. Priority will be given to those submitting data with their opinion, but we still want to hear from all perspectives.

Items under evaluation:

  1. Eligibility of High School 'school based' Rugby for the USA
  2. Eligibility of High School 'Club' Rugby for the USA
  3. Age/Grade breakdowns for youth rugby
  4. Potential Weight breakdowns for youth/HS rugby
  5. Game variations for the youth rugby age breakdowns
  6. Non-contact eligibility items from 3-18 years old
  7. All-star/Regional Cup Tournament Eligibility
  8. HSAA Eligibility
  9. Consideration of waivers throughout the eligibility

Submission Form

Our process for this review will include open solicitation windows, interviews and gathering of data, review with professionals for evaluation of content, and final drafting before we participate in the implementation of the new policies. Currently, USA Rugby has provided guidelines for best practice for youth rugby implementation, but would like to more formalize the youth rugby landscape in this process. Many of the recent changes and updates to processes like adjusting our Regional Cup Tournament structures has fostered great growth and allowed our state organizations to focus on specific growth. Additionally, Rookie Rugby is exploding with building new leagues in neighborhoods and building a 'pee-wee' rugby atmosphere for easy introduction.

The Process will Include:

  1. Seating Sub Committee from Y&HS Committee
  2. Developing a Scope of work
  3. September 15 to October 21 - Gather data from:
    1. State Rugby Organization officials
    2. United States Olympic Committee National Governing Body Interviews with other sports
    3. Non Olympic US based sport Interviews
    4. World Rugby Member Interviews (other rugby countries)
    5. Open Community Solicitation (USA Rugby members and stakeholders)
    6. Medical/Concussion/Risk management community feedback
    7. USA Rugby High Performance feedback
  4. November - Development of Proposal
  5. Public Comment
  6. Final evaluation by safety, medical and risk management committees
  7. Finalization of documents and voting by the Youth & High School Committee

Our goal is to complete the process by the end of the year, but we don't want to rush the process if we feel there is still solid input to receive. We have the support of grad students from University of Northern Colorado to support the evaluation of data. Any questions about the process or the program can be sent to USA Rugby Youth & High School Director, Kurt Weaver at kweaver@usarugby.org.