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DI Club Leagues Restructure

  • 24 Aug 2018

Charlotte moves up to the DI East

Women’s Division I club rugby is restructuring and taking a first step this season, combining the east coast teams into one competition. Margy Dessypris Thomas, senior club chair of the National Competitions Committee (NCC), explained the rationale behind the update and changes to come.

The NCC noted that eight Competitive Regions (CRs) with, on average, 2-3 DI clubs each was not a sustainable situation, and teams like Life West, Seattle and Utah Vipers were essentially isolated.

“We’d like to stop cobbling together hybrid schedules with attached waivers. We’d like to see clubs expand the variety of clubs they play. Getting six matches with the same three teams over and over isn’t really doing anyone any favors,” Dessypris Thomas reviewed the shortfalls of the now-remodeled set-up. “This [new structure] will require more travel and fundraising on the part of these teams, and for the most part we see a large appetitive for that. We see these clubs compete in the Gold Cup, a variety of tournaments or reaching out to other clubs in the different CRs. So we think a lot of the women’s clubs are ready to expand more officially.”

The NCC is currently examining a four-CR structure for the 2019-20 cycle, and in the meantime, the Atlantic North, Mid-Atlantic and South CRs have combined to form one DI league this fall season. Albany, Boston, Charlotte, NOVA, Philadelphia and Raleigh will compete in the East, and ideally will be joined by the Midwest, Mountain and Pacific leagues in the subsequent year.

“The Pacific area is establishing a set of friendlies for the spring,” Dessypris Thomas explained. “The Midwest, Texas, Frontier areas are still a work in progress with pending conversations with those coordinators and clubs to see what we can work out.

“We realize this also begins to put a larger divide between Women’s D1 and D2,” Dessypris Thomas continued. “Those D2 clubs that want to move up to D1 will need to take a look at their organization’s administration, fundraising, recruiting, and coaching and demonstrate some consistent years before they will consider stepping up to D1, but I also think it helps the conversation in the long run between the WPL and D1 promotion/relegation.”

Stay tuned for more information as it arises. Click here for the DI East schedule.

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