Central Washington will play Lindenwood for a third time this year. / Photo: Jackie Finlan
The previous two seasons, the DI Elite and DI Spring colleges funneled into the first two rounds of regional playoffs before separating back out into two separate sets of four for semifinals and finals. Theoretically, that set-up meant that a DI college could end up in the DI Elite “final four,” but that never happened, and instead, lopsided and demoralizing scores resulted when the DI Elite and DI teams played each other.
That experiment ended with the spring 2019 season and now the four DI Elite teams will only play each other in the playoffs. They’ve concentrated their post-season into two weekends and will name their national champion nearly a month ahead of the DI spring colleges, which will begin regionals at the round of 8 stage (April 19-21). This schedule now allows the DI Elite programs – all of which are title-vying 7s programs – a longer, more concentrated lead-up to the USA Rugby College 7s Championship (May 24-26, Tucson)
Remember, too, that Central Washington, which was a founding member of the DI Elite before moving to NIRA, has replaced BYU, which is vying for the DI spring championship in 2019.
USA Rugby’s Women’s Competition Committee has settled on the following seeding for the DI Elite playoffs:
3. Penn State
4. Central Washington
The schedule for the DI Elite semifinals:
Sunday, March 24
11 a.m. ET Lindenwood vs. Central Washington
1 p.m. ET Life vs. Penn State
The two victors will then play each other for the DI Elite National Championship on Sunday, April 7 at Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.). There will be no third-place game. The Rugby Breakdown will be on site for the Stanford fixture.