RUGBYMag has been following the creation of an independent DI fall 15s championship for months, and Thursday, a group of coaches and conference representatives held a conference call and came closer to finalizing some things. They also talked about a spring 7s competition. Not decided on yet is a name for the competition.
Six conferences, and maybe a seventh, are committed. The Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, East Coast, Empire, MAC and Rugby East (including Davenport) are in. Depending on who you talk to, the Keystone Conference is either committed or still in discussions.
The playoff format sees each conference, assuming the Keystone is in, get one bid to the quarterfinals, except for the Rugby East, which gets two. Davenport is playing every Rugby East team once this fall to try and qualify through that league, but the Panthers will be competing in the Mid-South in the spring.
The second-place teams from all conferences, minus the Rugby East, will pair off for bowl-type matches against one another. It’s not set in stone, but likely geography will determine the match-ups, so the Big Ten’s runner up could play the MAC’s in one bowl game, and the East Coast and Empire would clash in another and the Keystone and Atlantic Coast in another.
A small committee will determine the bowl pairings, as well as the quarterfinal match-ups. The bowl games will be played Nov. 16, the same weekend as the quarterfinals. The semifinals are Nov. 23rd and the finals are December 7th. Also not set in stone is the venue for the final, though Furman is being considered and seems a likely destination.
As for the spring 7s competition, what’s been discussed is a 64-team tournament May 3rd-4th, potentially in Virginia Beach, Va., though that’s not iron clad, either. The event would mix DI and DII teams, as the majority of DII conferences are not planning to send teams to USA Rugby's championships this December, because their 15s Championships are scheduled for the same weekend.
While the 64-team tournament would be single elimination, there would be plenty of consolation brackets, so every team would be guaranteed several matches on the weekend.