Tennessee is the first of what RUGBYMag expects to be between three and six teams to leave the College Premier Division and return to DI. Below is Tennessee's press release on the move.
After participating in the inaugural season of USA Rugby’s Collegiate Premier Division, the University of Tennessee has elected to return to Division I for 2011/2012. The Volunteers will compete in the first year of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference.
“While we are grateful for the opportunity to compete in the CPD, it is in our program’s best interest to focus on the SCRC and compete in Division I moving forward,” said new Head Coach Marty Bradley. “While the CPD was certainly an excellent competition, the SCRC is a better fit for us and will allow us to effectively promote our sport on campus and in the community while playing against our school’s traditional rivals.”
The Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference will feature teams of the traditional SEC schools competing in a spring competition as part of the new conference system of USA Rugby. The Volunteers look forward to renewing rivalries with Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and the balance of the rugby teams from schools of the SEC.
Tennessee will open the fall semester with a series of Olympic Sevens competitions including the SCRC Sevens Championship during August and September. In October the Vols will host Virginia Tech and Life University, and travel to take On Elon University and Wake Forest University. UT will also take their annual extended trip during Fall Break and is currently seeking possible opponents.
Rugby was first played on the campus of the University of Tennessee in 1970. Today Tennessee Rugby features a roster of over 50 dedicated student athletes. Coaches for the 2011/2012 academic year include: Marty Bradley (Head Coach), Andy Allen, David Codevilla, Mark Donaldson, Joe Siragusa and Michael Weldon.