Despite going 7-0 in league play, American International College did not compete in the Rugby Northeast championship game Saturday, because AIC was forced to forfeit games for playing unCIPPed and ineligible players. Bentley, who AIC beat 22-11 earlier this season, defeated Providence, beaten 41-18 by AIC, for the inaugural conference title.
Numerous unCIPPed players competed during the season for AIC, which was discovered by Rugby Northeast commissioner Chip Auscavitch when two were carded in a game in the latter part of the season. AIC coach Josh Macy says unCIPPed players made it onto the field through his error and that he made a paperwork snafu that cost his team a chance at a playoff berth.
Many teams CIPP their players electronically, but there’s also an option to mail in the CIPP form that’s filled out online, a practice used most often when a team is paying in bulk for its players. Nearly all of AIC’s players were CIPPed on Sept. 7 or Oct. 26, and Macy said he thought he sent in the paperwork for the players who ended up unCIPPed.
AIC was also pinged for using five ineligible players. All five had submitted eligibility waiver requests to USA Rugby, and four of the requests were granted, but the players in question played before their waivers were accepted. One waiver request is still pending.
Macy, who is also AIC’s coordinator of club sports, maintains his infractions were not sinister, but honest mistakes, and that the club sports department is looking into tabbing someone to take care of the clerical issues next season, acting as a compliance officer of sorts.
Macy, who apologized to his team for letting them down, said his men’s team was rightfully upset at the way the season unfolded, but they are rallying behind their women’s team, who won the Rugby Northeast championship Saturday. The men’s team rode out to the championship game on a fan bus to show its support.
AIC will try to end its season on a positive note this weekend at the Empire Conference 7s tournament.