It’s only been around since 2010, however, the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) is already making some changes. With the new formation of a conference involving teams from the Pac-12, teams in the NCRC got together and decided to make some tweaks of their own.
First, a new 15s league structure will be launched next spring.
Both Canadian schools, Simon Frasier and University of British Columbia will return to competition in Canada only. Central Washington will concentrate on D1-A exclusively, while Oregon State will head off to the Pac Rugby Conference.
“It was agreed upon by all representatives that it would be a lot better to have all teams be competitive for the league championship down to the final week,” League commissioner Matt Hudson said. “We would get down to the final weeks of the season and some of the teams felt they had nothing to play for, this way it can be more competitive.
With the new additions of Boise State and Western Oregon, the NCRC has split into two divisions. In the East; Eastern Washington, Washington State, Idaho and Boise State will compete, while in the West; Western Washington, Oregon, Washington and Western Oregon will battle it out. The league schedule will include three divisional games and two cross-over games.
The league winners will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs, while the 2nd seed from each division will host the 3rd seed. From there, the number one seeds will be added to the mix. The championship game will be held in Seattle at Memorial Stadium.
After the season ends, the NCRC will also be putting together a representative side and play in the Great Northwest Challenge against a local club team or other competitive team.
“A lot of the high schools teams have their select sides after the season is done and we wanted to carry on with that,” Hudson said. “We will be in contact with some clubs teams to be competitive with for that one game. We are still searching for a head coach, so we still have a bit to go.”
Starting in the fall of 2013, the NCRC will also add a structured sevens campaign to the mix as well. All teams in the newly formed NCRC will have a side in this league. In addition; Central Washington, University of Puget Sound (UPS), Idaho State (ISU) and Oregon State will be there too.
The league standings will be based on a points system similar to that used in the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series. Three tournaments will be held in both Washington and Oregon with the final circuit happening at Memorial Stadium in Seattle for the title.
“Nothing has been put in stone yet, but we are pretty sure the Washington circuit will be on the east side of the mountains and the Oregon one will be hosted by Western Oregon,” Hudson said. “We are still working everything out.”