Every time the Super League loses another team, we feel compelled (even if we don’t always yield to said compunction) to talk about where the league is going.
Now is not the time to do that. The Super League and USA Rugby’s DI club competition certainly have some decisions to make, eventually. But what the Chicago Griffins pulling out of the RSL spells out, is what each individual club needs to do.
Because joining or leaving the Super League is, more than anything else, an individual club decision.
The Griffins left in part because they have a robust competition in the Midwest that they can slide right into. Other clubs may not be in that position.
So … if the Super League were to suddenly disappear, what would the remaining clubs do?
NYAC: Halfway decent D1 league in the Tri-State area. NYAC would dominate that league, and so must feel a little like they really need the Super League.
Boston: Could slot into the New England competition fairly easily.
Dallas Harlequins: Could play in Texas, and by no means be guaranteed 1st place.
Denver Barbarians: Could play in the West-North league, and by doing so would elevate that league quite a bit.
Life: Somewhat isolated. There is really no strong South league, and if they joined with New Orleans, Atlanta Renegades, and Charlotte they would be in a moderately competitive league that struggles to get four clubs to play a full season. And they would dominate.
Old Blue: Same situation as NYAC – OK competition locally.
OPSB: Completely isolated. Could compete more seriously in British Columbia, but their players would be very isolated when it came to pushing for USA consideration, and if they wanted to play anywhere else, they would have to travel … a lot.
SFGG: Not isolated, but not in a good position, either. Northern California’s club completion is not strong, and has for years kind of limped along – sometimes better, sometimes worse. Notice that SFGG’s 2nd side finished 4-3 in Northern California D1, just barely out of the playoffs. Their top team would probably drive other clubs out of the league.
The Super League survives in part because most of the teams in the league need it to give them the kind of competition they want and require. If the league were to disappear, those teams, along with the not-deep D1 leagues (Utah, the South) are the competitions that are making a cohesive plan for men’s club rugby difficult.