April 11, 2023
Over the past few years, there have been varying public discussions and opinions regarding National Collegiate Rugby’s relationship with USA Rugby. We would like to provide you with a summary of NCR’s position, the facts concerning our interactions with USA Rugby, and our commitment to the collaborative growth of collegiate rugby.
National Collegiate Rugby’s mission is “to foster the on and off-field growth and development of collegiate rugby teams, student athletes and coaches.” We are 100% focused on the collegiate game and 100% of your dues are invested in member services and growing collegiate rugby.
Together with our members and the referee community, we have built the largest collegiate rugby organization in the U.S.
Collegiate Sports Regulatory Framework
NCR is a member-driven, not-for-profit entity that operates as an Amateur Sports Organization under the Ted Stevens Act. This federal law grants certain independent amateur athletic organizations – including collegiate, armed services, and high schools – with exclusive jurisdiction over its constituent players, coaches, and teams.
This regulatory framework is visible across NCAA and NAIA collegiate sports, none of which are required to pay membership dues to national governing bodies. Many other collegiate club sports also operate as independent athletic associations with no participation “tax” being paid to the national governing body. The National Club Softball Association, National Club Baseball Association, and the National Club Basketball Association are just three examples.
NCR believes that college rugby is best run by an independent Amateur Sports Organization that is entirely focused on growing and supporting the college game. This independent structure provides the focus and dedicated resources to further unify and grow college rugby.
National Collegiate Rugby and USA Rugby
National Collegiate Rugby believes that a strong National Governing Body is critical to the success of rugby in the U.S. The World Cups present an unprecedented opportunity to grow our sport, and NCR is committed to providing appropriate support to USA Rugby to maximize this opportunity.
We are open to various value exchanges with USA Rugby—including monetary fees for shared services—but will only pay membership fees that deliver commensurate value to our members, allow for the continued investment in college programs, and maintain the financial resilience of NCR.
On behalf of our members, NCR has regularly engaged with USA Rugby with the goal of establishing unencumbered access to referees, removing barriers to competition and creating a productive partnership for the future. We believe it’s important that our members understand key events:
The Path Forward
We remain hopeful that a positive and healthy partnership can be established with USA Rugby despite the recent challenges. While our organization is exempt by law from national governing body oversight, we know that rugby could be stronger through greater collaboration across all rugby organizations.
With 15 years of success serving the college rugby community, NCR is the best positioned Amateur Sports Organization to lead American college rugby. National Collegiate Rugby has the vision, infrastructure, leadership and resources to accelerate the growth of college rugby and further improve the student-athlete, stakeholder and fan experience. NCR is committed to building a productive working relationship with USA Rugby and looks forward to future collaboration to grow our sport at all levels.
National Collegiate Rugby Board of Directors
Rafael Zahralddin, President
Jayme Pendergast, Vice President
Kyle Smith, Treasurer
Audrey Billingsley, Secretary
Dr. Michael Lewis