Ivy League teams split from NERFU

Posted in: College
By Brian Lowe
Mar 18, 2009 - 2:50:57 PM

(Paul Meyers photo)
Ivy League schools have decided to break away from the New England college competition to form their own Conference.

Dartmouth, Yale, and Harvard have opted to split from the NERFU DI competition.

From the Ivy League schools’ standpoint, it has been proposed that Dartmouth, Yale, and Harvard form a separate league to include Cornell, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, and UPenn.

The rationale behind the move is two-fold - 1) better prepare the Ivy League champions for the national playoffs through either a 10-game/eight-week schedule, or a seven-match/seven-week schedule; and 2) save on costs i.e. travel expenses.

It should be noted, however, that not all teams in the newly structured league would save money as extra travel would mean an increased budget for some.

The Ivy League wants to ensure that whichever team wins the Ivies and goes on to represent the league at the national playoffs, will have the necessary experience and depth to play competitively on back-to-back days.

It has been proposed that the champions of the new Ivy League Conference would get an automatic berth into the Round of 16.

USA Rugby reportedly supports the establishment of the new league. Boulder wants the Ivy League schools to be successful, and it wants a competitive Ivy champion.

As a result of the split, the New England Union has been forced to make some adjustments to its DI league for the fall 2009 schedule.

The NERFU DI will be composed of four teams: Army, Boston College, Northeastern and UConn.


Teams will begin play on September 19 and play six weekends; a home and away series against the other three members of the Division.

Play will conclude the weekend of October 24; allowing for an NRU play-in weekend on October 31.

The NRU has not finalized the 2009 playoff structure, so there may be a late change to the schedule that would see things slip by one weekend with the competition to start on September 26.

This will allow teams to schedule ‘friendlies’ in September, something the Ivy League schools are also anxious to do.

Depending on the final NRU playoff structure, either two or three New England teams will be playoff eligible. The order of eligibility will be the final league standings.

A draft league schedule is expected to be sent to the four teams by April 1.

It is hoped that for 2010, additional teams will be ready and willing to compete in DI; possibly Holy Cross, UMaine and other larger schools that formerly supported a DI program. Norwich will compete in DII at its request.

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