|Current season, competition or edition:|
2018 Collegiate Rugby Championship
|No. of teams||24|
|Lindenwood (2018) (1st title)|
|Most titles||California (5 titles)|
The Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC), is a college rugby sevens tournament held every June at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia. The CRC is the highest profile college rugby sevens competition in the United States, with the tournament broadcast live on NBC every year. The CRC has capitalized on the surge in popularity of rugby following the 2009 announcement of the addition of rugby to the Summer Olympics.
The Collegiate Rugby Championship has succeeded in drawing media attention. NBC recognized that rugby is growing in popularity, participation and interest, and NBC's broadcast of the inaugural 2010 CRC was the first time college rugby had been broadcast live on network TV in the US. NBC Sports Programming President, Jon Miller, described NBC's support of the Collegiate Rugby Championship, "We're hoping to see continued growth in the ratings and the attendance. We like the sport a lot, and we've given it a great time period and a real plumb position on our schedule." The CRC has posted respectable TV ratings, with the TV audience for the CRC larger than that of the NCAA lacrosse championships.
Due in part to the exposure from NBC's broadcasts, the tournament has attracted several blue chip corporate sponsors, including Geico, Subway, Toyota and Bud Light. The CRC is popular with fans, with over 17,000 fans turning out to watch the 2011 tournament, and over 18,000 fans in attendance at the 2012 tournament. This was further increased by a twenty-two percent increase in attendance from 2014 to 2015 totaling 24,813 and an even further increase in 2016 to a total attendance of 27,224. In September 2014, Penn Mutual life insurance company announced a multi-year title sponsorship of the annual championship, which is now titled the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.
The Collegiate Rugby Championship has sparked a mini revolution in college rugby, prompting scores of schools to begin offering a rugby sevens program. One of the schools that has benefited from the publicity generated by the CRC tournament has been the University of Texas. Following Texas' participation in the CRC, Texas "raised an additional $10,000 from alumni, landed a new apparel sponsor, and have been contacted by 90 students (including two DBs from the football team) who want to play rugby." The CRC has also given a boost of exposure to lesser known schools with strong rugby programs. For example, when Life University went undefeated in pool play and reached the semifinals of the June 2-3 2012 CRC, Life University's like2do.com resource page was viewed by 9,800 people that weekend.
The first day of the two-day tournament features 20 teams divided into 5 pools of 4 teams, with the top team in each group advancing to the quarterfinals, along with the three best second-placed teams. The second day of the tournament is knockout play, featuring the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
The majority of the participating teams are invited to the tournament based on the quality of the school's rugby program and on the school's fan appeal. Certain teams also qualify by winning the Southeastern Rugby Conference, the Las Vegas Invitational, and the new Heart of America Tournament.
The inaugural 2010 Collegiate Rugby Championship, at the time known as the Collegiate Championship Invitational (CCI), was held in Columbus, Ohio, at the Columbus Crew Stadium. Utah defeated Cal 31-26 in overtime in a thrilling final. Bowling Green's Rocco Mauer led the tournament with 11 tries and was named tournament MVP by Rugby Mag.
The 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship moved to PPL Park in Philadelphia, PA. NBC increased their coverage over the previous year, devoting 14 hours of coverage to the tournament. California and Arizona were favored after cruising to victories in the first day of pool play, but both were knocked out in quarterfinal upsets. Dartmouth beat Army 32-10 in the final.
Because of the strong support that the tournament has received from Philadelphia fans and its new title sponsorship of the Horsham, PA based Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, the CRC will remain in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.
|2010||Columbus Crew Stadium,
San Diego State
|2016||Talen Energy Stadium,
|2017||Talen Energy Stadium,
|2018||Talen Energy Stadium,
For each tournament, the number of teams in each finals tournament (in parentheses) is shown.
|Life University||Div 1-A||o||o||4th||2nd||3rd||4th||2nd||3rd|
|San Diego State||Div 1-A||3rd||o||o||o||o||o|
|Penn State||Div 1-A||14th||8th||13th||6th||8th||15th|
|Ohio State||Big Ten||7th||14th||o||o||12th||o|
|North Carolina||Atlantic Coast||o||11th||o||o||o||o|
|Virginia Tech||Atlantic Coast||o||o||o||14th||11th||11th|
|North Carolina St.||Atlantic Coast||o||o||12th||16th||o||o|
|Boston College||East Coast||o||16th||o||o||o||18th|
|Year||TV Viewership &
Despite the fact that the CRC tournament has only been around since 2010, the tournament has seen some notable rivalries:
The Collegiate Rugby Championship has been notable for its ability to showcase the emerging stars of US rugby. In 2012, representatives from all 12 clubs in the English Premiership (the top professional league in England) attended the CRC, where the Premiership coaches scouted talent from the 16 university teams competing.
The following athletes who have starred in the CRC and made the All Tournament Team have gone on to play for the United States national rugby team in international competitions:
|Player Name||CRC All Tournament||College|
|Rocco Mauer||2010||Bowling Green|
|Nate Ebner||2010, 2011||Ohio State|
|Will Holder||2010, 2011||Army|
|Blaine Scully||2010, 2011||California|
|Tim Stanfill||2011||Cent. Washington|
|Peter Tiberio||2011, 2012||Arizona|
|Nate Brakeley||2011, 2012||Dartmouth|
|Brett Thompson||2012, 2013||Arizona|
|Cam Dolan||2012, 2013||Life University|
|Seamus Kelly||2010, 2013, 2014||California|
|Madison Hughes||2012, 2013, 2014||Dartmouth|
|Cody Melphy||2016, 2017||Life University|
Alex Magleby, who became head coach of the United States national rugby sevens team in 2012, was previously head coach of Dartmouth, the team he coached to victory at the 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship and 2012 Collegiate Rugby Championship.
|Year||Leading Try Scorer||Leading Point Scorer||MVP|
|2010||Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (11)||Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green) (55)||Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green)|
|2011||Peter Tiberio (Arizona) (8)||Peter Tiberio (Arizona) (54)||Chris & Nick Downer (Dartmouth)|
|2012||Trevor Tanifum (Maryland) (10)||Derek Fish (Dartmouth) (60)||Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)|
|2013||Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (9)||Joe Cowley (Life Univ) (81)||Seamus Kelly (California)|
|2015||Jake Anderson (California)|
|2016||Niall Barry (UCLA) (6)||Cian Barry (UCLA) (35)||Jesse Milne (California)|
|2017||Sam Cusano (California)|