Eligibility

Approved In-Season Transfer Requests >>


Minor Collegiate Participation Form Eligibility RegulationsCollege Waiver Request


Eligibility FAQs

(UPDATED October 28, 2013)

How is “in good standing” determined for a college rugby player?

All players must be in good standing with their Conference, with USA Rugby, and with their respective institution. Specifically the player must be registered in the current year’s Club and Individual Participation Program (CIPP), with all dues fully paid, prior to participating in any match. The Registrar is the sole determinant of ‘in good standing’ and the student-athlete’s eligibility to participate for the institutional rugby program by the definition applied by the respective University or College.

When does my collegiate eligibility begin?

Eligibility is a seven-year window that begins in the academic year immediately following a player’s high school graduation date during which a player may not participate more than five seasons. If you graduated from high school in Spring 2009 or later, you do not need an Eligibility Waiver. If you graduated from high school in the 2006-07 or the 2007-08 academic years you may be eligible if you meet the criteria specified in the College Eligibility regulations.

When does my collegiate eligibility begin? if I attended school outside of the United States?

Please consult these International Academic Standards for more information.

When does my eligibility begin if I did not attend or graduate from a traditional high school program (home schooling, online program, high school equivalency exam/GED, charter school)?

The seven-year period for College Rugby Eligibility begins in the Academic Year immediately following your high school graduation date, or the graduation date of your class (as determined by the first year of high school enrollment).

How do I request eligibility in the Sixth and/or the Seventh academic year following the date of my high school graduation?

If you meet the criteria specified in Eligibility Regulation 4.3-a through 4.3-h and have not already participated in college rugby for five seasons, you must submit a Waiver Request for eligibility prior to the start of playing any Qualifying games in the sixth, and if applicable again in the seventh, academic year following date of your high school graduation.

What needs to be included with my request for eligibility in the Sixth and/or Seventh academic year following high school graduation?

The Waiver Request must include a copy of your official college/university transcript with official documentation verifying your date of high school graduation (often posted on the official college transcripts). See below regarding the Eligibility Waiver Process. See below for definition of official transcripts.

If you are beyond the seventh academic year immediately following the date of your high school graduation, you are not eligible to participate in Qualifying competition. There are no exceptions to this policy. You may still participate in training with the club at your college/university, as well as participate in friendly/non-qualifying matches. Any registered USA Rugby member may compete with compliant clubs in this fashion.

Do I have to provide a specific reason for seeking eligibility in the Sixth and/or the Seventh academic year following the date of my high school graduation?

No, it does not matter why you have a delayed entry or break in enrollment. The Eligibility Regulations only serve to ensure that a student has the opportunity to participate in college rugby for up to five seasons within a seven-year period following high school graduation.

What defines a Season of College Rugby Participation?

A season of College Rugby Participation is established upon the CIPP Registration with any team, collegiate or senior club, following the date of high school graduation and within the seven-year window.

If I play 15s rugby for any rugby club either while I am a college student or during a year I am not enrolled, but within the seven-year period immediately following graduation from high school, does that affect the number of years I may play college rugby?

Yes. Any organized 15s rugby participation, whether with a collegiate or a senior club, that occurs during the seven- year period immediately following the date of high school, is equivalent to participating for the same number of seasons in college rugby. This criteria applies regardless if the player was attending college or not, and/or if the college of attendance fielded a rugby team.

Are there any extensions approved if I have not competed in five seasons and am still within the seven-year window following the date of my high school graduation?

In order to receive a season of eligibility beyond your fifth year of enrollment in college/university, you must not have or been unable to participate in rugby for an entire academic year.

I am in a Study Abroad program and plan to play rugby during this time. Am I eligible to do so?

If you plan to play rugby in another country, it is mandatory that you receive “approval” from USA Rugby in advance. Receiving approval to play in a foreign union is mandatory worldwide. All USA players must complete the Individual Outbound Form and return to USA Rugby by fax or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Are there any extensions approved if I have not competed in five seasons, am still within the seven-year window following the date of my high school graduation, and am now pursuing a post-graduate degree (either an additional Bachelor’s Degree or attending graduate school)?

Yes, a student-athlete may maintain eligibility after completing and/or receiving an undergraduate degree if enrolled full time in post-graduate studies (graduate school or pursuance of an additional Bachelor’s Degree), if attending the same institution at which the first undergraduate degree was received, and if all other collegiate eligibility standards have been met.

Are there any extensions approved if I have not competed five seasons and am now beyond the seven-year window following the date of my high school graduation?

There are no exceptions or exemptions to this policy.

How does the grandfather clause work?

If you graduated high school prior to Spring 2009, you may also be eligible to compete under the Grandfather Clause Addendum to the USA Rugby College Eligibility Regulations. A prerequisite of grandfather clause participation requires that a student-athlete was a registered USA Rugby collegiate participant during 2011-2012 competitive cycle. No other students are eligible for the grandfather clause. The Grandfather Clause allows previous college players to participate within the collegiate eligibility window published at the time of initial tertiary enrollment: five years from the date of first enrollment in a college or university. The grandfather clause is non-extendable, and no requests for extensions to that five-year window will be considered.

May I play for my college team and a senior club during the same season?

Generally, no. In most circumstances, players are only allowed to participate in qualifying competition with one team per season. The primary exception to this rule is if you graduated from your college/university during the competitive season and are granted a waiver by the Club Eligibility Committee to continue your playing career with a senior club. Notably, players are allowed to play in non-qualifying matches (i.e. matches that are not conference/league matches and/or playoff matches) for more than one team. If you did not graduate mid-season, you are still welcome to petition the eligibility committees for an eligibility waiver.

May I play rugby for a school I do not attend?

No. Regulation 4.3 (g) clearly states, "The student--athlete must play on the team representing the school in which he/she is enrolled.” The only circumstances in which you may play for a school that you don’t attend is if your school is part of a consortium agreement as defined by USA Rugby. If the college/university so allows, you may be able to participate in training with the club at the college/university, as well as participate in friendly/non-qualifying matches with that club.

What is a consortium agreement?

A consortium agreement is defined by USA Rugby under Regulation 4.2 (d) as having...

an academic connection between the universities, they are in reasonable geographic proximity, and:
  • a) There is a written agreement in place for varsity athletics, or
  • b) There is a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports.

In order to qualify for consortium status, note that there must be a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports. If both schools have club sports, it is irrelevant that only one has a rugby program. A common misconception is that students at branch campuses without rugby programs may participate at a campus that does have a program. If a branch campus has its own club sports of any kind, this is false. Another common misconception is that students at community colleges with working agreements at nearby colleges or universities may also participate at said college or university. Again, if the college you are attending has club sports of any kind, regardless of whether or not it has a rugby program, your school(s) are not participating under a consortium agreement as defined by USA Rugby. A good example of a consortium agreement is the Claremont Colleges.

What is the eligibility waiver request process?

For collegiate waiver requests, players must fill out the Collegiate Player Eligibility Waiver Request Form and submit it alongside a written statement, official transcripts, and any additional required documentation supporting the player’s case. Once the player has submitted all proper paperwork to USA Rugby, the case will be forwarded to the Collegiate Eligibility Committee, who approves or denies the request for a waiver.

What are the official transcripts and how do I obtain them?

For official transcripts (as required for all collegiate eligibility waiver requests), documentation may be provided in the form of a sealed (unopened) copy of your official transcripts, a fax from your university's registrar's office (with clear understanding in the transmission line that this is where the transcript has originated from), or, where available, an encrypted e-mail from the registrar's office. To have a collegiate eligibility waiver request considered, you must provide official transcripts from all colleges/universities of attendance. The Collegiate Eligibility Committee will not accept unofficial records or printouts of your class schedule, nor will it accept opened transcripts.

My waiver request was denied. What now?

Players who believe their due process was violated my file an appeal within seven (7) days of receiving their denial, though no later than five (5) days preceding an event for which eligibility is requested. Appellate cases are not a retrial of your case; they are a review of the process by which your case was handled. You may not introduce new evidence and/or new arguments during the appeals process unless it relates to your right to due process. To make an appeal, you must submit your appeal case and $50.00. If the original ruling is overturned by appeal, the $50.00 will be returned to you.

How do I contact USA Rugby?

You may contact USA Rugby by e-mailing the National Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by dialing 720-508-8011. Please note that call and message volume fluctuates.

Download 2013-14 College Eligibility FAQS