Eligibility

Section 4. COLLEGIATE CLUB

(Effective September 1, 2014)

4.1 Definitions.

Academic Year
An annual period during which a student attends a college or university beginning with the first day of the fall semester or quarter and ending at the conclusion of the USA Rugby national championship event.
Academic Term
An academic session that is a division of the Academic Year. This includes a quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer) and a semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).
College Rugby
Rugby played by players who are enrolled in a college or university. These teams would be registered with USA Rugby as ‘Collegiate Clubs’.
Graduate Program
A student may compete while enrolled in a full-time graduate program as defined by the institution provided the provisions of USAR 4.3-(c) have been met.
Qualifying Match
Any match in which the result is used to determine official competition standings and/or to determine qualification for the national championship tournament.
Under 18
Being under 18 years of age.
Under 19
Being under 19 years of age.

4.2 Collegiate Team Eligibility.

  1. Each team must be recognized and in good standing with USA Rugby.
    1. For purposes of this rule, for a college team to be in good standing with USA Rugby, and therefore, eligible to participation in sanctioned competition:
      1. Team must be registered in the current year’s CIPP, with all dues fully paid.
      2. Team must have a registered coach certified by USA Rugby.
      3. Team must have a Roster minimum of twelve (12) players for sevens competitions and fifteen (15) players for fifteens competitions.
  2. Each team must be in good standing with the college/university and the conference or regional governing body of which it is a member.
  3. Each team may carry an unlimited number of student-‐athletes on its roster.
  4. Consortium agreements between universities will be recognized by USA Rugby provided there is an academic connection between the universities, they are in reasonable geographic proximity, and:
    1. There is a formal academic connection between the universities by which the student is considered to be enrolled on a full-time basis by the home Institution (the college fielding the rugby team). This status MUST be verified by the Registrar on the USA Rugby Roster form, prior to the student participating in any League/Qualifying match for the school. The player is considered to be ineligible for any League/Qualifying match for the school until this status has been confirmed by means of Registrar written or stamped approval. OR,
    2. There is a written agreement in place for all recreational club sports.

4.3 College Student-Athlete Eligibility

In order to participate in any Qualifying Match, and in any National Collegiate Championship, the student-‐athlete must meet all of the following eligibility criteria at the time of competition:

  1. The student-‐athlete must be enrolled full-‐time as an undergraduate in their first degree or certificate seeking program and in good-standing, as defined by the university or college registrar, to be eligible to participate in their respective University of College rugby program.
  2. A student-‐athlete within his/her final two undergraduate Academic Terms may carry less than a full-time academic load and still maintain eligibility. This is only permitted if the student-‐athlete is a graduating senior and a letter from the Registrar confirming such status is obtained.
  3. A student-athlete may maintain eligibility after completing and/or receiving an undergraduate degree provided the student-athlete is enrolled full-time in a post-graduate studies program (pursuance of an additional Bachelor’s Degree, graduate or professional school) at the same or at a different institution from that issuing the baccalaureate degree provided the student-athlete still falls within all other collegiate eligibility standards AND received his or her baccalaureate degree from an institution in the United States; AND is in good standing with USA Rugby and with the institution.

    For purposes of this Bylaw, ‘in good standing’ indicates criteria in USAR 2.5 have been met, the player has no disciplinary or financial issues with their GU/LAU/Conference and is deemed eligible to compete for the team by the institution at which the player is enrolled.
  4. A student-‐athlete competing for an institution utilizing the quarter system is eligible through the National Championships of that Academic Year if he/she graduated at the end of the winter quarter. This requires a letter from the registrar confirming such status.
  5. Every student-‐athlete has seven years in which s/he may compete a maximum of five (5) years:
    1. The seven-year period for College Rugby Eligibility begins in the Academic Year immediately following high school graduation date or the graduation date of his or her class (as determined by the first year of high school enrollment) or based on the prescribed educational path in the student athletes country.
    2. There are no exemptions or exceptions to this seven-year window for college rugby eligibility.
  6. A student is eligible to receive a waiver to compete in his/her sixth (6th) year following high school graduation upon submission of a waiver request, accompanied by official college transcripts and verification of the date of high school graduation prior to the start of each competitive cycle to the College Eligibility Committee.
  7. A student is eligible to receive a waiver to compete in his/her seventh (7th) year following high school graduation upon submission of a waiver request, accompanied by official college transcripts and verification of the date of high school graduation prior to the start of each competitive cycle to the College Eligibility Committee.
  8. The student--athlete must play on the team representing the school in which he/she is enrolled.
  9. The student--athlete must not have played in a Qualifying Match for any other collegiate team or senior club at any level during the current Academic Year.

4.3.1 Amateurism

Student-‐athletes must meet and remain in compliance with all applicable amateur standards. A student-‐athlete is not eligible for participation in collegiate rugby if they have ever taken pay for competing in any form of rugby.

  1. Prize money based on place finish or performance in an open event from the sponsor of the event is permissible provided the amount of prize money did not exceed the actual and necessary expenses to participate in the event.
  2. A school, team or organization may provide actual and necessary expenses to players provided the expenses are a reasonable amount for travel, lodging, meals, apparel and equipment. This includes per diem offered during participation with recognized USA Rugby national and representative team assemblies and player win bonuses offered during participation with the USA Rugby National Team.

4.3.2 Collegiate Eligibility Grandfather Clause.

These regulations apply to all student athletes participating in USA Rugby’s collegiate competition beginning with the 2012/2013 competition cycle. However, a student athlete who competed in the 2011/2012 competitive cycle as an eligible participant who has his/her eligibility status adversely affected by the new regulations may choose to complete his/her eligibility under the prior eligibility regulation 4.2(a):

Student is within five (5) years of the moment the player first enrolled in a university, college or junior college, regardless of when the player started playing rugby or had the ability to start playing collegiate rugby. Any college courses that are taken during high school do not start the eligibility clock.

No other section of the prior eligibility regulations will be considered in determining student athlete eligibility including any eligibility extensions as defined in prior regulation 13.5.2(a).

4.4 Collegiate Student-Athlete Players Under 18.

An Under 18 college student-athlete should not play in any College Rugby match, in positions other than front row (but including all positions in rugby sevens), unless the following are obtained:

  1. Written agreement from the Under 18 player to play College Rugby and acceptance of any associated risk with playing with older players who may be stronger and more physically developed;
  2. Written parental or legal guardian’s consent;
  3. Written confirmation from a coach, with anappropriate understanding of the physical attributes required of and, the risks to players in College Rugby and to whom the player is known, that the player has the requisite skills and experience to play College Rugby; and
  4. Such other consents agreements or confirmations (if any) as may be required by the player’s GU or Conference or to comply with the local jurisdiction.

4.5 Collegiate Student-Athlete Front Row Players Under 19.

An Under 19 college student-athlete should not play in any College Rugby match in the front row unless the following are obtained:

  1. Written agreement from the player in writing to play College Rugby in the front row and acceptance of any associated risk of playing with Adults who may be stronger and more physically developed than the player;
  2. If the player is Under 18, written parental or guardian' consent;
  3. Written confirmation from a coach with an appropriate understanding of the physical attributes required of and the risks to players in the front row in College Rugby and to whom the player is known that the player has the requisite skills and experience to play College Rugby in the front row; and
  4. Such other consents or confirmations (if any) as may be required by the player’s GU or College Conference, or to comply with the local jurisdiction.

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