Friday, March 18, 2016

College Top Ten: Life Moves Up, St. Mary's Falls

There are some changes to our College Top Ten. Life moves to the number two spot while previous number two St. Mary's drops to fourth. Cal can make some moves this weekend if they beat UBC while Lindenwood and Central Washington also have tough matches.

1. BYU (Last Week: 1; beat St. Mary's 60-15, beat Army 71-10): The Cougars followed up their big win over St. Mary's with an even bigger win over Army. BYU simply looks unstoppable at this point. They are so solid from top to bottom and Kevin Schofield and Calvin Whiting are having outstanding seasons. BYU has now beat St. Mary's twice, Central Washington, Army, and Air Force all by big margins. At this point it only looks like Cal can challenge them. Up next: Weber State

2. Life (LW: 4; beat Arkansas State 32-15): We've moved Life up to the number two spot with a set of impressive results over Davenport, Arkansas State, and Lindenwood. With not a lot of competition in the southeast there were some questions as to how Life would perform but they have put all of those concerns to rest. Up next: Lindenwood

3. Cal (LW: 3; Bye): Since we last had rankings Cal beat St. Mary's before taking the weekend off. That win over the Gaels was a big one and it shows where the Bears are at this year. They will have another big challenge this weekend as they take on UBC in the second leg of the World Cup in Vancouver. Up next: UBC

4. St. Mary's (LW: 2; beat Utah 57-50, lost to BYU 60-15): A late flight to Utah and then a back and forth match against the Utes sapped much of St. Mary's energy against the Cougars. While the Gaels did some positive things they still picked up the loss. The team is going on a tour of New Zealand that will hopefully give them some momentum. Up next: New Zealand Tour

5. Lindenwood (LW: 6; beat Davenport 18-12): The Panthers made the Lions work for it but it's a win over Lindenwood all the same. Of all the teams in the country it's looking like only Lindenwood or Central Washington can crack the top four. Up next: Life

6. Central Washington (LW: 5; Bye): After their loss to BYU earlier in the month the Wildcats have had time off. They will face one of their biggest challenges this next weekend as they play the University of Victoria. Up next: UVic

7. Indiana (LW: 10; beat Wheeling Jesuit 44-17): Indiana continue to fly under the radar but they are playing really well at the moment. They beat another varsity program and continue to move toward the DI-A playoffs. Up next: Bye

8. UCLA (LW: 9; beat Utah 36-34): The Bruins picked up a big win over Utah last weekend. The side of the Varsity cup bracket with Central Washington, Utah, UCLA, and Air Force is going to be fun. Up next: Bye

9. Utah (LW: 7; lost to St. Mary's 57-50, lost to UCLA 36-34): A pair of tough close losses for the Utes. They would have liked to have had a win but it's plenty of experience ahead of the Varsity Cup. Up next: Army

10. AIC (LW: 8; Bye): AIC have been focusing on 7s and will be disappointed to be upset but Utah at the CRC qualifier. 


  1. BYU should be unstoppable when they're allowed to have 30 year old locks like Nic Purcell play. The guy was in the professional rugby set up in NZ, came to the USA to play football but was ruled ineligible to play due to his rugby involvement in NZ. But he can play college rugby in the US, the same sport that caused him to be ineligible to play NCAA football? So when you have 30 year old semi pro's playing against college kids your team should be unstoppable. What a joke.

  2. I had never heard of Nic Purcell, but that sounded so unfair that I went looking for the facts. You might try it sometime before smearing a guy for the whole world to see on the Internet. There was NO "professional" rugby in NZ. He played for a couple of casual clubs. He was not ineligible for NCAA football because of rugby. It was because he played a couple of games of American Football for free in a weekend league in NZ. You did get one fact right. He is indeed 30 years old. A 30 year-old playing against 18 year-olds is questionable enough without having to bring in all the other lies and half-truths, don't you think?

  3. Sugar coat it all you want. I said he played in a professional rugby set up in NZ, not played professionally. He played provincial rugby in NZ, and those teams feed to the Super Rugby teams. He also played for Waikato development side, which also feeds to the Super Rugby franchise. Get your facts straight, those are not "casual clubs", don't you think?

    1. You buried the lead on the Purcell story. Forget "semi-pro" rugby in NZ. He played PRO FOOTBALL in the NFL, though admittedly he didn't make the final roster. Obviously that still counts. Are there no eligibility rules in the Varsity Cup at all?

    2. According to the NCAA, you can play all the professional sports you want, just not in the sport you wish to compete in. I know of at least one college basketball player that was playing professional baseball while still competing in college basketball.

      So a college rugby player may play professional golf, football, basketball, baseball, tiddly-winks, whatever and still be eligible to play college rugby.

      Or are you saying that the NFL plays rugby?

    3. Turns out USA Rugby has even less strict rules than the NCAA. Here are the rules:

      4.3.i:"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. The only exception would be for an approved in-season temporary Elite Player transfer"

      So if you play for the Eagles or one of the new Pro Rugby clubs in this summer, you are completely free to compete in college rugby this fall or a year from now since the previous summer is not considered part of the "current academic year". That starts in the fall and your professional rugby playing would be over by then.

      And you are worried about the NFL or in Nic's case a few rugby games several years ago in NZ?

  4. Replies
    1. I honestly can't see anything wrong with a professional athlete competing as an amateur in a sport different from the one he's getting paid for. A 30-year-old competing against 18 year-olds, however, is something else.

      But there is a reason for that. The rules used to be that essentially as long as you were in college, you had five years you could compete as an athlete. USAR tightened the rules a few years ago to say that after high school you have seven years to play five. Exceptions can be made on a case-to-case basis for service in the military. However when the rules were changed, anyone who was then playing under the old rules were "grandfathered in" and could continue to be eligible under the old rules.

      Nic Purcell and the handful of players like him are the last gasp of the old rules. Once they are gone, the days of 30 year-olds competing in college rugby will for all intents and purposes be over.