The National Small College Rugby Organization (pronounced “N”-SCRO) was co-founded by Steve Cohen and Chip Auscavitch in 2007 to organize the Division 3 and Division 4 college rugby national playoff system. These championships have become a vital part in developing collegiate rugby in the U.S. There are over 220 men's and women's teams in these Divisions.
In 2002 the men’s and then in 2003 the women’s championships were created and managed by Steve Cohen independent from an established organization. They were known as the "East Coast Collegiate Division 3 Championships". As additional teams and unions expressed interest in participating, NSCRO was created and the name was changed to the "NSCRO National Championship". The NSCRO playoffs provide an opportunity for both small and new college rugby clubs to expand their playing experience to clubs they would otherwise not play in a meaningful competition on what coaches tell me is “level playing field”. By travelling to playoff events outside of their area, the players learn to work together to raise money, make travel arrangements, and have other responsibilities. These team-building skills help to develop these student-players as young adults, as well as making new “rugby” friends they may otherwise never meet.
NSCRO believes that all collegiate rugby clubs should play at the competitive level (division) that is right for their program regardless of their institution’s enrollment size. This is one of the ways a club can improve by sustaining interest of current players and attracting prospective members to their club. Many of the top finishing clubs in past NSCRO playoffs have moved up to Division 2.
Since NSCRO was formed its goal has been to continually better the "stage" for players to showcase their talents. We found excellent hosts for our Men’s National Championship event at Wake Forest University in 2007, Hamilton College in 2008 and the South Jersey RFC in 2009. In 2010 and again in 2011 we 'raised the bar' with the use of the outstanding Virginia Beach Sportsplex Stadium. In 2011, we added "live streaming" of all matches as well as post-event DVD production. For 2012, we have taken 2 additional major steps forward in raising the profile of Small College Rugby by holding the National Championship event at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado and by providing National television coverage of the semifinal matches by FOX Sports. During the live web streaming of this year’s National Championship matches, it is estimated that well over 5000 persons were watching at gatherings from as few as 2 people to over 200.
What people are saying about NSCRO!
“Thanks for all the hard work. The foresight, attention to detail, and the execution were all top notch. Everyone I ran into from spectators at the field and on-line to players and administrators had only great compliments for the NSCRO event and NSCRO. Good job.”
– Steven Hiatt, Head Coach, California Maritime Academy RFC
“Congrats on a great season and for all you do. The competition has really energized tiny Eckerd (800 male students) and even the administrators I've talked to now see the possibilities of rugby being a marquee sport and a branding opportunity. The boys also know how close they came to having a magical season and enjoyed living vicariously through the University of North Florida, knowing they had them beaten twice in Florida RU league play before letting them off the ropes. They know with a bit more dedication, they can go far.”
– Paul Mabry, Executive Director, Rugby Texas (Paul has a son who plays for Eckerd)
“We all agreed that you put on a fine national championship! It was a weekend no one will ever forget.”
– Jill Mross, Parent of University of North Florida player
“I was impressed by how professional the entire weekend was. Everything was great -- the stadium, the commentating, the fans, the teams, and without reservation, the games. All games that I saw were hard-fought and relatively close. It looked/felt/was a championship weekend.”
– Christina Yates, Parent of Cal Maritime Academy player
“I wanted to let you know that this was one of the best college sporting events I have attended. You did a fantastic job and everything was first class. It was really exciting to watch my son compete in such a great venue and I will fondly remember the experience. Even the fact that Franciscan wasn't able to walk away with the championship did not diminish the wonderful experience. You were a great host and I hope the Barons make it to the final four again next year so i can make a return trip.Thanks for your hospitality and we all appreciate the time and effort you've spent to put division 3 college rugby on the map.”
– Greg McClelland, Parent of Franciscan University player
“Thank you for all your effort in hosting a superb and first-class championship. The team returned home and was met by local TV stations at the airport. Additionally, the team received a Police escort through the city of Newport, RI upon their return to campus. Our President will also give recognition to the team, particularly the seniors; during this year’s commencement ceremony and today I’m headed to our Board of Trustees meeting with our captains in tow to share the team’s accomplishments.”
– Colin Sullivan, Athletic Director, Salve Regina University
“I cannot thank you enough for organizing the Small College National Championship. Everyone affiliated with Franciscan University; players, parents, fans, Fr. Terry, Chris Ledyard and myself were very impressed with the weekend and how well organized everything was!! We were honored to be a part of this experience and hopefully proved that we did belong in the Final 4. I was really impressed with all 4 teams that made it to Glendale this year, what great programs!”
– Mark Hanrahan, Head Coach, Franciscan University RFC
Joyfulness – Salve Regina University after Winning the 2012 NSCRO Championship
Photo Courtesy of Marc Williams (www.onthemarcphotography.com)
NSCRO Website - visit www.nscro.org for the latest in small college rugby news.
The hits keep on coming! Our website was first established in early 2008. However, consider this…in early March 2012, we had approx. 10,000 hits. On April 11, we reached 20,000. On Friday, April 27 the day before the National Championships, we had made it to 30,000. On Monday April 30, we reached 37,000. As of Monday, May 14 we have passed 41,100 hits. That’s 30,000 hits in just 2 months.
I have always been pleased about the interest NSCRO has generated, but this year it is over the top. I hope it is clear to all….there is nothing small about small college rugby!
NSCRO Playoff Eligible Clubs
Our playoff system served 151 men’s D3 collegiate rugby clubs for 2011-12. These clubs had approximately 4500 players enrolled in USA Rugby’s CIPP membership program. For 2012-13, we expect this number to increase. The average full-time male undergraduate enrollment these schools had was approx. 1900. Please read our Team Eligibility Policy found in the Documents section of the NSCRO website to fully understand which clubs are eligible for the NSCRO playoffs.
Additionally, in 2011 we served 59 women’s D3 and 22 women’s D4 clubs.
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