January 5, 2022

CRC Returns to New Orleans, Live on CBS Sports Network

5 January —National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) announced that the 2022 Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) will return to Gold Mine on Airline, in New Orleans, Louisiana, home of Major League Rugby’s NOLA Gold. The three-day tournament will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30.

Also known as May Madness 7s, the CRC is sanctioned by USA Rugby and open to teams across the country. NCR has reached a two-year agreement with CBS Sports for the 2022 and 2023 CRCs.

As the largest college rugby tournament in North America, the CRC will include over 100 teams, crowning collegiate national champions across five divisions and welcoming 24 youth teams from around the country:

  • 32 men’s and 16 women’s Premier Cup teams
  • 12 Division I club women’s teams
  • 12 Division I club men’s teams
  • 12 Division II club men’s teams
  • 12 Small College club men’s teams
  • 16 boy’s and 8 girl’s high school teams

Jeremy Treece, NCR CEO, commented, “The CRC is already the largest and best college rugby tournament in the country. We are excited to extend the tournament to include more teams, resume the youth brackets, and introduce even more ways for fans to engage with rugby 7s.”

The two-year agreement with CBS Sports includes six hours of live coverage of men’s and women’s matches on CBS Sports Network. In addition to CBS Sports, NCR will announce its streaming partner in the coming weeks.

The path to New Orleans will include a mix of conference-based qualifier tournaments, regionally-based automatic qualifiers and at-large bids awarded by a selection committee. The automatic qualifiers include:

  • University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN (March 26)
  • Boise State University, Boise, ID (April 2)
  • New England Freejacks’ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Boston, MA (April 2, men only)
  • Life University, Marietta, GA (April 9)  
  • Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma City, OK (April 23)
  • New England Freejacks’ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Boston, MA (April 30, women only)

The final brackets and seeding will be announced during a May 1 Selection Sevens Sunday event.

The 2022 tournament includes the May Madness Brackets Challenge, the first-ever brackets game for a college rugby 7s event. Launched in 2021, the Brackets Challenge provides even greater fan engagement and will offer a new pool feature that provides fundraising opportunities for clubs.

The event returns to NOLA Gold’s stadium after a successful 2021 tournament. Despite many colleges canceling their 2021 seasons due to COVID, the 2021 tournament included 56 teams across four divisions. In addition to the main stadium, the 2022 tournament will utilize four adjacent fields provided by NOLA Gold and Jefferson Parish.

“We are really happy to be back in New Orleans. NOLA Gold provides an MLR-caliber facility for our players and fans. And, the city of New Orleans offers so much interesting culture and fun for the rugby community,” added Treece.

Tim Falcon, Owner of MLR’s NOLA Gold, commented: "NOLA Gold is excited to once again host the CRC at our home, The Gold Mine at the Shrine on Airline. We encourage all rugby fans to make the trip to not only watch the exciting rugby but to visit the great tourist attractions in and around New Orleans."

Since its inception in 2010, the Collegiate Rugby Championship has regularly drawn over 20,000 fans and included national broadcast partnerships with NBC, ESPN, and now CBS Sports. NCR took ownership of the event in 2020, partnering with Rhino Rugby USA and Patrice Prusmack, wife of the late CRC founder Jon Prusmack, and plans to extend the tournament’s popularity with a new cohort of athletes and their fans.

To register their interest in the event, conferences and teams should contact NCR 7s Commissioner and Tournament Director Pat Clifton at sevens@ncr.rugby.

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