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Iowa Central Appeal Denied: Bumped Up To DIAA

College Men

Iowa Central Appeal Denied: Bumped Up To DIAA

Iowa Central Community College has been notified that if the men's rugby team wants to play in the playoffs, it will have to be in DIAA.

The Tritons made the national DII semis last year, playing as an independent. But did not join a conference for this season. The team was invited to join the Great Midwest by Conference Commissioner Todd Streeter, but delayed in accepting because, according to Head Coach Brent Nelson, the team had committed to some away games with Division IA and IAA opponents and wanted to work out how to follow the Great MW season without reneging on previous commitments.

That process took long enough that in April Streeter instead invited Northwestern. NU accepted, and then had to back out due to disciplinary issues on campus, and so Western Illinois was invited, and accepted.

This fall, Streeter, who also chairs USA Rugby's D2 Men's College Competition Committee, submitted to the committee to move Iowa CCC to DIAA. Streeter told Goff Rugby Report this was because Iowa CCC had chosen to play as an independent (as opposed to being forced to in 2018-19), and has chosen to fill that schedule with DIA and DIAA opposition. After the D2 Committee voted to move Iowa CCC to DI (Streeter abstained), the USA Rugby Collegiate Committee voted 7-1 to move Iowa CCC to DIAA. (A previous version of this article misstated Streeter's role in USA Rugby committees. It has been corrected)

The Tritons appealed, and after a long process, over a month, the appeal was denied, and Iowa Central CC will now be considered a DIAA team.

"We are disappointed in the decision of USA Rugby to move us out of DII after the season has begun," Nelson told Goff Rugby Report. "I really can't think of a time in sports where this has occurred."

Nelson has said before that he thinks the move is about his team being varsity, and too good, but added that there are other varsity programs in DII. Streeter said being varsity isn't the issue.

"We could get into the challenges and advantages of our program, but ultimately we asked to move along the competitive pathway in a sustainable manner. Iowa Central rugby is in the middle of only its 4th competitive year. We have moved up a division every year until this one."

Nelson said he had wanted to schedule some major DII teams—"schools with a strong competitive history, serious alumni support, and even some school-sponsors programs; teams very similar to us"—but the conference schedules are pretty packed and it was difficult. 

So, concluded Nelson, "we will circle the wagons and get our kids ready to play. Love us or hate us we're going to keep knocking down doors and busting through ceilings. At the end of the day we're giving young people a unique opportunity to play collegiate-level rugby."

Iowa Central now will have to hope that the team gets an at-large bid into the DIAA playoffs, which begin in two weeks. That is not a sure thing, but the results for both Iowa Central CC and Lindenwood-Belleville, the other independent DIAA team, indicate they have a case:

 

Iowa Central CC Results This Season:
Aug. 31: Iowa Central CC 79-5 Wisconsin
Sept. 7: Iowa Central CC 56-0 Iowa State
Sept. 11: Iowa Central CC 72-7 Lindenwood-Belleville
Sept. 21: Iowa Central CC 33-52 Davenport
Sept. 29: Iowa Central CC 22-20 Notre Dame College
Oct. 5: Iowa Central CC Forfeit over U. Arkansas
Oct. 9: Iowa Central CC 16-33 Lindenwood-Belleville
Oct. 12: Iowa Central CC Forfeit over Northern Iowa
Oct. 19: Iowa Central CC 35-10 Minnesota
Oct. 26: Iowa Central CC 0-56 Lindenwood

Lindenwood-Belleville Results This Season:
Sept. 7 Lindenwood-Belleville 28-12 Illinois
Sept. 11 Lindenwood-Belleville 7-72 Iowa Central CC
Sept. 14: Lindenwood-Belleville 60-10 Wisconsin
Sept. 21: Lindenwood-Belleville 39-14 U. Arkansas
Sept. 30: Lindenwood-Belleville 41-0 Purdue
Oct. 9: Lindenwood-Belleville 33-16 Iowa Central CC
Oct. 12: Lindenwood-Belleville 36-5 University of Iowa
Oct. 19: Lindenwood-Belleville 14-17 Kentucky

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