Baylor Rugby Alumni:
We wanted to take the opportunity to update you on where we stand currently and where we are moving in the future. The student leaders have worked diligently over the last month with guidance and counsel from the Coaches to develop a plan of action that we believe is going to springboard Baylor Rugby into success both on and off the field.
We have officially given the SWC notice that we will not participate in any conference activities effective immediately. This has been a feat that required all hands on deck to manage the various communications back and forth to date. Nicks father-in-law and wife did a tremendous amount of work putting together and documenting the communication time lines so we have a file to work from should we need. In addition Nicks FIL spoke with the Baylor Attorney and was able to give us some feedback which was helpful for the Exec in their decision making. BU was hopeful we would make the right choice and avoid any further contact with the SWC. Nick and I have had multiple conversations with local, state and national key rugby stakeholders and used their advice to help lend support to the Exec.
We initially contemplated dropping to DII and spending a couple of seasons rebuilding. Doing so would achieve the overall goal; however, our NCAA status as a University would have limited us to just State level competition, we would not have been eligible for any USARFU competition beyond State. In addition DII was a full 15’s season for fall and spring. In addition, once we attained success in DII making the jump to DI would have essentially meant another “rebuilding” time as we learned how to play up to level of the DI teams.
After having discussions with the ARC, seeing the 7’s format for the fall and the 15’s format for the spring we were very encouraged. In addition, the methodology for managing the conference, the transparency and the desire for the conference to be directed by both coaches and student leaders really pushed us over the edge in terms of decision making. The BU Rugby decision was fully vetted and made by your student leaders on the Exec. Nick and I gave our thoughts and advice but really allowed Brent, Sebastian and Stormy to step up to the plate and determine what they thought would be best for both short and long term gains. Nick and I fully support their decision and are exceptionally pleased that they have the confidence in us as Coaches as well as confidence in themselves as players that we will be competitive in D1 rugby. This decision actually suits our strengths and weakness’ very well. Most of our returning players are back line guys which allows us to be immediately competitive in the 7’s season. In addition, it allows us to recruit and train new players through the fall for the forwards / backs as well as focus on fundamentals of 15’s play. Doing this will allow us to have better cohesiveness and we believe will be safer for the inexperienced players. We will have several months of practice under our belt instead of the normal “you joined last Friday… you’re playing prop against OU this Friday”!
Nick and/or Josh will attend a 7’s coaching certification class in the near future so that we are better prepared from a coaching standpoint. In addition, Nick and I are both contacting a couple of very experienced 7’s players from Austin and Fort Worth to come in and help us develop strategy, participate in a couple of practices etc. Several of these 7’s players have played for the USA Eagles and have a wealth of knowldege that will help both the team and the coaches.
From a marketing and brand perspective the ARC is going to get BU Rugby (and the other teams) significant exposure. Games will be pod cast and in some instances will be live web cast. I also believe that we may very well have a shot at playing in the CRC on NBC – it’s an invitational tournament and the rivalries between the ARC Schools (UT, TAMU, OU, BU, SHSU and TT) have huge marketability for them, which is what they are basing their invitations on…. however, one thing at a time!
Lastly, and anecdotally – I was on the ARC Board call this week. We were deciding on venue for the ARC Championships and several of the venues that had men’s clubs hosting us refused to host unless they could sell alcohol. One location was the professional soccer stadium in Frisco – what a venue to play in!! It was a unanimous vote that the ARC would absolutely not have anything to do with any club or venue that required alcohol to be involved with youth and collegiate rugby. The fact that the entire group of coaches immediately agreed was a breath of fresh air – this really set the standard for me and let me know that Craig & Johnny are going to be running the ARC and holding teams accountable for all the right things and helping us build our respective images on our campus’. The ARC views these events as marketing/recruiting and family events to strengthen and retool the image of the sport as a whole and for the individual teams.
On behalf of your Coaches and the Exec, we are looking forward to helping guide and lead Baylor Rugby back to what you all worked so hard to set the standard for. As you know it takes much hard work and diligence. In our opinion when you see Baylor Rugby step on the pitch this year, you will without a doubt recognize the class, pride and competitiveness that this team will have… much like a group of guys had about 10 years or so ago… which was the key to their eventual success.
Nick, Josh, Brent, Sebastian & Stormy