Jonesboro (RugbyMag.com) - Matt Huckaby and the Red Wolves Rugby team had their best season in Division 1 in 2010, advancing to the Big Four. They'll continue to compete against the nation's rugby powers as they'll leave Division 1 play to head to the College Premier League.
Thirty-one college teams have received official invitations to join the new College Premier League to begin play in Spring, 2011.
USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville sent the teams invitations over the weekend.
The 31 teams will be divided into four conferences - Pacific, West, South and East. The teams are expected to play an intra-conference schedule only until playoff time, with the top two from each conference moving on to the quarterfinals.
The regular season is set to begin the first Saturday of March and will conclude the final Saturday of April, with postseason play to begin May 7. This schedule means the league does not compete directly with USA Rugby's regular DI college playoff schedule.
Notable among the teams invited is Life University, which has not yet played an undergraduate season, but plans to starting this fall. The Running Eagles have several All Americans nonetheless and are expected to compete well. Also notable is Arizona State, which just recently earned promotion to DI.
Notable also is Army, whose Director of Rugby, Rich Pohlidal, is a vocal advocate of fall-only play for college rugby.
The only teams in the RUGBYMag.com Top 25 who are not in the list of 32 invitees are Syracuse, Florida and Georgia, all teams that had particularly good years in 2009-2010, and haven't yet established long-term playoff success.
The lineup below is not completely settled, because teams have to reply to USA Rugby with an affirmation that they will abide by competition rules, an affirmation that has to be signed by a school representative as well as a team representative.
Potential College Premier League Alignment: