NCR 2020-2021 – Questions and Answers

How will things be different under NCR?

NCR is committed to its small college heritage and will continue to run our existing small college championship pathways.  Beginning in 2020, we will also add open divisions which will provide pathways for former men’s DIA, DIAA and DII and women’s DI and DII teams – from both small and large schools.

In addition, NCR has established an independent operating model and will now offer our members full insurance, a registration platform, and a competition management system.


How will the Fall season be affected by COVID-19?

Here is the latest NCR update.


Will players need to register with USA Rugby?

NCR will not mandate USA Rugby membership for our players. We understand that many of our  members are big fans of our national teams, and we are working with USA Rugby to provide optional membership and donation programs to support the national teams.


What insurance will be offered?

Details about insurance coverage for the 2020-21 season can be found on the insurance overview.


Why become a member with NCR this Fall?

NCR is here to serve its members as a professional membership organization. We’ve added some great new features for this Fall in addition to our many existing member benefits.  The Founders Discount offers a reduced membership rate for the 2020-2021 season.

As a member of NCR you have access to an exciting list of member benefits:

  • Contactless Fall Competitive season (new)
  • Administrator Toolbox with training on how to retain players during Covid and more (new)
  • Online Coaching Development partnership with MLR and NCR Coach collaboration (new)
  • Participant Accident and General Liability Insurance Coverage (new)
  • Collegiate Rugby Community engagement and interaction


When should I register?

Club, Coaches and Players need to be registered before they participate in training and matches.  If you want to participate in NCR activities you will need to be registered. If you register before September 30, 2020 your club membership fees are discounted by $400.  This discount is already applied to the Plan 2 Club registration option in the NCR Registration System.



What are the fees?

2020-21 NCR Membership Fees

(includes insurance and processing fees)

Plan 1 Plan 2
Club Fee $160 $1,300 
Player Fee $65 $20


What do the plans mean and how do they work?

The two plans are designed to accommodate teams who may receive direct funding from their schools and those who do not.  Also, teams who receive direct funding often find that while their school may pay for team/club dues they will not subsidize individual player dues.  

Plan 1

Designed for teams where the school will pay the team dues and the individual members pay the player dues.

Plan 2

Designed for teams who receive little support from the school and have to raise funds for all expenses.  This allows for teams to register and play for a minimal initial outlay.


How will the open division work?

The open divisions will be developed in partnership with our new conferences to ensure that each team participates in an appropriate competition structure. Depending on the type and number of teams that join NCR, there may be multiple championship pathways within the men’s and women’s open divisions.  For more information, please contact Brad Dufek (men) or Angela Smarto (women).

Midwest D1 Women’s Rugby Conference joins NCR

NCR would like to welcome the Midwest D1 Women’s Rugby Conference who are joining NCR in the fall. They are the first Women’s D1 conference to make the move to the new Women’s Open Division. The addition of strong D1 teams like the University of Minnesota who were a D1 Final Four team will require changes to the planned structure of the open division.

NCR Open Division Commissioner Angela Smarto commented, “We are trying to be inclusive, although adding the D1 teams requires the creation of an elite tier. We’re willing to do this in order to provide a new home for the D1’s while maintaining parity for the teams in the open division.”

The conference is made up of five teams from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Iowa State University
University of Iowa
University of Minnesota
University of Northern Iowa
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Current D2 Fall Champions Winona State will also compete in the conference in the fall.

NSCRO Rebrands to National Collegiate Rugby

NSCRO Rebrands to National Collegiate Rugby

College rugby has a long and storied history. Over the last 40 years, the game has evolved into a competitive sport on college campuses played by thousands of young men and women across the country. Since 2007, NSCRO has accelerated the on and off-field growth and development of 350 small college rugby teams, student-athletes and coaches.

Today, we are announcing the next evolution of college rugby.

We are excited to introduce National Collegiate Rugby (NCR), a new brand that will encompass a broad constituency of collegiate programs. The brand will be guided by the values inherent in rugby – teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship. Through the passion of our staff and the rugby community, NCR will continue to grow the game and create an unforgettable student-athlete experience.

We will continue to provide the same exceptional services to our small college teams as we welcome both new small and larger schools to the NCR family. The organization will expand to include additional services, including registration, insurance, a competition management system and much more. We are proud to have the continued long-term support of our top sponsor, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, as we work together to create a brighter future for collegiate rugby.

Under the NCR umbrella, the organization remains committed to positively impacting the lives of young adults and growing collegiate rugby.

We look forward to seeing everyone back on the pitch this fall.

Angela Smarto appointed as Commissioner of the new Women’s Open Division

National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) is proud to announce that Angela Smarto has been appointed as Commissioner of the new Women’s Open Division.

Smarto recently completed her seventh season as head coach of the Robert Morris University Women’s Rugby Club. She is in her third year serving as the Allegheny Rugby Union Women’s Collegiate Coordinator, previously serving four years as the union’s secretary and webmaster. She founded the union’s women’s all star program in 2017 which competes in various 15s and 7s events year round including the NSCRO All Star 7s Championship annually.

Smarto began her rugby career in Happy Valley playing for Penn State from 2007-2012, while also coaching the State College High School Girls Team from 2008-2012. Post-graduate Smarto was actively involved with the Pittsburgh Rugby Club and as president led the merger to the newly formed Pittsburgh Forge before retiring from senior rugby in 2019.

When asked to serve on NCR women’s staff, Smarto said “I was truly energized by the idea of creating something new. Working with Bryn Chivers to help guide the future of women’s collegiate rugby is something I am passionate about. I am happy to be in a place that matches my enthusiasm to support growth of the game.”

Smarto will now begin working with the Commissioners from Open Division conferences to establish a Competitions Committee to review current eligibility policies and the new competition structure. The Competitions Committee will develop the new playoff structure leading to the first Women’s Open Division National Championship scheduled for December 5-6.

Women’s Small College All Americans Named

National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) has announced a list of twenty-five student-athletes named to the Small College Women’s All-Americans for the 2019-20 season.

The selection committee worked with coaches around the country to identify the twenty-five exceptional women who make up this annual Small College Women’s All-Americans list. This year’s list is comprised of one freshman, three sophomores, eight juniors, twelve seniors and one graduate student.

Each player will be sent a All-American t-shirt and  medal in recognition of this honor.

Congratulations to the following women:

Player Team
Kylee Billings Minnesota State University Moorhead
Anika Blackman Albright College
Sydni Carpenter University of Findlay
Zoe Cockinos Salve Regina University
Alyssa Denger Ithaca College
Britni Ebert MiraCosta College
Anna Fleecs Wayne State College
Stephanie Franz Eckerd College
Heather Grabow University of Wisconsin – Platteville
Cecilia Hammond College of St. Benedict
Brook Hoesing Wayne State College
Olivia Hull College of St. Scholastica
Lauren Judkins Lee University
Nicole McCardle Endicott College
Tylea McCarthy-Walker SUNY Oswego
Jasmyn Nash Minnesota State University Moorhead
Isabelle Robinson Wayne State College
Cedar Sands Fairmont State University
Pam Sbarro University of Scranton
Trixie Jo Schlechter University of South Dakota
Grace Schreiber Colgate University
Leila Shokat Reed College
Emily Sion St. Bonaventure University
Amanda Steffins Angelo State University
Amanda Wisbeck Endicott College

Illinois Women’s Rugby Conference joins NCR

The Illinois Women’s Rugby Conference is proud to announce they are joining NCR for the Fall 2020 season. The five current D2 teams will compete in the newly formed Women’s Open Division this fall.

Northern Illinois University
Illinois State University
Southern Illinois University
University of Illinois
University of Southern Indiana
Western Illinois University

For more information on the conference comtact:
Shawn McKinney

Great Waters Women’s Rugby Conference joins NCR


The Great Waters Women’s Rugby Conference is proud to announce they are joining the NCR organization. The 15 conference members will be competing this fall in both the new women’s open competition and the NCR small college women’s competition.

Great Waters organized as an independent D2 conference in January 2012 with nine core teams in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 2014 five Chicago area teams joined the conference followed by Michigan Tech in 2018. The Conference has evolved into a mix of ten D2 schools and five NCR teams.

NCR aligns with the Great Waters Women’s Rugby Conference’s values on promoting and growing women’s college rugby, raising the status of college rugby within our university administrations, and providing the best possible experience for our student athletes.

The fifteen member schools voted unanimously at the Spring February 2020 Conference AGM to make the move.

DePaul University
Loyola University
Marquette University
Michigan Technological University
Northern Michigan University
Northwestern University
University of Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin La Crosse
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
University of Wisconsin Platteville
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin Stout
University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Great Waters Women’s Rugby Conference

“College women’s rugby… it’s all we do.”

Northern Lights D2 Men and Women Join NCR

The Northern Lights Conference is pleased to announce their commitment to joining the new National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) Open Division for its men’s and women’s D2 clubs beginning in Fall 2020. The Northern Lights Conference was formed in 2012 as the collegiate arm of the Minnesota Rugby Union. It includes 31 men’s and women’s teams competing at both the Small College and Division 2 levels.

This decision was overwhelmingly supported by a vote of collegiate membership after a task force, appointed by the Minnesota Union, engaged and interviewed multiple organizations in order to present side-by-side comparisons of their offerings at a collegiate meeting earlier this week.

“Our task force was committed to doing our due diligence and presenting all options to our teams as objectively as possible. In the end, NCR stood out as the organization with the most comprehensive plan that would allow our teams to play on a competitive national pathway without significant disruption in our seasonality or hybrid format” said Greg White, Men’s Commissioner. “The move to NCR is the best fit for all of our teams at this time”, Women’s Commissioner Rachel Hill adds, “We are excited where this move will take us.”

The Northern Lights membership includes:

Men’s Division 2 Women’s Division 2

Minnesota State University Mankato Minnesota State University Mankato

Minnesota State University Moorhead University of Minnesota Duluth

North Dakota State University North Dakota State University

South Dakota State University St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud State University University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota Winona State University

Winona State University

Men’s Small College Division Women’s Small College Division

Bemidji State University Bemidji State University

Carleton College Carleton College

Gustavus Adolphus College Gustavus Adolphus College

Macalester College Macalester College

St. John’s University College of Saint Benedict

St. Olaf College St. Olaf College

College of St. Scholastica College of St. Scholastica

University of St. Thomas Minnesota State University Moorhead

Southwest State University (Dev)

University of Minnesota Morris (Dev)