Open Letter to College Players on Dues Increase

Open Letter to College Players on Dues Increase

September 11, 2019


As your club prepares to play rugby this fall, I wanted to shed some light on the increased fees that some of you have already seen or will see when you register with USA Rugby as a player, coach, admin, etc.

The National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) has an agreement in place with USA Rugby (USAR) to provide a national championship structure and national all-star programs for clubs at small colleges across the country. In past years NSCRO would charge dues per club. NERFU would use the money we collected locally each year and pay NSCRO directly on a club's behalf.

For the 2018-19 season, NSCRO charged $150 per club and NERFU paid the dues for 30 clubs which totaled $4,500. During this span (2018-19) NERFU had 1,100 college players register, so the fee per player worked out to be $4.07.

For the 2019-20 season, NSCRO has a new agreement with USA Rugby that allows them to charge dues directly per player. NSCRO is charging $15 per player- this is why players are seeing a significant increase in cost when they register. If NERFU has approximately 1,100 college players again this year, NSCRO will increase its funding from $4,500 to $16,500, this is an increase of 275%.

I voiced my concern over the dramatic increase in costs to both Steve Cohen of NSCRO and at an open forum at a recent USA Rugby leaders meeting to no avail. To try to offset some of this new burden, NERFU has decreased college player's dues by $5 this year to $25. The balance of the money NERFU collects is spent on providing such services as: stipends for players who travel outside the region for select-side play, reimbursing the costs associated with hosting playoff events (field rentals, refs, trainers, balls, etc), stipends to clubs who advance out of the region for playoffs, running a union-wide 15s all-star program, coach education reimbursement as well as all the administrative costs associated with running the competitions and our union.

It has been brought to my attention that players registering currently are not seeing the $5 reduction, we are currently working on this with USA Rugby and will work on ways to reimburse the clubs that have had their players charged too much. Also, NERFU does not charge coaches, refs or administrators any fees as these individuals are often registered already as a player somewhere else in the system and we felt it unfair to charge them extra fees. Any increase in dues coaches are seeing is coming from NSCRO and USA Rugby.

Lastly, I have clarified with USA Rugby that if a club does not wish to be a member of NSCRO they do not have to be, and that can be communicated to the USA Rugby membership office. Any club that decides to go that route can still take part in any NERFU competition, they just won't be eligible for playoffs. Players on non-NSCRO clubs can partake in the NERFU All-star program but would not be eligible to be selected for the NSCRO All-Star program.

While I have done my best to voice what I think is an unfair situation for our college programs, I have been advised by USA Rugby that if you are unhappy with the dues increase from NSCRO that a representative from your club should reach out directly to NSCRO to voice those concerns. A list of NSCRO contacts can be found on their governance page on their website.

-Lori Staples

President | NERFU