In areas where play is allowed, clubs may schedule their own matches (“friendlies”) but there will be no league matches or schedules. MAC 15s scheduling work is planned to resume in mid-May for the Fall. The MAC 7s Committee will be looking at the options as we approach summer.
About a month or two ago, we indicated that if we couldn’t play by 09/15/2020 the MAC season would be officially postponed…and it is. This isn’t a surprise to anyone, though.
As soon as we can begin a return to full contact practice and play WITH approval from Capital and the EPRU, the MAC reps will re-configure the schedules for – we hope – Spring 2021.
[Most of the leagues are specific to one GU, with the exception of D1M and D1W. However, there are also inter-state and intra-state issues that must considered before Capital and the EPRU can allow play.]
This is ONLY applicable for MAC play and NOT for friendlies (regional 15s, 7s, Touch):
- Any play/practice (MAC or friendly) is pending GU sanctioning a return to play
- MAC league play is postponed until further notice
- No league matches in September
- MAC, Capital, and EPRU will reevaluate on September 15 for October play
- Registration is not required until practices begin
- If play is opened up, we will have a three-week buffer for practices before games begin
- If a decision cannot be made on September 15, the Fall Season will be cancelled
- Conferences MAY cancel now and postpone until March
We are still under a suspension of play status. Both the Capital Rugby Union and the EPRU are not allowing game play – based on the various state guidelines – under further notice.
The coordinators are preparing schedules to begin play at some point. However, keep in mind that there will need to be a 3-week period of practice before games start.
The MAC 7s Committee is under discussion about a possible event or events. It is still too soon to see what clubs across the region (VA, DC, MD, PA) may be able to do. There may be other non-MAC events, but those are under the purview of the GUs or other groups.
However, USAR added (in their draft) the following: “Moving forward, as the sevens rugby season gets underway, teams and clubs are permitted to engage in local sevens activities in line with permission of local health officials and guided by the USA Rugby Return To Play Guidelines. While potential versions of play might be acceptable through the summer, no sanctioned national championship will occur.”
The key here is “…teams and clubs are permitted to engage in local sevens activities in line with permission of local health officials and guided by the USA Rugby Return to Play Guidelines.” Therefore, you must comply with both local guidelines and the specifics of USAR’s Return to Play. There are a lot of things to do in the latter, so read it.
Additionally, keep in mind that local health officials will follow their governor’s orders and others. Additionally, local parks and recs folks may opt for tighter restrictions and reservations may not be possible.
As an example: Virginia will be mostly moving to Phase 2 on Friday (with the notable exception of Richmond and Northern Virginia who will remain in Phase 1 for a bit longer). This will now allow gatherings of up to 50. BUT… that does not clear you from following USAR’s Return to Play Guidelines (as well as getting field permits).
Therefore, let’s be clear: As mentioned at some point in the last month, we are NOT going to tell you not to practice or play. However, you must comply with the above (as stated by USAR) AND can show proof of compliance (forms, etc.), you don’t have USAR liability coverage. No coverage. Zero.
The bottom line: if you choose to go practice and play, assign responsible people in your club to track all of the needed items (like player verifications).
The MAC Committee met tand discussed both 7s and 15s.
As most of you know, USAR will announce something around June 1. IF we get an “all clear” by USAR, we still have a number of other bodies that must do similarly: the states, the localities, and local Parks and Rec (to re-open fields to contact sports). Assuming 7s can start, there will likely be a compressed schedule of 1 or 2 MAC events (and there might be other local events, of course).
Teams will be contacted over the next week about Fall scheduling.
The draft schedules should be completed by your coordinator by June 15, checked with that division’s teams, and set by June 30.
Although we will use the tacit assumption of starting as normal, we STILL may have the re-opening issue that we have with 7s. We need to allow for maximum flexibility if (a) we can’t start on time OR (b) play gets held up AFTER we’ve started because of a second (or third) virus wave. Flexibility means sliding weekends if suspension of play happens. We also must consider a few (2-3) weeks of pre-season practice. Thus, we will ask that no “bye” weekends be requested unless there is no option; each division may reserve a weekend or two for everyone in that division (as both a bye weekend and a makeup slot).
We WILL plan on MAC Championships – for the divisions that play semis and a final – on May 1, 2021.
We do NOT know about USAR Championships yet; the new USAR bylaws and structure were just approved last weekend (Sat, May 9) and the new USAR Senior Club Community group will be reforming the Competitions Committee. There are other discussions going on to try to get playoff rounds closer (regionally) but all of this will take a while to work out… as well as a change in the Competitions software for rosters and match reporting. This will be a busy summer.
From USAR, “All sanctioned competition and rugby activities are suspended for the foreseeable future, effective March 20, 2020. Members and clubs are asked to refrain from match play, training or team gatherings during this period. Accident and Liability insurance will not be valid during the above window of time. Information on when rugby activities will be able to resume will be communicated by USA Rugby.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be suspending all MAC matches for the next few weeks. On Monday, April 13, we will provide an update on the status of match play.
We do not know what this means yet for our conference games, the MAC playoffs, or the National Championships. This depends on local, regional, and national issues.
If you have matches scheduled for the next few weeks, please let your referees know.
MAC and Capital had its first query on Tuesday regarding COVID-19 and whether there were currently any plans to alter the Spring rugby season. As most of you know, games have been played throughout the country in the last few weeks (including the west coast, Savannah, Frontier region, etc.).
For the near future, games will go on until state and/or local government authorities declare a shutdown of facilities or movement.
We have not received anything substantive from the USAR National Office on this issue, although the National Competitions Committee is considering a procedure. However, any policy is likely to be regionally based.
Players should not put others at risk (clearly) if they are ill, and clubs should recognize any issues they have.
Keep in mind that makeup games may or may not be possible for some brackets due to the crowded schedule. There is no information if the National Championships will be changed to allow for changes in the schedules. If there are MAC match cancellations, Easter Weekend (Saturday) will need to be in play for makeups, if necessary. If a match is canceled, we will likely record them as 0-0 cancellations until things are sorted out. Finally, the May 2nd MAC Championship event is still too far out to speculate on its status.
The USAR 15s Eastern playoffs:
Saturday/Sunday, May 16-17 (quarters/semis for most; semis only for some, like D1M)
Location: Temple U. (Ambler Field)
The USAR 15s National Championships:
Sunday, May 31 (one game championship for all divisions)
(Sunday event due to venue availability)
Location: Charlotte, NC
Technical Zone. Effective immediately, USA Rugby requires that all Senior Club Rugby Qualifying Matches must adhere to the Technical Zone field set up as detailed by USA Rugby’s Technical Zone Document: https://assets.usa.rugby/docs/club/Technical-Zone-Policy.pdf?v=1576414329758. MAC extends this policy to describe local sanctions. If the home club fails to establish and adhere to the Technical Zones appropriately, the assigned referee has the right to abandon the match. Referees and Clubs may also report Technical Zones issues to the MAC coordinators. Clubs found to be out of compliance may be subject to a match forfeit.
Qualification on appeals. Members, individuals, and clubs aggrieved by a decision, determination, or ruling by the MAC competition committee or concerning any MAC policy regarding matches or other competition matters shall have the right to file a protest of the decision. The MAC Competitions Committee will not hear protests that are on the basis of (1) a club disagreement or protest on who the assigned referee is or (2) for an incorrect referee interpretation, call, or judgment.
The MAC Club Championships will be held on May 2nd, 2020 at Wilkes-Barre, PA. This will include Men (D1, D2, D3, and D4) and Women (D2 and D3).
Location: Forty Fort Borough Sports Complex (Camryn Way Forty-Fort, PA18704). From North or South I-81: Take Exit 170 to 309N Cross Valley Expwy to Exit 4: Kingston/Forty Fort, bear Rt toward Forty Fort Rutter Ave. First stop sign turn left onto River St. Proceed to and turn Rt at Wyoming Ave/Rt 11. After 3rd traffic light, Turn Right onto Camryn Way (See Signage).
Event Coordinator Daniel Messinger, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the playoff weekends will be posted as the event gets closer.