USA Rugby today has released their new four-step selection process for the Men’s Collegiate All-American Fifteens teams. The purpose behind the alterations is to give each coach a more definitive vote in the process. It also serves to streamline nominations for improved efficiency with which the camp invitees are selected.
The new selection process is as follows:
1) Conferences, at the end of their regular seasons (Fall or Spring), will select their 1st and 2nd All-Conference teams.
2) Coaches in each conference make recommendations for players from All-Conference teams to advance as All-American candidates.
3) Candidates are entered through to the All-American staff by their respective conference commissioners.
4) Candidates are then evaluated by All-American staff to determine who will be invited to the selection camp.
One of the biggest changes to the procedures is, for a player to be considered, they must be selected to an all-conference team. Conferences will have two weeks from the conclusion of their seasons to submit their all-conference squads, which will then be published via USA Rugby.
“This new process is highly dependent on the interaction of coaches and commissioners within each conference,” noted USA Rugby Collegiate Director, Rich Cortez. “For this method to be fully effective it relies on the coaches and commissioners to act in a timely manner, and for that we thank them.”
“With the expansive nature of the collegiate game, utilizing conferences and commissioners is a great step to ensure that we can identify all deserving players regardless of location, division, conference and institution,” said USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Head Coach, James Willocks.
From there, coaches will be able to earmark players that they think are up to muster to realistically compete for an All-American spot. After coaches have made their suggestions, the selections will be put to a yes/no vote. If the player receives a majority they will then be sent through, as a candidate to the All-American staff to evaluate.
Finally, the All-American staff will deduce, from the candidates sent in, those athletes worthy of an invitation to the selection camps. The All-American staff reserves the right to allocate invitations based off perceived strength of conference.
“Our new process is designed to refine the input from coaches to more accurately select those most deserving of an All-American invitation,” Cortez elaborated. “Moreover, It will highlight the areas the High-Performance coaches are examining in making their selections. Further, players in all divisions and conferences now have a defined pathway to become a Men’s Collegiate All-American.”
The Women’s Collegiate All-American XVs process is currently under review, with changes expected to be made shortly.