The University of Memphis Rugby Football Club (Memphis Rugby) was admitted to the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference (SCRC) during a conference-wide meeting held on April 7, 2019. The application for admission by Memphis Rugby was approved unanimously.
SCRC Commissioner Martin Bradley contacted Memphis Rugby officers with the Conference decision late on Sunday night.
The SCRC was initially formed in 2010 to only include NCAA Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams but has recently decided to add teams from colleges and universities that are not affiliated with the SEC. This decision was in part due to the fact that the SEC covers such a wide range of territory that it makes travel extremely difficult for participating teams.
Currently, the SCRC includes the following 11 teams: Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Kennesaw State, Middle Tennessee State University, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and now Memphis.
Vanderbilt left the conference in 2018 due to competition challenges. Florida left the conference in 2018 to participate in forming an All Florida collegiate conference. LSU left the conference in 2014 due to travel challenges. Missouri and Texas A&M have never been part of the conference.
The SCRC is divided into east and west divisions. Exactly where Memphis will fit into the new divisions has not yet been established.
Memphis was a participant in the South Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC) until the conference was disbanded in the Spring of 2019. The SIRC was comprised of Florida teams and teams from Tennessee and Georgia. The Florida teams left the conference to form an All Florida conference and the remaining teams split up. Memphis remained independent for one year to consider their options and to grow the club.
Memphis Rugby currently has no seniors on the side and the team is mainly comprised of freshmen. “This is a big step for the Tigers,” stated Tiger head coach Swatzyna. We’ll get to play teams geographically closer to us, and we believe we can be competitive with the teams in the SCRC as we continue to grow and develop.”
Memphis Rugby is very excited about this development and look forward to the challenge.