The State University of New York Rugby Championship is up for grabs on April 9th in Albany, NY as 11 schools from across New York State vie for the title of SUNY Champion. Rugby at SUNY has a long history dating back to the early 1970s. The SUNY Championship was an annual fixture in the early days, BUT the last time a SUNY Championship was contested was 1983. Brockport walked away with that one, so technically are the defending champs.
The resurrected event is being hosted at SUNY Albany and will feature a five-team DI round robin with Albany, Binghamton, Brockport, Buffalo, and Stony Brook. Playoff bound Buffalo goes in as the favorite, followed by MetNY runner-up Stony Brook. Binghamton finished third in New York State Conference in the fall and should be considered a tough opponent, while Albany and Brockport always play a hard-hitting physical brand of rugby.
DII has six schools and features NYS 2010 DII champs Cortland State, Geneseo, Fredonia, Plattsburgh and will be joined by MetNY schools New Paltz and Maritime, the minnow of the SUNY rugby programs.
This year’s event was organized by John Durant of SUNY Albany and Mike Hodgins from Buffalo. Durant said, “this is about building recognition of SUNY Rugby within our respective schools and holding a quality event that all of these teams can use to strengthen their programs. We hope this will become the highlight of the year for all of our SUNY schools.”
“This may also be a precursor to a natural competitive alignment going forward in regards to the collegiate restructure that is taking place,” added Hodgins. “SUNYAC is a vibrant and thriving college conference and rugby would be a great natural fit for the competitive structure.” Next year the organizers hope to expand the event to include women’s teams as well and move to a larger venue on a centrally located campus.