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What is Real DII College Rugby

Monday May 11, 2009 in Amateur Competitions Division II Colleges

image for this article
(Tiny Middlebury in blue versus huge Wisconsin in white. Dobson Images.)


May 11, 2009 – What is a DII college team? Well in American rugby it means a college team that tells it’s local and territorial unions, and USA Rugby for that matter, that they are DII.

There is no other definition.

We at ERugbyNews follow that definition in our rankings and reporting. We don’t say “Wisconsin, which is really large enough to be a DI team, made the DII final today.” We just call them DII and leave it at that. But what if we didn’t?

Having completed yet another college season, we can now afford to look at enrollment figures and see who is really a true DII team.

So, here is our final men’s DII Top 25:

1 Middlebury 

2 UW Madison  

3 Miami of Ohio 

4 South Florida 

5 Georgetown 

6 Arizona State 

7 Salisbury 

8 Cal Maritime Academy  

9 Utah Valley  

10 Humboldt State 

11 N. Colorado  

12 East Carolina  

13 Col. Sch. Mines  

14 Loyola 

15 St. Louis University 

16 St. John's Minn  

17 Texas State  

18 Claremont Colleges 

19 West Virginia 

20 Appalachian State  

21 WWU 

22 St. Joseph's 

23 MaineOrono 

24 Kent State  

25 Western Oregon  



Here they are ranked in order of male undergraduate enrollment (most of this figures came to us a year ago from Darrin Barner and Chip Auscavitch. We augmented some with some info from the Princeton Review and the colleges’ own websites). Lowest enrollment first.

ERN Rk School Enrollment

8 Cal Maritime Academy    598

1 Middlebury   1186

25 Western Oregon    1568

16 St. John's Minn    1938

14 Loyola   2133

22 St. Joseph's   2135

13 Col. Sch. Mines    2266

18 Claremont Colleges   2410

7 Salisbury   2544

10 Humboldt State   2631

5 Georgetown   2975

15 St. Louis University   3193

23 MaineOrono   3847

11 N. Colorado    3957

21 WWU   5249

20 Appalachian State    6167

24 Kent State    6181

12 East Carolina    6446

3 Miami of Ohio   6930

17 Texas State    8315

4 South Florida   9726

19 West Virginia   9985

2 UW Madison    12575

9 Utah Valley    13955

6 Arizona State   15809



As you can see there’s a massive disparity. Texas State, South Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah Valley and Arizona State are very large, and are really DI teams based on size. Some teams are in sort of a limbo size (5,000-7,000), while 14 are what you call legitimate DII-size schools. Amazing to see what Middlebury has accomplished given their size. Same goes for Cal Maritime.

So what if we re-jiggered the rankings based on performance and size? We worked a formula to take into account both (if you play well and are large, you don’t get ranked as highly as a smaller school that does comparably well).

Here’s what we came up with – it’s a combination of our rankings and enrollment, with the lower numbers better:


ERN Rk School Score

1 Middlebury   5.9

8 Cal Maritime Academy    23.9

5 Georgetown   74.4

7 Salisbury   89.0

3 Miami of Ohio   104.0

2 UW Madison    125.8

10 Humboldt State   131.6

13 Col. Sch. Mines    147.3

14 Loyola   149.3

16 St. John's Minn    155.0

4 South Florida   194.5

25 Western Oregon    196.0

18 Claremont Colleges   216.9

11 N. Colorado    217.6

22 St. Joseph's   234.9

15 St. Louis University   239.5

12 East Carolina    386.8

23 MaineOrono   442.4

6 Arizona State   474.3

21 WWU   551.1

20 Appalachian State    616.7

9 Utah Valley    628.0

17 Texas State    706.8

24 Kent State    741.7

19 West Virginia   948.6



As you can see, based on size and ability, Middlebury is still the best DII team in the country … by a mile. Cal Maritime, Georgetown and Salisbury also get credit for size and ability. The only large school that really gets up there is Wisconsin-Madison.


And what about the women?

Here’s our final women’s DII rankings:

1 Shippensburg  

2 Michigan  

3 Stonehill 

4 Bowdoin 

5 Delaware 

6 Marist 

7 Washington State 

8 Slippery Rock  

9 East Carolina  

10 Central Florida 

11 UMDuluth  

12 Claremont Colleges 

13 Sacramento State 

14 Norwich 

15 LaSalle 

16 University of Vermont 

17 Illinois State

18 Wyoming 

19 Texas Tech  

20 UC Santa Cruz 

21 Arizona 

22 Western Washington  

23 Texas State 

24 Utah State 

25 Wayne St. Neb. 



But break them down based on enrollment and you see a different story:

14 Norwich   509

4 Bowdoin   838

3 Stonehill   1335

25 Wayne St. Neb.   1357

15 LaSalle   1843

6 Marist   2570

12 Claremont Colleges   2700

1 Shippensburg    3219

18 Wyoming   3540

8 Slippery Rock    3731

11 UMDuluth    4254

16 University of Vermont   4623

24 Utah State   5285

22 Western Washington    6635

7 Washington State   6917

20 UC Santa Cruz   7081

5 Delaware   9107

9 East Carolina    9386

17 Illinois State  9614

23 Texas State   10157

19 Texas Tech    10301

13 Sacramento State   10416

2 Michigan    12372

21 Arizona   14932

10 Central Florida   15766


Once again, a massive disparity (#10 Central Florida has 30 times the female students than Norwich has). Of the Top 25, nine have female enrollment over 9,000, including two teams from the Big Four.

Use our formula and here’s what you get:

1 Shippensburg    16.1

4 Bowdoin   16.8

3 Stonehill   20.0

14 Norwich   35.6

6 Marist   77.1

2 Michigan    123.7

15 LaSalle   138.2

8 Slippery Rock    149.2

12 Claremont Colleges   162.0

25 Wayne St. Neb.   169.6

5 Delaware   227.7

11 UMDuluth    234.0

7 Washington State   242.1

18 Wyoming   318.6

16 University of Vermont   369.8

9 East Carolina    422.4

24 Utah State   634.2

13 Sacramento State   677.0

20 UC Santa Cruz   708.1

22 Western Washington    729.9

10 Central Florida   788.3

17 Illinois State  817.2

19 Texas Tech    978.6

23 Texas State   1168.1

21 Arizona   1567.9


Shippensburg, Bowdoin and Stonehill are almost identical, with Norwich not that far off. Three schools have a higher formula score than the highest men’s team.

DII means nothing when it comes to enrollment figures – very true also in DI as St. Mary’s, with a male enrollment of less than 1,000, remains one of the best college teams in the nation.

What we propose is the formulation of a new division system – Division I, for the best teams, Division IA for large schools (cutoff of gender enrollment of 4,000-5,000) that are not competitive in DI, and DII, for teams under a specific enrollment size.

DII teams could move up, but if they did, perhaps they would need to go a season in DIA first.

Just a thought for a Monday afternoon.

- Alex Goff © www.erugbynews.com



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