CRC, the Ultimate Student-Athlete Experience
June 14, 2019
Every year, college rugby players from across the country descend on Philadelphia for an action packed weekend of rugby. Now in its tenth year, the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) is one of the most highly anticipated events among student-athletes everywhere.
One reason why student-athletes love this tournament is the national exposure through broadcast television on NBC and the ESPN family of networks. For the second year in a row, Lindenwood University men’s and women’s teams won their respective Cup Finals on national television. Fans across the country saw the New Mexico Highlands University Vatos crowned the NSCRO champions in the first ever small college championship broadcast on television. On top of the championships, nearly every match on the stadium pitch was broadcast on the ESPN+ streaming platform, leading to hours of footage that players will have for the rest of their lives.
“The CRC is the biggest college rugby event of the year. It is one every college rugby player wants to win as it’s on the biggest stage for college rugby,” said Arizona rugby player Ben Scoular. “We put a lot of work on and off the field in preparation for the tournament and every player on our squad works hard to try get selected for the CRCs.”
Having the opportunity to play in a professional stadium like Talen Energy Stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, is a very rare opportunity. Most games are played inside the perfectly manicured stadium and all of the day-two cup games were played in front of thousands of visiting fans.
“Winning the CRC on national television has been an electrifying experience for me and my teammates the last couple of years,” said Lindenwood standout Caring De Freitas. “We look forward to the competition every year and look forward to returning again next year.”
Not only are players getting to play in front of large crowds, many CRC players are showcasing their abilities in front of professional scouts and national team coaches. Over the last two years, nearly half of the roster of the United States men’s national team were CRC alumni, including 2018 CRC MVP Ben Broselle.
“Playing in the Penn Mutual CRC was a great experience for me,” said Broselle. It was one of my favorite tournaments because the respect from everyone in the stadium, whether it be players or fans, was next to none and made it a more enjoyable experience. Not only did I get to play in a professional stadium and on national television, I had a good tournament and was invited to become a full time resident at the Olympic Training Site at Chula Vista. I am now pursuing my dream of playing rugby in the 2020 Olympics in Japan.”
The tournament strives to create a truly great atmosphere at the event. For those who play in the tournament, it is the hope that they leave with memories to last a lifetime.
“We aim to provide a tremendous student athlete experience,” said Jeff McDowell, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at United World Sports. The event has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and we are excited for what the future holds.”