WPL to Reinstate Promotion/Relegation

by | Jun 13, 2018

At the end of the fall 2018 competitive season, the WPL will offer the Division 1 Championship teams the opportunity to be promoted to the WPL for the first time since before its expansion in 2016 that took effect for the 2017 season.

Ever wonder how a team becomes a part of the Women’s Premier League? There are many factors that have determined which teams are a part of the league now, but the majority of teams that have joined since the League was established in 2009 have done so through promotion and through expansion.

Promotion/relegation in the case of the WPL is when the WPL invites top teams from USA Rugby’s Senior Women’s Division One competition to become a part of the WPL through the opportunity to challenge lower-seed WPL teams.

Due to the WPL’s long standing as a premiere league in the United States, despite many obstacles and changes in the women’s senior rugby landscape, the criteria for WPL eligibility is not limited to simply being in the D1 Championship match. The DI team must also meet a set of criteria demonstrating the sustainability and stability of their club – competitively on the field, financially, and administratively. This commitment from both legacy teams and teams challenging in is one of the reasons the WPL has been able to stay around longer than other premier level leagues in the country.

Once requirements are met and letters of intent are signed, a challenge match between the DI and WPL team is played to determine what team will be in the WPL the following season. The challenge match is played shortly after the WPL Championships in the late Fall. The seeding from those Championships determines the WPL teams eligible to be challenged, and the DI Championships played the previous Spring (in the same calendar year) determine the DI team eligible to challenge up.

This is an exciting time for women’s rugby in the US with increased caliber of play in college programs, D2, and D1 clubs. The WPL looks to continue it’s work towards elevating competition in the US and furthering access to high level matches for it’s member clubs and those looking to challenge in!

For more details, feel free to reach out to the WPL Commissioner with any questions.