(ISN) – New York, NY – The University of Oklahoma must forfeit its opening-round meeting with Utah on Saturday, April 4, in Salt Lake City at the 2015 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Championship. As a result, the Utes, recently the 49-21 winners over Saint Mary’s in the regular season, will advance to face the winner of round one’s match between Central Washington and Arizona State in the April 11 Varsity Cup quarterfinals.
Oklahoma’s forfeit is attributed to recent difficulties stemming from a USA Rugby D1A Disciplinary Hearing on March 2, when the Sooners were found to have played ineligible participants in their Fall 2014 Red River Conference matches. USA Rugby’s subsequent sanctions required OU to forfeit all Red River Conference matches in which ineligible participants were used and made the Sooners ineligible to advance to any and all spring 2015 postseason play.
The timing of the announcement follows weeks of efforts by OU to seek clarity from USA Rugby whether these sanctions included the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Championship. Earlier this week, Oklahoma contacted the competition’s managers at United World Sports to report USA Rugby’s collegiate staff had made it clear the sanctions did include the Varsity Cup postseason.
“We were patient with Oklahoma while they requested clarification from USA Rugby but will now move forward without the Sooners,” said David Smyth, head coach of Brigham Young University, on behalf of the Varsity Cup. “We considered slotting in a replacement team but ultimately decided not to dilute the competition with an unqualified team. It is unlikely the absence of Oklahoma will affect the quarterfinal round of the tournament.”