LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The University of Arkansas won’t be the only team joining the Red River for the 2016-17 season, as the conference is pleased to announce that the University of Houston Cougars will also join its ranks.
“We are extremely exited to be adding the Cougars to the Red River,” said TCU Head Coach and Red River Commissioner TeShay Flowers. “In the Red River we are always monitoring other programs, and looking for ways to strengthen our competition. By bringing in Coach [Daniel] Whetzel, who has a wealth of rugby knowledge and experience, we are confident that they will be a good fit in the Red River.”
During the 2015-16 season, Houston played both 15s and sevens out of the Southwest Conference. The club has close to a 40-year history.
The additions of Arkansas and Houston have produced a split competition between two divisions – the North and South. The separation of divisions will ease the length of travel amongst the teams in the conference that now spans across four states.
The four-team North Division is made up of Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The South will be represented by Houston, LSU, Texas and Texas A&M, while TCU will be play independent of both divisions.
The teams in each division will play home-and-away fixtures against one another, as well as one match against a cross-division opponent. TCU will play every team in the Red River once, giving each squad eight conference matches – two more than last year’s slate of games. At season’s end, the top team from each division will play for the Red River Championship.
As the Red River did a season ago, the conference will split its season between the fall and spring semesters. LSU went undefeated last year, winning the conference in its first season as a member of the Red River.
Two Red River sevens tournaments are planned for April. The entire nine-team conference will be competing, with the champion receiving an automatic bid to the 2017 College 7s National Championships.