Yesterday we bought you the breaking news through an AU leak that British University American Football under BUCS would be moving to a three tier league structure and we had the division break down. Today BUCS have released a break down and explanation of the move to a three tier structure for the 2015/16 season.
The document illustrates and explains the move from two tiers of competition in 2014/15 to three tiers of competition in the upcoming 2015/16 season for American Football, taking in to account feedback and suggestions from the SAG Chair.
2015/16 Next Season
Using the caveats that were put in place to allow for another review ahead of the 2015/16 season, BUCS has been working closely with the BUCS American Football SAG Chair and the NGB (BAFA) to transition the structure to a three tier structure (more in line with standard BUCS structures). The proposed structure for the upcoming 2015-16 season can be seen below:
This structure has moved all leagues to 5 team leagues, thus enabling every team in every league to face each opposition twice. This was an important requirement for both BUCS and the SAG Chair, particularly following previous feedback we have received relating to teams not getting to play every opposition within their own league. Furthermore, as the SAG Chair and BAFA have consistently recommended an 8 game league season where possible, this format allows for this preferred number of league fixtures, and still allows for some knockout games to follow the league season without too much impact.
Whilst BUCS wants to reach a standardised three tier structure more in line with other BUCS sports (IE with the five standard tier 1 leagues of Scottish, Northern, Midlands, Western and South Eastern), BUCS agrees with BAFA on the benefits of the transitional six league Tier 1 format in this instance. By adopting six leagues at Tier 1 instead of the more standard five, it allows for a better spread of teams into three largely ‘Northern’ leagues and three largely ‘Southern’ leagues, whilst maintaining a standard size of Tier 1 (usually 29-32 teams). By keeping the clear North/South division, it allows for a Trophy competition that can be drawn as a ‘Northern’ half and a ‘Southern’ half, ensuring the two teams that reach the final can be given promotion to each respective Premier League, whilst still being able to play a final fixture to determine the Trophy winner and be allocated appropriate BUCS Points. This Trophy also uses qualifying teams from across the whole of tier 1, allowing usual Trophy BUCS Points to be adopted (which was not possible when keeping clearly separate North Divisional and South Divisional cups in the 2014-15 season).
Conference Cups are possible to introduce in the lowest tier (Tier 2), by drawing the teams finishing 1st in each Tier 2 league into a ‘final four’ format, for the ‘North’ Conference Cup and ‘South’ Conference Cup respectively. This allows an extra opportunity for competition and BUCS Points for the highest finishing teams in Tier 2, and allows a clear way to determine which teams from Tier 2 will gain promotion into Tier 1 for the following season.
Teams will be positioned within the three tier structure according to their finishing position and record from the previous season, whilst trying to maintain standard BUCS geographical placings where possible. This has not been achievable in every league through the structure however (for example Oxford and Cambridge appear in the South East, rather than the more usual Midlands playing conference where they would usually play for other BUCS sports). On the whole, the structure is split into a largely ‘North’ side and largely ‘South’ side, with the two Premier Leagues at the top of each three tier pyramid. A more detailed description of how each tier of competition is formed and how each knockout is expected to be drawn is given on the following page.