Varsity Cup organisers have reiterated their commitment to work with national government and within the guidelines of the relevant health authorities to ensure the safety of players, staff and spectators.
Following a meeting of the Varsity Cup board on Wednesday it was confirmed to Sport24 that they are in constant communication with all stakeholders, including member universities, sponsors, partners, broadcasters and SA Rugby.
Decisions regarding the possibility - and increasing probability - that sport may not take place at universities in the remaining calendar and academic year.
Should that be the case, the following has been decided:
- The 2020 Varsity Cup, Varsity Shield and Varsity Young Guns tournaments will be declared incomplete. There will be no overall winner awarded in any of the competitions and the trophies will remain with the 2019 winners.
After six rounds of play before the tournament was halted in March, Maties led the Varsity Cup standings while Walter Sisulu University held top spot in the Varsity Shield log, albeit having played one more match than their closest pursuers, Madibaz.
Maties are the reigning Varsity Cup champions, while CPUT emerged victorious in last year's Varsity Shield competition.
Further, it was confirmed that Madibaz would be promoted to the Varsity Cup in 2021.
- As Madibaz had already achieved an unassailable log points tally on the combined log of 2019 and 2020, they will be promoted to the Varsity Cup, in line with the current Varsity Cup bye-laws which states that “The team that ends top of the Varsity Shield Log in 2020, based on the combined log of 2019/2020, will be automatically promoted to the Varsity Cup for the 2021 season” (Bylaw 6.1.1).
For next season alone, there will be 10 Varsity Cup sides (up from nine), and seven Varsity Shield teams (as normal).
- There will be no team relegated from the Varsity Cup and no promotion-relegation match between the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions. There will also be no promotion relegation match between the bottom Varsity Shield team and the USSA contender. Therefore, there will be 10 teams in the Varsity Cup for 2021.
- The university, other than the member universities currently participating in the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield, who is ranked highest at USSA, at the sole discretion of the USSA Executive Committee, will be automatically promoted to the Varsity Shield for the 2021 season. This will bring the total number of teams in the Varsity Shield to seven teams.
- The new member university must meet all Varsity Cup MOI stipulations.
However, following the 2021 season, two sides will be relegated from the Varsity Cup (leaving eight teams) and one from the Varsity Shield (leaving eight to fight it out).
- Following the 2021 season, the bottom two teams in the Varsity Cup will be automatically relegated to the Varsity Shield and the bottom team in the Varsity Shield will be automatically relegated. This will bring both competitions to eight teams each for the 2022 season and onwards.
The Varsity Cup board will hold a special general meeting ahead of the next board meeting to vote in the necessary bye-law amendments to allow for the changes that have been agreed to by the board.