The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International will be phasing out all non-students during this season ahead of the 2015 competition.
At present, 20 of the 23 players in the matchday squads are required to be full-time students, but this will be changed from next season with all competing universities having to sign off on this – by their registrars and external auditors – before the start of the new season.
According to Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman, the Varsity Cup Board met with university registrars, directors of sport and vice rectors to map a way forward – given that some universities offer degrees, whilst others offer diplomas and certificates as well.
Bosman explained that this solution, coupled with a new minimum pass-rate of one’s subjects was the best and fairest way forward, plus it gives the players more to aim for – both on and off the field of play.
“The wonderful principle that is vested now, is that the coach of the player will also be his academic coach, because it is in the interest of the coach that his player passes his subjects,” said Bosman.
“In the future a player will get his university qualification because he wants to play rugby.”
Bosman also explained at the launch event on Monday "When the Varsity Cup started virtually all varsity clubs were open clubs with many non bona fide student players, so we had to phase in the bona fide student numbers to allow for a competitive tournament from the start." 2015 will mark the completion of this process.
Meanwhile, the Varsity Young Guns competition – the U20 tournament has had a 100% student requirement from the get go in 2012 feeding student talent into the open divisions.
For UCT this means a more even playing field going forward as the focus is and always has been on academic performance, alongside high performance rugby.