What is the difference between club and varsity water polo?
People normally ask what the primary differences are between varsity and club play. That is difficult to answer briefly because the individual teams that comprise each group are themselves very diverse in every category, from funding to ability. However, as a general rule, the following differences apply to each category. Varsity teams are organized and supervised by their athletic departments, have paid coaches, and follow the NCAA rules and regulations affecting eligibility. In addition, the competitive level of varsity competition is generally higher than that of the club level. The collegiate club teams on the other hand are normally student-run. Some teams do have coaches and some of these coaches are paid, although none are full-time. They are not required to meet NCAA eligibility requirements, they do not offer scholarships, and the programs are supervised by their sport club or intramural offices. The level of play within the top collegiate clubs is sometimes stronger than the lower level of varsity programs, but as a general rule it is less intense than the varsity competition. The main difference student-athletes will recognize stems from the funding. While varsity teams are typically well funded, meaning the students do not pay to travel, the majority of the club teams must raise funds to meet their financial obligations. Fortunately, the newly organized conference structures are offering these institutions a more credible outlet and consequently the funding with many collegiate club teams has increased dramatically.

Who makes the rules for the CWPA?
The CWPA is governed by a legislative process in which every member institution has a vote. This means that the membership itself determines the policies and rules by which it is governed. To enforce the policies, the membership elects a Board of Directors that serve two-year terms.

Who is eligible to compete?
Men’s and women’s sport clubs may allow full-time graduate students to play. Students must be full-time at the institution for which they are competing. Only the New York Men’s Division permit full-time staff and professors to participate as athletes. However, these individuals may not compete in the division championship. Varsity teams must comply with the eligibility rules of the NCAA.

What happens if my team cannot make a tournament?
All teams must sign a Participation Contract before the season begins in order to be eligible to compete. The contract clearly states that any team joining the conference must attend every tournament, even if it means attending with a partial squad, borrowing players form other teams, and forfeiting all games. Failure to attend will result in a no contest, which requires immediate suspension of the team for the remainder of the season and the following year, in addition to payment of all league fees.

How is the schedule determined?
Each division determines how many games they want to play and on what dates, during an annual conference call. Unless otherwise determined by the teams involved, sites are selected using a rotation schedule in which every team has a turn to host.

Under what circumstances might the schedule change?
Once the schedule is printed, it will only change if one of three circumstances occurs:

1. The facility hours change.
2. A team withdraws, or is suspended.
3. An extraordinary unforeseen circumstance requires a team to request a change. These circumstances do not include preferences about opponents or game times.

As a coach, am I able to request a specific schedule?
No. Teams may only request that they play at a specific time based on travel constraints and geographic distance from the tournament site. Requests need to be made to the office well in advance of the release of the schedule.

Where can I find contact information for a team?
Click on the membership section of our website for complete contact information for every CWPA team.

Are parents and fans permitted to stay at the league hotel for a discount?
The choice of hotels is up to the individual, but the CWPA wants our parents and fans to have the same opportunities to locate housing for a discounted rate at competitive sites throughout the country. We invite you to take advantage of this great offer by making reservations within the same room blocks available to our teams. To make reservations, simply click on the Fans link and then Hotels Reservation to learn which hotels have been booked for the weekend.

What do I do with the official game scoresheets?
At the conclusion of each game, the opposing coaches receive the yellow and pink copies. The white copies should be saved and mailed back to the CWPA office at the conclusion of the tournament. Hosts should also email scores for each tournament game to

How does United States Water Polo relate to the Collegiate Water Polo Association?
The CWPA and United States Water Polo (USAWP) are two different organizations with two different missions. United States Water Polo is the National Governing Body for the sport and as such is responsible for supporting and training the U. S. National Teams for men and women. Their involvement in collegiate water polo at this time includes supporting the cost of a Division III National Championship in men’s and women’s competition.

Collegiate Water Polo Association