Established in 2007, the British Universities American Football League is the largest university competition for American football in Europe.
The League has six conferences spanning Great Britain. Teams play an eight game regular season with the number one ranked team being crowned conference champions and the top two teams from each conference progressing through to the post season and a shot at the National Championship. The third and fourth placed teams also progress to the post season in the National Challenge Trophy competition.
From the summer of 2011 the League will launch a national flag football competition and a Women's competition. The conferences will provide the platform for the flag competition with a conference championships culminating in a national finals. The women's competition will launch on a smaller scale with a select number of invited institutions contesting the inaugural event.
Whilst football has been present in British Higher Education since the mid 1980s the BUAFL has only been in existence since 2007. 42 teams were founder members with players drawn from over 60 institutions. The inaugural BUAFL National Championships was won by the Southampton Stags after an imperious performance in the Doncaster snow. Their victory against the Staffordshire Stallions meant that they had achieved a perfect record for the season, a record which has set the tone for each championship to date.
After the National Championships had concluded Bucks New University hosted the BUAFL’s first MVP All Star Game. The finest players from the teams in the North were pitched against the finest players from the teams in the South. A closely fought affair saw the Northern team, led by Loughborough's Coach Scott, edge out the South.
During 2007/08 season a further 3 teams successfully completed their development year meaning that for the kick-off of the 2008/09 season there were 45 teams with their sights trained on the National Championship and the newly created Challenge Trophy.
In the end, the silverware was swept up by the two teams who had kicked off the season, watched by the biggest crowd in regular season British University Sport, at Birmingham University‘s xpLosION event
It was Coach Athersmith’s Birmingham Lions who reigned supreme in the BUAFL. The most potent offense in the League, orchestrated by Quarterback Tristan Varney proved too hot to handle for all their opponents as they marched undefeated to the title, overcoming another undefeated team in the final at the John Charles Stadium - the Newcastle Raiders.
Two weeks prior to the Championship Game and at the same venue the Bath Killer Bees, led by a standout performance by Matt Styles, overcame a resilient Sheffield Hallam Warriors in the first BUAFL National Challenge Trophy Game.
The season culminated where it had begun, at Birmingham University. UWE Bullets Head Coach Matt Dyke led his Southern team to victory against the North in what would be the last ever North / South MVP All Star game.
Whereas in the League‘s first season there had been three new teams seeking the opportunity to compete in the following season‘s National Championship, the 2008/09 season saw in excess of 20 programmes being started. 56 teams kicked off the 2009/10 season and yet again the contestants in the xpLosION kick off game would bookend the season. The Loughborough Aces, the winningest team in British university football history were narrowly beaten in both as the Birmingham Lions secured back to back Championships at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton.
The Challenge Trophy made its way to the capital city as the Greenwich Mariners, led by Coach Callan, wrapped a perfect undefeated season in the Sixfields sunshine.
2010/11 will see a record 60 teams starting the season with more putting their programmes through their paces as they complete their development seasons. As the season progresses the key question everyone will be asking is whether or not Coach Athersmith's Lions can secure a hat trick of national titles and emulate the last dynasty of British student football, the 'threepeat' winning team of the Hertfordshire Hurricanes who secured their place in history as the last millenium came to a close.