In 2007 the club entered another new exciting era with Leeds Metropolitan University taking a 51% share in the club and renaming the team Leeds Carnegie for their return to the top flight. The venture saw some of the highest attendances recorded for Rugby Union games at Headingley Carnegie and brought with it some unique opportunities for both players and supporters thanks to the groundbreaking partnership.
The name Carnegie comes from the Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie whose Carnegie Trust funded the establishment of a PE teaching training college in 1933. Carnegie College is now the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education within Leeds Metropolitan University.
The links to the founding colleges of Leeds Met go back to the Leeds Rugby League legends of the 1930s, the Australian Eric Harris, who was a student, as was the star of the 1950s and early 1960s, Lewis Jones, the former Wales and British Lion Rugby Union player. Ian McGeechan also studied at Carnegie as did Scotland Head Coach Frank Hadden and former Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby Stuart Lancaster.
On the field despite some brave performances, the team struggled to compete against much more experienced opposition and were once again relegated from the Premiership.
Highlights of the season included the club's best ever run in the European Challenge Cup, a first ever win over Newcastle Falcons at Headingley Carnegie and the emergence of another crop of young talented players with the likes of Danny Paul and Calum Clark playing major roles in the first team squad.
The end of the 2007-08 brought with it the end of an era for two of the clubs most influential figures, with captain Stuart Hooper leaving Leeds to join Bath whilst Director of Rugby Stuart Lancaster ended a sixteen year association with the club to join the coaching set up with England as their Head of Elite Player Development.
However, as they have proved throughout their long history, Leeds Carnegie once again emerged stronger from their challenges and appointed England World Cup winner Neil Back MBE as their new Head Coach and his former Leicester team mate Andy Key as the new Director of Rugby to lead the club into another new era and an immediate return to the top flight of English club rugby.
In May 2009 it was announced that the club was re-structuring with former Wales and British Lion international Gareth Davies joining a new board of Directors, and Leeds Rugby taking control of the club once again.
In order to attract further financial support for the club, Leeds Met has returned its 51% stake in the club to Leeds Rugby and agreed a revised strategic partnership arrangement, which includes sponsorship. The name of the club will remain as Leeds Carnegie RUFC.
Davies, who is a former Chief Executive of Cardiff RFC and BBC Wales Head of Sport, is the new Dean of the Carnegie Faculty of Sport & Education at Leeds Met and he will represent the university on a new board, which is headed up by Paul Caddick as Chairman.