RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 3/13/17

The Red River Competitions Committee will now be releasing their monthly committee call minutes and notes. View all of the archived RRRC minutes** or read on for the most recent:

  1. Opening of the meeting and Roll Call (A.Sharpley)
    1. Sharpley
    2. Young
    3. Kolberg
    4. Kurylas
    5. Tate
    6. Keuppens
    7. Hughes
    8. Iker
    9. Butch
    10. Watson
    11. Turner
  2. Approval of the Agenda (A.Sharpley)
    1. No objection. APPROVED.
  3. Approval of previous meeting minutes (W.Young)
    1. No objection. APPROVED
  4. National competitions update (A.Sharpley)
    1. Sharpley: Nothing to report really, they didn’t have their last scheduled competitions meeting. They are trying to reschedule for this Wednesday. There was some new law variations that went into effect March 1st.
    2. Young: I’ll have those posted to the website.
  5. Divisional updates and CMS Compliance
    1. Men’s D1 (J.Kolberg, K.Tate)
      1. Tate: CMS looks good except for this weekend, which they still have some time to complete.
    2. Men’s D2 (L.Turner, D.Corrigan)
      1. Turner: We have a few CMS issues, DARC is challenging the CMS lock fee (I know that is a TRU issue).
      2. Tate: I haven’t had any communication about this?
      3. Young: Me either?
      4. Kolberg: Why are they quibbling over $25?
      5. Tate: No idea, we haven’t heard anything yet.
      6. Sharpley: If they owe the TRU money, they could be declared not in good standing and could be held back from RRRC playoffs.
      7. Tate: On this one, I’m particularly unsympathetic, it’s only $25 dollars and they have four days to enter. We also did a soft launch on this and all clubs were notified in due time. If the fee is not going to get the desired result, then we need to look at other ways to enforce compliance. The goal is not to take their money, but to ensure that we have CMS filled out correctly.
      8. Turner: One other thing, OKC on their CMS is having an issue but I believe it’s a browser issue. They are using Safari.
      9. Young: Yes, it’s well known that Safari isn’t supported.
      10. Sharpley: I have to bring up the D1b issue with HARC, they told us earlier in the season that all of their matches would be played forfeits. But then they said they would have suitable front rows and subs but come game time they didn’t have it. We did also have an issue with the referee allowing us to “play” with uncontested scrums. We asked that referee to review the World Rugby laws as you can’t start a match without suitable front rows.
        1. Kolberg: What if we just let their points against count?
        2. Tate: Yes, we’ve done that in the past, we adjusted the standings to be 21-0 losses, so no one gets a bonus point. Short term, I’d recommend that we can also remove their results from CMS so they don’t affect the standings. From a long term perspective we need to think seriously about this, if a team doesn’t have enough eligible front rows, will they next year? It’s one thing to forfeit for weather but game by game because of front rows.
        3. Watson: This isn’t the case here, they have front rows some weeks but not others.
        4. Tate: If we as a committee believe they are gaming the system, we have every right to treat them as if they’ve bailed on the whole season.
        5. Watson: I’m concerned about the traveling team, they have to go there and have all those expenses. But then if we take those results away it hurts the other teams in the competition.
        6. Sharpley: One issue here though is that without HARC our D1b teams don’t have enough matches to qualify for Nationals. I believe HARC knows this.
        7. Tate: Are we proposing or taking any action items on this? Or are we just noting it for the future?
        8. Kolberg: Hopefully they will play some matches that aren’t forfeits, to me we have to just wait and see.
        9. Turner: I’m confused, are we saying all of their matches are forfeits or not?
        10. Sharpley: That was part of the email correspondence I forwarded from Dave Yeoman, they declared them all forfeits in the beginning of the year.
        11. Turner: If they are all forfeits does that not count towards the overall match count?
        12. Sharpley: There is nothing we can do after the fact, I did encourage the rest of the D1b teams to schedule “other” D2 matches so they could meet the match requirements. I haven’t requested a waiver yet and I don’t think we should.
        13. Young: Forfeits do count towards league match requirements, correct?
        14. Tate: Yes, we’ve had this in the past. They do count towards league match requirements and will fulfill those. The difference is natural forfeits vs a team not playing matches or refusing to play league matches. We will need to take a serious look at this when we review promotion and relegation in the summer.
        15. Sharpley: This is a nationwide problem that isn’t just affecting the RRRC and we need to be aware of that. There may be some drastic changes coming from the National Office and we should consider some ourselves.
    3. Men’s D3 (T.Hughes, J.Kurylas)
      1. Tate: Lots of matches that need data here and it’s affecting the standings. Particularly important are the point differentials, we must get clean data from our teams.
      2. Hughes: Yes, we’ve been mostly dealing with CMS issues. We’ve talked internally about solutions as it doesn’t seem that the fee is enough.
      3. Kurylas: Yes, it took 3 weeks for HURT to do one match, we had to throw out additional sanctions to get movement.
      4. Watson: Are we notifying teams and have we collected payment?
      5. Young: Yes, I typically notify on Fridays and usually half pay and half ignore the notices.
      6. Tate: It sounds like we may need to think about adding a compliance condition similar to the forfeit condition, ie don’t do your compliance and you can be relegated. These are non-negotiables, if you can’t do them then you don’t play at that level next year.
      7. Kurlyas: Yes, I agree. We can keep hounding them but we need some teeth behind this.
      8. Watson: So what do we do with non-compliant D3 clubs?
      9. Tate: That’s where the D4 would come in or they play socially.
    4. Women’s Hybrid D1/D2 (H.Iker, W.Young)
      1. Iker: No outstanding issues, all seems to be going well. We did move the TRU D2 Women’s Championship to be the same weekend as the RRRC Championships to keep it all aligned.
    5. Sevens (F.Keuppens)
      1. Keuppens: There are two pieces here, the series dates and the 2017-2018 7s guidelines. We know there are some things that need to be addressed in the guidelines (for instance a team registers and no shows, acts of weather/God). I don’t think the guidelines will affect the schedule, I propose that we approve those as they are and the 7s committee will continue working on the guidelines.
        1. Bloodfest (6/17: Austin TX) – Men’s ELITE is a 2 day qualifier with pool play in the afternoon of day 1 (Saturday) and knock out rounds in the morning of day 2 (Sunday) / Women’s will remain a 1-day tournament.
        2. North (6/24: OK, LA or AR)
        3. South (7/8: Austin, San Antonio or Houston area)
        4. Central (7/22: DFW area)
          1. Young: The only thing I have is that Bloodfest for the men would be a 2-day and the women’s would stay as a 1-day. Right?
          2. Keuppens: Yes, we do want parity but for Bloodfest we would recommend leaving the women’s as a 1-day.
          3. Sharpley: Was the primary driver for the men’s elite at Bloodfest and the 2-day to prepare for Nationals (since it’s also a 2-day tournament)? Or was it to bring in team’s from outside the RRRC?
          4. Keuppens: It was the secondary driver, there has always been interest from team’s outside the RRRC. We see it as a beta test and perhaps all tournaments would move to that since teams would see it at the next level.
          5. Kolberg: In reality, teams could drive down Sat morning and stay the night, so expenses don’t really go up. I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal and what’s nice about it is that Sunday will be pure competition.
          6. Sharpley: So the proposal is that we increase the number of tournaments to four and follow the above dates and locations. This does include Bloodfest as a 2-day tournament for the men, a 1-day for the women.
            1. Kolberg: Second.
            2. Any additional discussion? NONE. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
        5. Keuppens: Great, so next the sub-committee will have amendments and changes to the 7s competition guidelines. Hopefully that will be ready for the next call.
        6. Young: I will post the dates and encourage teams to submit bid hosts.
  6. TRU update (K.Tate, W.Young)
    1. Tate: We’ve talked quite a bit about CMS and a few other issues already on this call. We will be looking towards the AGM and Summit later this fall, more details on that soon.
  7. TRAA Report (B.Neuenschwander)
    1. Butch: Since our last meeting the TRRA leadership has been bombarded with emails from a few clubs of biased refereeing. It’s quite disturbing and the accusations were very blunt, we take this very seriously but we have to have video so we can investigate.
    2. Sharpley: So was it RRRC teams?
    3. Butch: Yes, two instances were RRRC teams. It’s not a new issue that referees are involved with teams, they are former players and are staying with the game. Our referee pool is very small and we take bias very seriously.
  8. New Business
    1. RRRC Playoffs (Tulsa, OK; weekend of 5/6-7/17)
      1. Sharpley: We completed an email vote and it was unanimous in support of Tulsa’s bid.
      2. Young: Correct, it was unanimous.
      3. Kolberg: Luke, the quicker we can get the hotels out there, the better. Also, game times.
      4. Young: We’ve got a draft schedule started but we have several partners that need to approve. It’s a work in progress.
      5. Turner: I can get you hotel details, no problem.
    2. Status of Huns for USA Rugby Div.1 Playoffs
      1. Sharpley: The Huns are in the running for the USA Rugby National Championships but have a conflict in that the MRC Championships will be on the same weekend?
      2. Tate: Thierry said they don’t have any more conflicts? They’ve stated that if they make the USAR playoffs, they will make the D1 competition their priority. But I do think we should ask them to clarify that in writing.
    3. Forfeits (W.Young)
      1. Houston Arrows vs Lonestar 3/14 – Arrows forfeited (http://usarugbystats.com/competition/462/match/11120)
        1. Young: We received notification the Thursday before that the Arrows wouldn’t be able to play their Lonestar match. They made a half-hearted attempt for a reschedule but decided to leave it as a forfeit.
        2. Watson: Who has forfeited two matches this year?
        3. Tate: Only HARC D1b has forfeited two matches, we’ve had three other forfeits.
        4. Watson: How do we handle if a team doesn’t actually re-schedule their forfeit?
        5. Tate: The policy indicates that they would be relegated.
        6. Hughes: They originally forfeited on Monday but I don’t think they realized that there were possible additional sanctions. I educated them and let them know that forfeits are not recommended and urged them to reschedule if at all possible. I agree that it was a half-hearted effort by the Arrows.
        7. Tate: Looking at the results, it does seem that they are getting beaten by pretty large margins.
        8. Hughes: Yes, they did indicate that they would be able to fulfill the rest of their schedule without any issues. They are aware of the repercussions and if they are relegated next year, they made their choice.
    4. New Club Criteria (Kurylas)
      1. Young: This is for 15s, not 7s, right?
      2. Kurylas: Yes, just for 15s so far.
      3. Young: I really like it!
      4. Tate: Me too.
      5. Keuppens: 23 members might be a bit low, do we want to bump that up a bit?
      6. Tate: Funny you should mention that, I’ve been doing a lot of data crunching around forfeits and player numbers. 23 players for a club is very low, we do need that be higher to make sure it’s sustainable.
      7. Keuppens: What if we included a recruitment encouragement clause? Not sure how we would monitor this, but just an idea.
      8. Watson: This was one of the major points at Congress, I agree that we need more players per team. If teams don’t have at least 25, they aren’t going to make it.
      9. Tate: I propose we make it 25 players and at least four eligible front row players. I would also include that the friendlies are required and that all data must be entered into CMS to demonstrate that competence.
      10. Kurylas: I’ll make those updates and send it out. I also sent this to the TRU Board and they will review next week on their call.
      11. Sharpley: In the USA Rugby Club Governance sub-committee we’ve also talked about new clubs, several other unions have provisions that don’t allow clubs to be created with 8 or more players coming from an existing club. Those unions have decided that they have enough teams, they need bigger clubs. This has happened to us twice!
      12. Tate: Not quite, the TRU Board looked very closely at this, the Dogfish only took a few Crabs, so I’m not sure that applies.
      13. Sharpley: Ok, so we aren’t quite ready for that?
        Kurylas: I do think we need to keep that in mind though, it could be why Houston can’t keep a viable D1 team…
      14. Tate: Yes, this is specifically why I’ve been doing this data crunching. This simply isn’t the case, very few players are moving over from “other” clubs. Most of the growth is organic!
    5. Any other business
      1. Restructuring Ad-hoc Committee
        1. Sharpley: Kirk, would you be comfortable as the chair of the ad-hoc subcommittee that will look at possibly restructuring all of our divisions?
        2. Tate: Yes, I can do this one. Lots of data!
        3. Sharpley: I’m going to let Kirk take this offline, it doesn’t have to be solely RRRC members but can include them. That said, if you want to be involved, please let Kirk know.
  9. Close of the meeting (10:39pm)
    1. Young: Motion to close.
    2. Kolberg: Second.
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