TRU Board Notes – 6/19/2017

At the request of our members the TRU Board will be releasing their monthly board call minutes and notes. View all of the TRU archived minutes or read on for the most recent notes:

    • Roll Call (8:05pm)
      • Parker
      • Young
      • Scott Green
      • Tate
      • Butch
      • Dodge
      • Tomsak
      • Brad DuLong (guest)
      • Turner
      • James
      • Yeoman
    • Follow Ups from last call
      • Website Redesign
        • Young: Had calls with Phillips360 and Timmy Howard of Werri Media. Overall we would recommend going with Timmy as the platform would stay the same on WordPress and the cost is right at what we were thinking. He is also doing a redesign for TRRA and I’ve seen a sneak peek, it’s awesome.
          • Tate: Do we want to entertain a motion to approve Timmy for the website redesign? Or do you guys want some time to look it over?
        • Turner: I trust Nick and Wendy and make a motion to approve.
        • Tomsak: Second
        • Tate: Any discussion? Any objections? None. APPROVED.
      • Fines
        • Euless $250 for 2 forfeits, ineligible players and CMS unlock fees – NOTIFIED 5/4, reminded 5/15, 5/22 and 6/19
          • Tate: Still not in good standing due to the outstanding fines. If they haven’t taken care of this by the next RRRC call (June 28 (Promotion and Relegation call) or July 10 (monthly RRRC call) they risk not being included in next year’s competition.
          • Parker: I had an email exchange with Robert Tevi, they are going to appeal their relegation. They know that they need to take care of the fines. I will reach out to them again tomorrow to see where they are at.
        • HARC men $150 for 4 forfeits – PAID
          • Reduced after email discussion by TRU Board
        • Dallas Harlequins men $50 for 3 forfeits – PAID
          • Reduced after email discussion by TRU Board
        • Update to current policy? (Parker)
          • Parker: Recommend that we up the fine for non-played forfeits. Then recommended a separate fine structure for played forfeits. I realize that the RRRC doesn’t recognize a played or non-played forfeit but I’d like to help teams that are trying to play matches.
          • Dodge: We may consider adding in a number of what constitutes a 15s match or 7s match.
          • Young: Why do we want to meddle in played vs non-played forfeits? If USA or RRRC aren’t recognizing why are we being so specific?
          • Tate: I think we want to differentiate between a club not showing up at all vs teams trying to make the match happen. Do we want to fine one more than the other? The first of course means we have a confirmed referee and the host club may have put some money on the line. I would say that we can’t allow 7s matches to count, specifically due to our referee resource issue.
          • Parker: Yes, I agree with that, we can’t have 7s matches taking place of 15s matches. There has to be consequences if that happened including covering the cost of the referee.
          • Young: The policy used to be at least 12 players and that was in the USAR guidelines but it doesn’t appear to be present in there anymore.
          • Tate: So the next step would be to share this with the RRRC as they are also reviewing these policies for the next competitive cycle.
          • Parker: I want to be clear that I’m not trying to change their policy at all, just wanting to talk about the fine structure.
          • Tate: Understood and I’ll make that clear to the RRRC, this is just the financial portion.
        • What is a “written notice”?
          • Tate: I would recommend that we specifically recommend that “written notice” can be in the form of an email from the TRU President, TRU Admin or the Divisional Representative.
      • Grants
        • Austin Huns: $5740 paid / 2 = $2870
        • Jinnie Pratt
          • Tate: This was a digital vote and it was denied. For a touring 7s side attending Amsterdam 7s. We didn’t see enough return to the union on that investment.
    • USA Rugby Playoffs
      • D1M – Huns won Championship against NYAC 27-23, first D1 Championship since at least 1987
      • D1W – Austin Valkyries lost their first match 5-71 to Life West and won consolation 62-12 over Tempe
      • D2M – Little Rock lost their first match to Sacramento Blackhawks 47-49 and won consolation over Ventura 63-24
      • D2W – HARC lost their first match 14-62 to SFGG and won consolation 22-19 over St Louis Sabres
      • D3M – San Marcos won their first match over Chico 46-12 and lost to St Louis Royals 3-54
    • Competitions 2017-2018
      • Tate: Lots of new clubs, especially in the women’s side. This should translate into more players and more revenue for the TRU. But more matches means more referee strain. This is going to be a challenging year coming up and managing all of these clubs. The RRRC will set the cup schedules but we will need to a) spread out matches b) certify more referees from clubs c) other ideas?
    • New Clubs
      • Hawks Rugby Academy (7s) – APPROVED
      • Oklahoma Elite (7s) – DENIED
        • Tate: Oklahoma Elite’s organization was previously accepted into the union in 2015 on a probationary basis. The terms and restrictions on that admission were violated in the very first month. An application for readmission in 2016 was denied, based in particular on the prior violation of the terms of admission and past abuse of USA and TRRA referees by their coach, Jason Horowitz. The board felt that the Oklahoma Elite did not meet the standards we expect of our member clubs. The board’s opinion has not changed.
      • The Usual Suspects (Olde Boys) – PENDING input from club
      • Tyler (M) – PENDING input from club
      • Battleground RFC (M) – PENDING input from club
      • Oklahoma Crusaders (W) – PENDING input from club
      • Alliance (W) – PENDING input from club
      • Bay Area (W) – PENDING input from club
      • Dallas Reds (W) – PENDING input from club
        • Playing under Griffins banner for 7s
      • Austin Blacks (W) – PENDING input from club
      • San Antonio Rugby Lady Armadillos (W) – PENDING input from club
      • Tyler (W)  – PENDING input from club
        • Tomsak: Can we do the same thing we are talking about for the HS and youth matches, can the women’s matches be curtain raisers?
        • Tate: Yes, of course. We can also look at doing this for D4.
        • Young: Holly and I have tried year after year to play nice with the men’s schedule but the timing never seems to work out. The men’s schedule comes out a bit later than the women’s traditionally.
        • Green: I do want to point out the timeframe that it takes to properly train a referee. To think that we will have potentially nine new clubs but we are not able to train referees at that pace. It can take 1-2 years for new referees to be ready for a real cup match. We just had a training in Austin and I personally rang every coach of every team and we received one sign up from that.
        • Tomsak: What about putting a requirement on clubs to register referees at every club.
        • Tate: Yes, that has come up repeatedly over the 25 years. It has helped get refs certified but they don’t referee typically. If we looked at every “certified referee” we probably have 6-7 times more than we need. But they aren’t refereeing nor doing any training.
        • Green: Agreed, we really don’t want to force people to referee, it’s just a bad recipe.
        • Tate: We also need to be mindful of divisions and the number of matches (this is more for the RRRC), for instance 10 games vs 12 games for a whole league can be a BIG difference on referee resources. Scott, what is your guess on getting a referee ready for a Men’s D3 or Women’s D2 match for example?
          • Green: With minimal abuse from coaches and players we could do it in one season. I would recommend that we have a mass certification (like at the TRU summit) and then hold tournaments that are non-competitive on a bi-weekly basis. That would give us a huge opportunity to train referees and clubs can train in a lower pressure setting.
          • Tate: Yes, my brain was sort of going in that same direction. We’re talking about a men’s D4 development league with new clubs and some second sides. That could be an ideal place for this.
          • Young: The women have been having a tournament the last couple of years, we’re happy to host that again. We stopped doing it beacuse we didn’t have a “budget” as a TRU division. But perhaps we could work something out there?
          • Green: Yes, 100%, if we can do tournaments outside of the regular seasons that would be ideal. It’s the only way we can train referees in a short period of time.
          • Tate: Yes, in order for us to grow we have to have referees. So we need to invest some money in this.
          • Green: Yes, I’m happy to support a volunteer tournament. We would then ask our senior referees to act as coaches. I think it’s a great way to build rapport with the clubs as well.
          • Tate: Ok, we will work on that. That isn’t an angle I had considered for the new D4 league. Most likely we’d be looking at an October timeframe.
        • Young: I also think we need to put a deadline in place for all of these new clubs. Like we did for 7s?
        • Tate: Yes, we do need to that and more importantly it’s a deadline that the RRRC needs to enforce as well for competitions. I would say June 30. June 28 is the promotion and relegation deadline so they will be finalizing divisions very soon after that.
        • Young: Ok, I will communicate that to all of the pending clubs, due by June 30 or they risk being left out.

 

 

 

 

  • SWWC merging with Lonestar Women’s Conference
    • Young: They have merged and will be alerting the TRU very soon (Traci Young). They will be requesting any funds that the TRU has been holding and informing USA Rugby that their CIPPs will go to the LSWC.
      • UPDATE 6/20/2017: Traci Young confirmed by email the amount reserved for high performance was $2,600.
  • Reduce fees for college kids transferring to TRU for 7s?
    • Tate: This was a request from HARC. I was unsure what the percentage of players that actually move over was and wanted to query. This may put a “hole” in our revenue and I wanted to be careful of that.
    • Dodge: This only needs to be done for players that want to play on the qualifier teams. I would imagine this would impact the women more than the men.
    • Tomsak: This may also impact travel grants that we give to teams that make the next round.
    • Tate: We let HARC know that as of right now, no we aren’t waiving that fee. We know that retention from college to club is a problem and this may help improve retention. I’ve handled this in the past with the Huns and we requested a dollar amount from my club to cover CIPPs in this particular case. I then would identify players that we wanted to cover their CIPP as a way to close the deal on recruiting. Does anyone think we should consider waiving this fee for college 7s transfers? None.
      • Tate: If we consider this it should be quantified and built into the union budget so that we know it is included. We need to know this in advance and not as an extra budgetary expense.
  • Board Nominations
    • President – Sep 2017 (3 year term)
    • Vice President – Sep 2017 (3 year term)
    • Congress – Sep 2017 Yeoman (2 year term)
      • Tate: We will need to be opening nominations for these three positions and take statements. Then it will be electronic voting in time for folks to assume their positions on Sep 1, 2017. I am willing to stand for re-election. Drew, have you given thought to this?
      • Tomsak: Yes, but I would recommend that we stagger the President and Vice President.
      • Tate: Agreed. Now, Yeoman, what about you for Congress?
      • Yeoman: Yes, I will run again as well.
      • Yeoman: Next Congress meeting is early next month. If there are any concerns or issues let me know.
      • Tate: Yes, any word on registration or CIPP dues?
      • Yeoman: No, nothing should come this round. Dan Payne is reinitiating the dues committee and I’m a member. The only thing that is being kicked around right now is cost for living adjustment. But nothing has been officially proposed right now.
      • Tate: I would suggest that we open nominations July 10.
      • Tomsak: What about the term for President and Vice President staggering?
      • Young: We can’t do it before, it takes 30 days for a bylaw change.
      • Tate: Right, I think we do a bylaw change afterwards, we can just shorten your term. We can be very transparent about that at the AGM etc. So we need to also pick a weekend for the AGM towards the end of August. What about August 27?
      • Young: Ok, where do we want to host this? If we follow the rotation it would be North. Summit would be South (Houston) this year.
      • Tate: I would move that we do the Summer AGM in the DFW area on August 27.
      • Dodge: Second
      • Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
  • TRU Summit & HOF
    • Young: LSC Skills Clinic is 9/9 and they are open to working together. We would be looking for a host in houston.
    • Tate: So this would put the AGM after the fiscal year, we may want to do the AGM earlier. I move that we hold the TRU Summit & HOF weekend on Sep 9 weekend in the Houston area.
    • Tomsak: Second
    • Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
  • New TRRA Chairman
    • Tate: Welcome to Scott Green as the new TRRA Chairman. Thank you very much to Butch as the outgoing TRRA Chairman.
  • New Business
    • Referee Abuse
      • Tate: There were a number of referee abuse issues this weekend at Bloodfest. At least one involved a spectator, another with a fan, and another with a coach. I have concerns as we have see no disciplinary reports through our formal channels, just a summary email from Butch. For our disciplinary committee to do anything on any of these incidents we need reports from folks on the ground who were involved or witnessed these events. They need to fill out the required disciplinary reports so the TRU DC can review. On the larger cultural issue we can never stop reinforcing the values of the game and the culture that rugby should have.
      • Green: I’m not to sure about the reports as I wasn’t at Bloofest as I was busy certifying new referees. WE have instructed our referees that if a coach enters the playing field that the referee should immediately end the match and the team cannot participate in the tournament anymore. If a coach abuses a referee, the referee has been instructed to end the match immediately and the team is done for the day. If we are trying to grow the referee pool this is exactly what we can’t have. There are hundreds of players watching and we have to set the right example.
      • Tate: I had a conversation with Alan Sharpley earlier today, on the spectator side the TRU DC can’t do anything as they can only sanction CIPP’d members. From a union perspective we can develop a set of sanctions against clubs so they police their fans.
      • Green: I believe the issue is more with coaches and players this year. Coaches are not allowed on the playing field.
      • Tate: Ok, please encourage your referees to file a disciplinary report. We can sanction and suspend coaches (and we have in the past). We can obviously do the same for players. But the DC can’t act if they don’t get a report.
      • Green: Ok, I will talk with those referees and ask that they report immediately.
      • Tate: Yes, please have those reports submitted. I will also send out a reminder to all our members about the rugby values and what the expectations are.
      • Tate: Yes, we need to communicate this again to the members and re-emphasize what Scott has indicated. We also need to tell all of our clubs that we have officially encouraged the referee society to report any and all referee abuse.
      • Dodge: I’m going to also adjust the guidelines for the TOLA tournaments and include what Scott has included.
      • Green: We don’t want to do this but it’s getting to the point that coaches are getting out of hand. We’re having a hard enough time staffing these events in the first place.
    • High School Rugby (Brad DuLong)
      • Tate: A group of HS programs are looking to make some changes in how they are governed. They are interesting in the possibility of becoming TRU members. In full disclosure I haven’t even checked with USAR to see if that is doable.
      • DuLong: One we are looking for better direction and two we are looking to grow the U21 pilot program that was started last year. Third we want to grow our girls and boys programs to feed the men’s and women’s club programs. Right now it’s a few DFW clubs and one in Austin.
      • Tomsak: Shreveport would probably jump on that as well. We’re in the same boat, we’re stuck in Louisiana rugby out of New Orleans and we are fighting for resources and referees. I’ve been refereeing the HS matches since we can’t get anyone from LA.
      • DuLong: Tate and I also talked about aligning these clubs with club teams and they could be curtain raisers. This would help with referee resources and more rugby on the same day.
      • Tate: You’ve both brought up CIPP fees and referee help. Note that we wouldn’t be able to offer a monetary break to the teams and we’re also stressed for referees. I would want to be careful about assuming that joining the TRU would be a cure all. Drew, we may need to continue the help from the clubs, you mentioned refereeing yourself, this will have to continue. We are so pressed for referee resources.
      • Dodge: A lot of our available referees are still playing, but if we can combine some of these events, youth and HS that might work.
      • Tate: There are a lot of challenges with this and Brad and I have talked about this at length already. I don’t know what USA Rugby position would be either. But if the Board feels like this is worth exploring we need a volunteer or two to explore if this is logistically possible and how to go about it.
      • Tomsak: I think since Brad is pushing it, he makes sense to explore it.
      • DuLong: Yes, Kurt Weaver is the Youth Manager. But I know that SoCal has broken off and that is one angle we were going to look at.
      • Tate: Is anyone aware of a SRO that crosses state lines? Some of our areas, Little Rock, Oklahoma and SHreveport, it doesn’t really make sense to stay statewide there.
      • Tomsak: Right, financially for us it makes much more sense for us to travel to DFW or LR, traveling to LA is an overnight trip.
      • DuLong: What if you could put everyone on a bus (men, women and HS)? That would be a huge break on travel costs.
      • Tate; I’d be interested to hear what Scott or Butch feel about this topic…
      • Green: As far as sending referees out to Shreveport for HS rugby, there is no way we could commit to that. We struggle sometimes with finding a referee that will travel for a men’s match! We would recommend that Shreveport certify their club members and handle internally. Going forward we are recommending that HS and youth matches will be pushed off of Saturdays.
      • Tomsak: Yes, we are already covering them but would ask that they be at a central location.
      • Tate: Butch, Scott and I had lunch a few weeks ago and one major topic was the number of matches on Saturday. The solution seems to be move as many matches as we can off Saturdays, and the youth and HS have the means to do that. Or we have to find more referees that aren’t part of the referee pool or actively playing.
    • WTR Updates
      • Young: I talked with Who’s the Ref a few weeks ago as the referees were looking to make a few improvements to our process. In that discussion we talked about using their disciplinary module. USA Rugby is moving to this and it’s a perfect time to get this going before the fall and busy Spring. WTR should be adding the modules later this week and I’ll be working on getting everything updated so it works seamlessly. The biggest change is that we won’t have a “public” database on the website but users will need to logon to WTR to view the disciplinary reports. Email notifications to the DC and the TRU Board will still go out as they do now.
  • Adjourned (10:09pm)
    • Turner: Motion to adjourn
    • Tate: Second
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