TRU Board Notes – 7/24/17

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)
    • Tate
    • Yeoman
    • Parker
    • Turner
    • Dodge
    • Young
  • Follow Ups from last call
    • Website Redesign
      • Young: Tim is working on the site but is out of the country for a few months. Our goal is to have the new site up by the Summit. He did ask if we could all look at sites that we like and send examples so he can get started on a first round of design.
    • Fines
      • Euless outstanding
        • Tate: Euless is still outstanding and you may have noticed that the RRRC did not include them in any competitive structure. If they take care of their administrative business and become a club in good standing we will notify the RRRC. They have a challenge at this point as the RRRC committee had to move on without including them. They’ve been non responsive to queries to the RRRC and Wendy. They haven’t filed any appeal or make any notice of their relegation, complete silence. Unfortunately it would appear that Euless may no longer be a viable club…that is a shame.
    • Grants
      • Dallas Reds 1
      • Austin Huns 2
      • ARPTC (W) 1
      • Austin Valkyries (W) 2
        • Tate: We will be putting out travel grants to these clubs in accordance with our normal formulas. The Huns won’t get a lot as they hit their maximum with their 15s. I’ll notify Pfleger and have those checks sent.
        • Dodge: Is the formula the same as 15s?
        • Tate: The formulas is very similar to 15s but we’ve set different minimums. The minimum has been $50 per player for 28 player squad. Obviously we don’t do a 28 for 7s. The 7s policy that was approved last year was that 12 players x $50 = $600 as a minimum, more if they have more CIPP’d players.
          • Tate: We’ve already approved the policy but are there any objections to approving these grants and having our Treasurer issues the checks? None. APPROVED.
    • New Clubs
      • Tyler (M/W)
      • Battleground RFC (M)
      • Oklahoma Crusaders (W)
      • Alliance (W)
      • Bay Area (W)
      • Dallas Reds (W)
      • Austin Blacks (W)
      • San Antonio Rugby Lady Armadillos (W)
      • Alliance Cavalleros (W)
        • Tate: Throwing out an idea, what if we don’t accept these clubs but post a notice to all TRU members that we need clubs to send referees to be trained. We are basically at our max of teams and our referee ranks haven’t grown to match that.
        • Dodge: Or what if we start using disciplinary sanctions and require referee training to get back on the pitch?
        • Tate: I think we need to do all of that and it probably still isn’t enough. We have been asking for referees for years now and not really getting an adequate response. But we do want to be careful about sending out the wrong message to prospective players and teams. We want more rugby but we have to grow the support system.
        • Dodge: What if we have a stakeholders discussion and put clubs on notice. Clubs have to have cipp’d and active referees as well as using players that have been sanctioned and requiring that they take the referee courses.
        • Tate: We can have that discussion at the AGM and get a consensus on a plan. That will be good because we will have a referee course at the Summit three weeks later.
        • Parker: We’ve tried the policy of having registered referees on clubs and most of the D3 clubs were compliant. But if we came up with a policy every team generally makes their best effort.
        • Tate: Yeah, I’ve got 5 or 6 guys at San Marcos that do our youth games in the morning and then play in the afternoon. This is good but it doesn’t solve our referee shortage.
        • Parker: No, but we may pick up a couple from that. Like we’ve said, we can get people to the courses but we’re struggling to get them on the pitch to do games.
        • Tate: So let’s get back to the new clubs, do we want to give approval to all these clubs? Of course they need to register their club in August and register their players. Or do we want to make it contingent on this referee question?
        • Dodge: I think we have to have Scott Green’s input on that question.
        • Tate: Wendy, what do you think? Since Scott isn’t on the call…
        • Young: I don’t know that we hold clubs “hostage”, that is unprecedented for me. I do acknowledge that we have a referee shortage and that does need to be addressed but I don’t think we should hold clubs back.
        • Tate: Right, Scott and I have talked about this quite a bit, if we can get him the bodies, he will get them trained. My main concern isn’t the top games but the two new divisions as we do not have the coverage at this time. And these clubs are waiting for an answer…
        • Dodge: I hear you, these clubs filed their applications and there wasn’t a policy in place to have referees on their roster etc.
        • Tate: Right, we can accept them but add that referee coverage may be contingent on them helping recruit future referees  or play on Sundays or in the fall etc.
        • Young: I do agree that we could say that Men’s D4 and Women’s D3 play on Sunday.
        • Tate: Right, but we need to be sensitive that that is almost just pushing the problem away. We would then be asking referees to work multiple days and that could accelerate burnout and strain on families. So that can’t be a long term solution but it may get us through this first season of new clubs and divisions. My inclination is to accept the teams but give them the heads up that the key to having referees and the schedule when they would like is to make sure that they are contributing to the referee pool.
        • Young: The truth is that we get referees from rugby clubs. We don’t very often get them from other sports and the learning curve is pretty strong. Clubs have to push their players to take the courses and become referees.
        • Dodge: I make a motion that we approve all of the above clubs on the condition that they register their clubs with USA Rugby (upon opening of the CIPP cycle) and register the required number of players. We will also encourage the teams that they need to meet all TRU requirements and contribute to the referee pool.
        • Turner: Second.
          • Dodge: Quick clarification on the Hawks? Did we admit them as a 15s or 7s?
          • Tate: Right, they are 7s only.
          • Young: They are a 7s only club.
        • Tate: Any other discussion? None. APPROVED.
    • Nominations
    • HS Rugby
      • Tate: I spoke with USA Rugby about this and was told that this could not happen. If the high schools that are involved want to pursue it further that is up to them. Or if any of the Board members want to take this on…
      • Dodge: I think we should work in tandem with them but I guess long live the silos…according to USA Rugby.
      • Tate: I think when it comes to structural organization USA Rugby has a lot on their plate right now. I think we wait and see how things shake out at the National office.
      • Yeoman: In the Congress meetings the “silo” word is taboo. From the retention survey it was very clear that there does need to be a coming together. But someone hasn’t gotten a plan together on how all the conferences talk and integrate. That is still up for innovation and collaboration at this point.
    • AGM
      • Young: The AGM this year will be co-hosted with Alliance at Trinity River Distillery on Aug 27 (SUNDAY).
        • Young: Brad Dulong has been so helpful with Alliance and found us a location for the AGM. I greatly appreciate his assistance!
      • Draft Agenda
    • Summit
      • Young: Working with a few potential locations and hoping to have the location nailed down soon. More details will be posted on the TRU website. We will also be working with the Lone Star Collegiate skills camp as our players to help with the coaching and referee course requirements.
    • HOF
      • Conf Call
        • Tate: Wendy and I attended a TRU HOF call with the current inductees. We did agree on that call for a process going forward on a HOF selection committee. Last year we made an adhoc committee but this year it is more formal. The HOF selection committee will be the existing HOF members and the TRU Board. We did this so we have the existing HOF inductees and their knowledge and contacts with earlier members of the TRU as well as current TRU Board members. The committee also includes Doug Corrigan as this was his initiative. We are already accepting nominations and the selection committee will have a call before the HOF where a representative will speak on behalf of each nominee and then a digital vote. The maximum size of the class this year is 10 but it could be less. Next year will be discussed but the initial thought was a class of five.
      • TRU Foundation
        • Tate: That application is almost complete and will be submitted to the IRS. We need select an initial board for the Foundation and I’ve reached out to the current HOF members. I’ve had a couple of responses from folks that are interested. If any of you have people that you think would be ideal or an interest in yourself, let me know.
          • Tate: Once the application is submitted we are considered “active” on a probationary status. The IRS can take 15-18 months to review and approve. We can accept donations once the application is submitted but we will want to make sure that we escrow a chunk of the money to cover any potential legal fees. Question?
          • Dodge: Can I go over the documents?
          • Tate: Sure, I can have a copy of them sent to you.
          • Dodge: Before we actually file are we going to take a final vote?
          • Tate: We can but I don’t know it’s necessary. Whatever you all would like to do!
  • Katy Rebranded as West Houston Lions
    • Tate: Just an FYI, they’ve rebranded.
  • Mullen (disciplinary report)
    • Tate: We dealt with this on an electronic vote and agreed that we would probate the remaining three matches of his sanction provided that he referee 7s tournaments to meet that sanction. He can go ahead and play. If he doesn’t referee any tournaments he will serve a 3 game suspension when 15s begins.
    • Dodge: Mullen and his club have been informed of that already?
    • Tate: I believe so but I’ll double check.
  • High Performance Coaching NZ – Mere Baker
    • Sample flyer
    • Sample schedule
      • Young: Mere Baker is helping with Oklahoma Rugby this year and is also part of the NZ High Performance Coaching group. They have been running clinics in Oklahoma and want to start offering them in Texas. The camps are $250 per player and are open to M/W of all ages (including youth).
      • Tate: As far as us doing it through the TRU I’m not sure what my response to that is right now. I do know that I don’t have the bandwidth to monitor or push that. I would suggest that if the Board is interested in working with Mere on this that someone step forward and put their hand up to gather more details.
      • Turner: Off topic but what came about of working with Darren Morris?
      • Tate: Yes, we talked about doing that but it never really came together. Part of that is on me or us for not being proactive. I think it would be a good thing long term for the TRU to continue as a rugby provider year round to educate and improve the quality of rugby. I’m a little concerned about doing that piece meal with whomever comes down the pipe. Does that make sense?
      • Dodge: Yes.
      • Tate: I’d love someday to have the time to put down a comprehensive plan for how the TRU can leverage our resources to provide development services. I think we’re going to need a partner because we don’t have the bandwidth. But I’d rather sit down and come up with a plan.
  • Forfeits policy?
    • Parker: I sent some thoughts out a few weeks ago but didn’t hear anything.
    • Dodge: Can you re-circulate and I’ll send you my thoughts?
  • New Business
    • Congress
      • USA Rugby Retention Study
        • Yeoman: We’ve been told that the full results of this study will be discussed this weekend.
        • Dodge: Will that be made public?
        • Yeoman: I believe so, we want to keep people in the game and so that needs to be made aware.
      • Dues Increase
        • Yeoman: This is still being thrown around, the current number is $5 per player.
      • Board Seats
        • Yeoman: We will be looking to affirm or not affirm a Chad Keck this weekend. There has been lots of chatter out there so if you have questions, please let Ron or I know.
    • TRU U23 Development and All Star Program
      • Tate: This is a proposal from Rick Medina. Last year we tried to do a U20 TRU program and we couldn’t come up with three teams to do that. The issue is still how do we get players from HS and College to play Senior rugby? How do we capture these players that fall out of the sport? Rick is with the Austin Blacks and he also coaches the Lake Travis HS program as well as being involved with the Rugby Texas HP program. The main idea is to move it up to U23 and change the schedule to be fall/spring as development. Then May is round robin matches and potentially a tour abroad. It would be open to players 18-22, whether they are playing club, college, or not at all. To kick this off there is a tour next month and he’s got 22-23 kids interested in playing. Note he is requesting a year long budget of $15,000. He is expecting som sponsorships and will be requiring players to contribute as well if they are selected for the Bermuda portion of the tour. Flo Sports is interested in broadcasting the games and would provide us with an opportunity to sell ad time to sponsors.
        • Young: This is just for males?
        • Tate: Yes, first year it is for males. There is no reason it couldn’t be expanded to the women in the future. We did approve a budget for women’s and men’s All Stars last year and approximately $3400 of that is unused.  The women’s all star event took place but a men’s event did not.
        • Young: Yes and Drew and I are in the midst of planning for an event in November 2017 again (the women).
          • Dodge: Yes and didn’t we get a credit from T5.5 for streaming?
          • Tate: Yes, I need to follow up on that.
        • Dodge: Will any of these players be affiliated with the TRU? Or are they all HS and college players?
        • Tate: I don’t have a complete list but my impression is that these are guys that are playing college or not playing at all.
        • Turner: If they are not TRU members then I make a motion that we do not give them anything.
        • Dodge: We did give some funds last year for a U20 pilot but that was a bit different as it was going after kids that weren’t playing in college or HS. Those that fall through the cracks…This is a big ask! This is a complete startup with no track record.
        • Tate: It sounds like if we are interested in this at all that we would need to know who these players are?
        • Dodge: Not really who they are but rather if they are TRU members.
        • Tate: I don’t understand why the focus here is on if they are TRU members? By definition of U23 that would rule them out as TRU members. If we are looking to grow the game and build retention, this could be a way.
        • Dodge: I think the bigger issue is what is the longevity of this program? Tate: It’s always a risk with a new program..
        • Turner: My vote is to table this.
        • Dodge: If we table this until the next meeting do we cause harm?
        • Tate: Yes, it would cause problems with their intended tour to Bermuda.e needs some kind of an answer ASAP. Why don’t I get with Rick and see if I can get a list of names?
        • Turner: I think we need to come up with an overall brand strategy for the TRU. Just throwing money at this doesn’t mean we are necessarily growing the game. We need to come up with a larger plan and maybe this fits in as a piece.
        • Tate: In broad details could you provide a plan?
        • Turner: Not tonight but perhaps in the future.
        • Yeoman: I would encourage you to review the USA Rugby 2020 plan and to speak with George Henderson. I think having an overall strategy plan for the Union is awesome but it should align with USA Rugby as well.
  • Adjourned (10:38pm)
    • Dodge: Motion to adjourn
    • Parker: Second
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