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TRU Board Notes – 6/18/2018

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:

    1. Roll Call
      1. Young
      2. Dodge
      3. Parker
      4. Tate
      5. Green
      6. Turner
      7. James
      8. Tomsak
        1. Regrets
    2. Followups
      1. Competitions
        1. Houston Arrows at Galveston 4/0718 – Ineligible player / PAID 6/6
      2. USA Rugby Div 3 Champions – Austin Blacks
      3. TOLA 7s
        1. Referee Training
          1. Tate: We’d had some talks around referee training but it doesn’t look like we’ll have anything for Bloodfest. I believe Dodge is working on some things in the North. Is there any update?
          2. Dodge: I was trying to get something going on 6/29 around the Harlequins HS 7s tournament in Richardson, TX. Unfortunately, I got confirmation that there are no trainers available that weekend. I’ve since been thinking we would move the training event to 8/18. That is the same date as Midnight 7s and we could do the training in the morning and then handle the evening tournament. We realize that this doesn’t really get many people trained but looking forward I’d recommend we do the “training” tournaments again in early fall like we did last year.
          3. Tate: Having a training on 8/18 might be tough since we have the Summit planned for the next weekend. I’d like us not to compete with ourselves if we can avoid it. But getting referees in the North area has to be a top priority.
          4. Green: I was under the impression that there was going to be a group of Dallas referees coming to Bloodfest and that would kick off the entire season. We already have a World Rugby Educator coming in. I received an email that no referees are coming.
            1. Green: Having a training in late August is not beneficial, one event is not going to do it. The original plan was to use all of the TOLA events as training grounds. This was the ONLY reason we agreed to cover TOLA events.
          5. Dodge: I’m sorry I didn’t get the numbers for a training at Bloodfest. I didn’t realize that a World Rugby Educator was being brought in. I didn’t understand that it was a trade-off to have TOLA events covered.
          6. Tate: Ok, Scott are you aware of anyone coming to Bloodfest to be trained as a referee?
          7. Green: No.
          8. Tate: Ok, so we are not using Bloodfest as a training ground after all. Ok, so is there any point in attempting to get people to come to Bloodfest and get trained? If we get bodies there can we do some training?
          9. Green: Of course but we’re 5 days out.
            1. Green: I just got off the phone and the Educator can still come. So if we can get the bodies there we can have a training.
            2. Young: Scott, can you get me the details? I can send out a blast.
            3. Green: Yes.
          10. Tate: I realize that but we have to keep going, we can’t stop recruiting referees. Perhaps we’ll talk about this more when we get to D4 in the agenda. I do think we need to keep creating opportunities for people to train as referees and we must keep recruiting referees.
            1. Tate: We are having a referee course at the Summit in August and perhaps we can squeeze in a course in Dallas this summer. What can we do to get these people ready sooner rather than later? We have Men’s D4 and Women’s D3 that we can control the schedule on. Do we need to fly in referee coaches or gather other referee resources?
            2. Dodge: Was there a plan in place for after the Summit?
            3. Tate: Not yet, we did the warm up tournaments last year and that seemed to work.
            4. Dodge: What if we did a smaller gold cup event in the DFW area in the fall?
            5. Young: What about MD4 and WD3 on Sundays?
            6. Tate: I’m open to that as well and we did some of that this past season. But that would be training referees parallel instead of preparing them.
            7. Green: With whatever happens with the LSC we could have a really light fall season. Why don’t we look at MD4 and WD3 in the fall and it can be all about training. We wouldn’t be competing with MD1 and MLR is kicking off earlier in 2019…that takes some of the extra ARs and #4s that were being used.
            8. Tate: Yes. I know that some clubs would be perfectly fine with MD4 in the fall but some teams are fielding two sides and struggling. Wendy, what do you think about WD3 in the fall?
            9. Young: I think it could work, one WD3 team has already requested it. I also believe most women’s teams want to go back to a split season as well.
            10. Tate: OK, so we could look at a MD4, WD3 and some WD1/WD2 matches as well in the fall. I would suggest that we should probably poll our MD4 clubs and their intentions. We can also ask if they want to do a fall or a split season. Ok, Wendy and I will poll the MD4/WD3 teams about options for the fall/split season.
        2. TOLA Commissioner
          1. Tate: We still need a TOLA commissioner?
          2. Dodge: Yes, Keuppens just put up something on social media, if we can share that around that would be helpful.
      4. RRRC Promotion & Relegation Results
        1. Tate: The RRRC Competitions Committee granted the request of Little Rock, Tulsa and Oklahoma City’s men’s sides to move from the Red River competitive region to the Frontier competitive region. They will join a competition that also includes the Arkansas Gryphons (Fayetteville), Wichita Barbarians, and Springfield RFC. That is a regional D2 competition that these clubs requested and they felt that it made sense for them. The RRRC and Frontier have reviewed these requests and granted them. It is still subject to approval by the USA Rugby National Competitions Committee and Club Strategic Committee. Dodge and I talked about this the other day and our opinion is that it is unlikely that NCC and CSC will object. This raises the question of what geographic union do these clubs pay their dues to and what geographic union is responsible for referees? Wichita and Springfield intend to stay in Mid-America. Arkansas Gryphons had originally asked to join the TRU but it sounds like they will stay with Mid-America as well. That leaves the question of OKC, Little Rock and Tulsa and their geographic union. Do we allow them to remain TRU members and TRRA covers their home matches? Or do they all join Mid-America.
          1. Tate: I did an analysis of all the matches and what referees handled the matches. Rod Puentes (CIPP’d with TRRA) and Sean Denny (CIPP not completed with TRRA) covered the majority of the matches. There were four games done by referees that were flown in and the remainder were handled by a mix of exchange refs from Mid-America, Mid-South and one game by Jason Pollack (he has moved to Arkansas Gryphons). So we had as many games done by exchange referees as covered by TRRA. The OKC referees only did games in Oklahoma or Arkansas, so if those two referees join the Mid-America society it is a zero loss. I personally don’t see a benefit of these clubs to stay in the TRU. To me it makes more sense to have those clubs under one umbrella and one geographic union. Luke, based on my analysis can you tell us what you agree with or don’t?
          2. Turner: I think your analysis is right on, assuming that the NCC and CSC approves the proposal then I think it does make the most sense that we’re all in the same geographic union and competitive region.
          3. Tate: Ok, so until this is approved we’re still talking in theory. If the NCC or CSC we’re back to square one (you could appeal). If they do approve it, should we conditionally endorse these three clubs moving to Mid-America…which of course Mid-America will have to agree with. Does this conditional approval save us time down the road so we don’t have to do an online vote or a special call?
            1. Dodge: Just from a scheduling standpoint I’d like us to go ahead and take a conditional vote. I agree with Kirk, I do believe that the NCC or CSC will approve. I’ve also been texting with KJ Abel and they are just running some numbers on referees etc. I motion that we allow Little Rock, OKC and Tulsa MEN to be released from the TRU (conditioned on the approval of NCC and CSC).
            2. Turner: I’ll second the motion if no one else has any thoughts.
            3. Tomsak: What are we going to do about Luke’s position on the board?
            4. Tate: Actually Luke’s spot terms out this summer and would remain a member of the board. If approved we’d call for nominees and fill his spot.
            5. Dodge: We will need to fill his spot on the RRRC quickly as we’re getting into scheduling etc.
            6. Tate: FYI, this doesn’t affect the women, Little Rock has confirmed that they will participate with the TRU. OKC doesn’t quite have the numbers and will continue to grow. Tulsa is playing socially this year and not in any competition. Any other discussion? Any objections? None. CONDITIONALLY APPROVED.
      5. New Clubs
        1. Arkansas Gryphons – Rescinded as they will stay with Mid-America
        2. NOLA 7s
          1. Tate: Approved by TRU/RRRC but will remain in their geographic union. It was determined that they didn’t have to join the TRU. They’ve agreed to do an additional surcharge on top of their qualifying tournament entry fees to cover additional referee costs.
        3. Phil Beck New Club (7s) – No application received yet
    3. Grants
      1. Patrick Medina – USA U20 Camp
        1. Young: Email vote was held and Board approved a $250 grant.
    4. OzTag
      1. Tate: This is an organization that does formal touch rugby competitions. They are looking to partner with local unions to promote their brand of touch rugby. I will be meeting with Rick Medina to go over details. Wendy, I know you’ve spoken with Rick more recently than I have.
      2. Young: Yes, I’ve had a few conversations with Rick on this. It’s a really cool version of touch rugby from Australia. We’ve talked about it for years, wanting a touch league but haven’t had the time or dedication to get it off the ground. This would be another option to grow the game but wouldn’t dilute our current player base. The target of this version would be those that haven’t been exposed to rugby or are past their tackling days. They offer youth, club, family and co-ed leagues.
      3. Tate: Wendy touched on something important here, we want to make sure we aren’t burdening players and referees.
      4. Parker: I’d say I’m interested in the proposal, it’s an intriguing idea.
      5. Dodge: Does the OzTag come in and organize everything?
      6. Young: Yes, there is a small registration fee and that covers the players uniform and OzTag organizing the leagues.
      7. Tomsak: I can see how this would help us grow the game.
      8. Young: It absolutely helps with retention and we can help those that want to play tackle find a club etc. We also talked about using it to help recruit referees, we wouldn’t want to take from the current pool but what better way to introduce someone to refereeing?
      9. Tate: Ok, I’ll get with Rick and discuss this a bit further. We’re open to the idea and we’ll get some more details.
    5. Dues Increase
      1. Tate: Here is my concern, I have watched USA Rugby over the years not make changes. Then when they get into financial changes they are forced to make huge changes. I’m of the opinion that some small incremental cost of living increases are a good idea. I’m concerned with USA Rugby’s hardships we may be getting a big spike in USA Rugby dues coming down the pike and it will be that much harder to do anything on our end. This was also the first year we didn’t grow in numbers year over year (at least four years). Our incomine has flattened out and is slightly down while expenses continue to rise. I would like to do $5 increase of dues. I know that with previous discussions there wasn’t a lot of appetite to do that but to continue being responsible we have to do it. I can’t unilaterally do it but I’d like support of the board. I’ve requested a summary of where we are from Dave P. and I will be sending that via email soon. I would like to have discussion over email over the next few weeks and we can determine in our July meeting. We must do this pre-August before the CIPP cycle begins for the year. I believe we should be having this discussion every June, every year. Any discussion, thoughts or concerns?
      2. Tomsak: I don’t think a $5 increase is out of line, that’s a small price to pay.
      3. Tate: Sure, it comes out to about an extra $12,000 a year for the TRU.
      4. Tomsak: And we are going to lose out on the three clubs that are moving to Mid-America.
      5. Tate: Right, so it’s about an increase of $10,000. It also means we don’t have to cover those referees and the travel for those was substantial.
      6. Dodge: If someone comes to me and asks “why are we increasing dues and where does that money go?” I’d like to be able to specifically give them answers. I know that the referee contract was re-negotiated last year but are we looking at another for next year? That is our biggest line item, do we anticipate another change there?
      7. Tate: That is a good question, I haven’t had a conversation with Scott about next year. I’m operating under the impression that things will get more expensive.
        1. Green: We’re not anticipating any increase of fees for next year, it will remain consistent.
      8. Tate: I will say that the Summit and HOF were quite expensive. Between Harvey and rescheduling the HOF and this year’s Summit…that is 2 Summits and 2 HOFs in one fiscal year. With creating MD4 and WD3 there are more games to cover and that means more cost for referees. Referee costs have gone up because we are playing more games, not because of any negotiation.
      9. Dodge: So the answer to my question is that they are getting more for their money. I would consider having to eat 2 HOF/Summits as an anomaly.
      10. Tate: I hope so, part of it was a hurricane and we moved it because of the Women’s Rugby World Cup too. I think it should be an anomaly but you will see the impact of that when we go through the financials. Ok, when I get the financials from Dave I will share them with everyone and we can begin discussions.
    6. LSC Association Renegade Rugby Referees
      1. Tate: Rumors have it that the LSC Men are attempting to organize a referee society. Ironically they are registered under the TRU. My opinion is that this can only be bad for the Lone Star Conference and the TRU. For one, I don’t like the idea of another referee society competing and/or taking our young referees. We’ve put quite an investment in place with cameras, support of the Stellenbosch Academy etc. This will only dilute the available pool of referees. I don’t know that we can stop this other than communicating our non-support to USA Rugby. I certainly have no interest in having their referee society under our umbrella. If referees are going to CIPP under this I will route those funds directly to TRRA. Does anyone disagree with that position?
      2. Dodge: Do we actually know what is going on there?
      3. Tate: Shayne is angry, they believe they’ve been given the short side of the stick. They don’t believe they have been given the number of quality of referees that they have a right to expect. Rather than recruiting people and steering them towards TRRA that they will be able to get better service by creating their own referee organization and recruiting their own referees.
      4. Green: I think the big part of their motivation is to get referees for the least amount of money. They just aren’t aware of the real costs behind recruiting and training a referee. If I pay a referee $70 dollars, LSC wants to pay $70 as well. They’ve missed out on the developmental side of things.
      5. Tate: Long story short they don’t believe they are getting the value for their money. They could support TRRA and help recruit referees or DIY. I think it’s going to be unfortunate for the Collegiate conference and the referees that join their association. The way USA Rugby has structured things I don’t believe we have veto power but we don’t have to actively assist it.
      6. Green: The USA Rugby Referee Department doesn’t support this at all either.
      7. Tate: I wouldn’t expect them to. There is the potential that they won’t be able to pull it off or USA Rugby will tell them no. Of course, LSC can come back to the table and receive services with TRRA and we will still have a congested fall season. I don’t think we should let this issue change anything that we’ve just talked about. Anyone disagree?
        1. Parker: I agree.
        2. Dodge: Yes, we have to spread the matches out.
    7. Board Nominations
      1. President – Sep 2020 (3 year term)
      2. Vice President – Sep 2019 (3 year term)*
      3. DI M Rep – Sep 2019 (3 year term)
      4. W Rep – Sep 2019 (3 year term)
      5. DII M Rep – Sep 2018 (3 year term)
      6. DIII M Rep – Sep 2018 (3 year term)
      7. Congress – Sep 2018 Watson (2 year term)
      8. Congress – Sep 2019 Yeoman (2 year term)
        1. *Board approved term be shortened one time so we can make sure President and VP are staggered. Will remain a 3 year term.
      9. Tate: We have two board seats and a congress seat terming out this fall. We need to post a call for nominations soon and allow for questions/presentations at the Summer AGM. Wendy, let’s post a call for nominations in the next two weeks. Online voting can be the week after the AGM and seated for the first TRU Board call in September.
    8. New Business
      1. TRU MD4/WD3
        1. Dodge: Have we set a deadline for teams to indicate their participation?
        2. Tate: We haven’t, what about Aug 1 or Sep 1?
        3. Dodge: I’m thinking of the budget here…if we do Sep 1 that is to late for seeing costs changes.
        4. Tate: Wendy and I were going to poll the teams over this week but there is a difference between intent and actuality. If a club comes to us on Sep 15 and says we had way more players than we thought…can we get in? I doubt that we would turn them down.
        5. Dodge: I’m thinking more about new new clubs and how that affects CIPP revenue. Secondly from a competition standpoint and scheduling…do we leave the fall window open for MD4 and WD3? Trying to be aware of the referee resource issue and all that.
        6. Tate: I think we need a declaration of intent as soon as possible. With the dues discussion we just had, maybe we say July 15?
        7. Dodge: Yea, because if we’re looking to start fall schedules in late Sep or early Oct we’ve really got to have firm commitments by August.
        8. Tate: From a scheduling standpoint, we absolutely need the intent. Wendy, can we ask the MD4 and WD3 for a declaration of intent by July 15?
        9. Young: Yes, we can ask about the fall and declarations at the same time.
        10. Tate: Great, that will give us all the information going into our July board call.
    9. Meeting Adjourned (9:38 PM)
      1. Dodge: Move we adjourn.