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TRU Board Notes – 1/20/20

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. Kurylas
      3. O’Gara
      4. Roche
      5. Tomsak
      6. Tate
      7. Hiller
        1. Regrets
          1. Dodge
          2. Whitman
      8. Follow Ups
        1. Rugby Texas
          1. Tate: I haven’t gotten a meeting scheduled with them yet, so right now it’s theoretical parties are interested. 
        2. USAR Reorg
          1. Tate: The USA committee looking at reorganizing the union has been formed and is meeting. We had an internal meeting last week and then we met with Mike Friday and USMNT 7s with other stakeholder calls scheduled for the rest of the week. We’re gathering data and information as we’re in the planning stage. There have been concerns that there isn’t enough representation and/or that the aggressive time frame is moving too fast. 
            1. Tate: In the meantime, the GU leaders are going ahead and contingency planning to a future state if USAR wasn’t in the picture. That is probably smart because even if the reorg goes well, there may be things that USAR isn’t providing. There is a push to “decentralize” and push obligations down the GUs. So there is a group that is looking into insurance, competition management and so forth. I’m hoping I can get someone else from the Board to help represent the TRU in those discussions. Between that business, reorg business, coaching St. Eds and my professional life…I’m tapped out and need some help. I sent an email to the Board re that last week and I’m hoping someone from the Board can participate in those discussions. Please contact me offline if you’re interested or have any questions.
        3. USAR CIPP Payments
          1. Tate: We’re caught up as of January 13 and have been paid in full. Dues are still coming in and we expect another payment next month. Obviously USAR is still in a tight spot financially so we do need to keep an eye on how that is progressing.
        4. Membership numbers
          1. Tate: In anticipation of budget planning and the AGM this weekend, I started doing the research on our membership numbers. [Kirk began sharing his screen]. So far as of today we have 1,969 players and at this time last year we had 1,958. Men are down by about 30 and women are up by 50. So we’re on track to match last year’s revenue or exceed it slightly. It may seem all doom and gloom but when you look at the data, it’s a better picture. Our future is uncertain though and so we are moving more into a conservative spending space. 
        5. 2019-2020 Budget
          1. Tate: I confess that I’ve been so busy that I haven’t done much work on the budget. Two things there, we were waiting on CIPP funds from USAR and I’ve been focused on the various USAR meetings. As far as our revenue targets, we are on target. 
        6. CMS Compliance
          1. Roche: We had 100% compliance last week! We’re missing one team this week but it’s still pretty awesome. We still have an outstanding fee from San Antonio from 12/7. Roche: UPDATE 1/21: San Antonio is now current.
        7. Women’s Rep Nominations
          1. Young: Three nominations came in, Britt McGhee from Austin Valkyries, Nick James from HARC and Marie Foster from Denton. I have their paperwork and will get that up on the website and will also invite them to the AGM on Sunday.
          2. Tate: Great, we will give them space at the AGM and then we can open voting directly after.  Young: UPDATE 1/21: Posted and notified each one that they are encouraged to attend the AGM. http://texasrugbyunion.com/2020/01/21/2020-interim-tru-board-womens-rep-nominees-voting/
        8. WD3 Club Viability Fees
          1. Alliance W – 10 players
          2. Denton W- 7 players
          3. Grand Prairie W – 10 players
              1. Young: A reminder that we allowed a bit more time and relaxed the numbers requirement for the WD3 teams to grow (extended until January 15 and require 12 players). Unfortunately they didn’t reach the goal of 12 players even with the extended time. They are growing and the new format is working, so that is great news!
              2. Tate: They didn’t quite get there but they did grow slightly. So the question is whether or not we want to refund their viability fee, forfeit or give them more time. Anyone have any thoughts?
              3. Kurylas: What’s the cost of referees for this group? We’ve taken in ~$1,350 in player CIPP dues.
              4. Tate: Typically the cost for a referee is billed at $200 a game to the TRU, but the answer is a bit different for this group since they are playing round robins.
              5. Kurylas: They’ve had three events and there are two more planned. 
              6. Roche: It’s $200 for every match excluding men’s D1 or HP. So we’ve been billing that amount for WD3 as well. It’s one referee that handles the 3-4 7s matches that are being played and we’re considering the “event” as a game. So the billing is the same.
              7. Tate: Ok, that makes sense. Right now their referee costs are being covered by the player CIPP fees and we’re going to be pretty close to break even. We’re not going to lose money if we refund the viability fees at this point.
              8. Roche/Tate: So player CIPP fees are $50, for a total of $1,350. 7 events times $200 is $1,400. So they are 1 player short of dues if you want to look at it that way. 
              9. Tate: The point being, refunding the viability deposit isn’t going to leave us in the hole for referee expenses. I am certainly all about encouraging growth and so I’m comfortable refunding it if the Board is.
              10. Tomsak: I motion to refund the club viability fee that was paid in.
                1. Tate: I second. Any objections? None. APPROVED. Young: UPDATE 1/21: Refunds sent
        9. AGM Reminder – Jan 26
          1. Tate: We have our virtual mid-year meeting on Sunday. Last year it was 2 ½ hours and we gave an update on essentially the State of the Union. We answered plenty of questions; I expect with the USAR reorg, we may have more questions about the future. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of answers, playoffs and championships this year will be the same but the future is unknown.
          2. Young: We have 30 people signed up!
    2. Grants
      1. Lauren Patterson – 2020 WRWCA Rugby Conference
        1. Tate: We have a request from Lauren as she attended the WRWCA Rugby Conference this past weekend. We’ve typically given $250 for these types of events. I would go ahead and make a motion that we approve a motion of $250.
          1. Kurylas: Second.
          2. Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    3. Huns D3 Protest of Dec. 14, 2019 Match v. ORC – Dustin Hagemann, Ineligible Player
      1. Young: This came from the RRRC meeting last week: [A majority of the RRRC Committee determined that ORC played an ineligible player in their Dec. 14, 2019 match v. Huns D3, and that the penalty of a 28-0 forfeit of the match should be imposed on ORC, which will also result in ORC receiving -1 competition points for the match. A majority of the Committee voted to recommend that the TRU Board not impose a fine on ORC.]
        1. Tate: This ruling comes from the RRRC committee, ORC played an ineligible player and as a result that match was declared a forfeit with a -1 in competition points. They are still eligible for playoffs. They have recommended that the TRU NOT impose a fine. In the past our practice in a situation like this where a fine is NOT recommended, the fine is probated. Essentially if they go through the rest of the season without an issue, the fine is waived. If they do have another issue, the fine is assessed and they are eligible for additional sanctions. The most recent example is Euless. 
          1. Tomsak: I motion that we probate the fine.
            1. Kurylas: Second.
            2. Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    4. Alliance dropping D2 side, will play D3 and D4
      1. Tate: Another notice from the RRRC Committee. Alliance had requested to drop from D2 and D4 and there was lots of discussion on email including the TRU Board. It was determined that Alliance would remain in D3 and D4. Going back to the data, they have 44 registered players and they should have the numbers to meet both divisions. They were given that decision and it was accepted. Another part of the rationale was that the D3/D4 seasons had already started but D2 hadn’t so it was easy to remove them from that schedule.
    5. Tyler dropping from MD4
      1. Tate: Tyler has requested to drop from the MD4 division due to lack of numbers and we’ve already seen a few transfer requests from them. They are still a club “in good standing” and can play friendlies or socially if they desire.
      2. Kurylas: We had some discussion around this on the RRRC call and it sounds like we are looking at recommending a club viability fee for clubs wanting to add another side. I’m working on that language and we should have updated language soon.
      3. Tate: That sounds interesting, I don’t want to deter clubs to grow but it can really negatively affect other clubs when a team drops out at the last minute. So John, if you’ll take a look at that, please run it by both groups.
    6. Summit/HOF
      1. Location
        1. Fort Worth
          1. Tate: We’ve decided that we’ll be honoring the 2000 Fort Worth RFC National Championship team. We’re looking for a location in Fort Worth or DFW to hold the Summit and HOF. If anyone has any insight or suggestions, please let us know. We’ll be evaluating venues and the Summit requirements include meeting rooms, field space and player participants.
          2. Roche: I’ve been looking up spaces and would be interested if anyone has any insight into the Stockyard area. 
          3. Tate: I love that area!
          4. Tomsak: It’s a great area to go out on the town.
          5. Tate: If we can find some field space nearby, I’m all about it.
          6. Roche: Cool, I will look into it further.
      2. Date
        1. Aug 22 or Aug 29
          1. Young: Olympics are July – Aug 9 and club 7s were Aug 10-11 last year, so we should avoid anything earlier than Aug 22 I think.
          2. Tate: We’ll be looking towards the end of August as usual. As Wendy states, we will want to avoid the Olympics and Club 7s. So we’re targeting Aug 22 or Aug 29. Unless someone has a specific objection we will go with whichever one seems best. 
          3. Roche: I looked up events and there doesn’t appear to be anything…
      3. HOF Nominations
        1. Tate: We don’t have a date but will be opening reasonably soon. Paul Mabry will be handling that and will let us know soon. I would encourage members to be thinking of folks that they’d like to nominate for the HOF.
    7. TRU Board Responsibilities & Expectations
      1. Young: We always get questions around what the Board does, what are the obligations, etc. I really just wanted an additional pair of eyes on this.
      2. Tate: Let’s add in divisional reps are required to attend the virtual AGM, please add that the divisional directors are expected to represent the interest of their constituents and also put in that Board members may also be asked on occasion to serve on an ad-hoc basis on various tasks.
      3. Young: I also need to fix the image on the screen as it’s taking over the page header. Have to go find the code I used for the posts.
      4. Tomsak: I think also adding in that attendance at championship events is highly encouraged as well. We often serve as #4s and help with check-in.
      5. Young: Cool, I will make those updates.
    8. 2019 MD4 – WD3 Rules (Redline)
      1. Young: Dodge provided this suggestion for the website. This was done while we were auditing the Competitions page for RRRC.
      2. Tate: Dodge provided this awhile back as it needed some updates. I’ve read them and have no issues with them as we’ve already agreed that the RRRC is also managing MD4 and WD3 as far as eligibility. Does anyone have any objections or needs more time to review? 
        1. Tate: I move that we accept the MD4 and WD3 rules as revised by Dodge.
        2. Tomsak: I second.
          1. Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED. Young: UPDATE 1/21: I’ve updated the original post with these changes.
    9. Craig Gunn Development Camps
      1. Young: Lach Ferguson sent this along as an option for camps/development for the Union. Gunny is a master coach from Australia who runs development camps all across the world.
      2. Tate: Right, before we can commit to spending any significant amount of money on camps and development we need a bit more certainty around our finances. If USAR gets us money in time in February then we can have a look at this. But right now I’m loathe to make any significant financial commitments beyond what we have to do.
      3. Young: I’ve indicated as such to Lach…we will look to engage again possibly in March or April.
      4. Tate: It’s a shame as it’s been 6-7 years since we’ve done anything like this. But we’ve got to make sure our finances are safe.
    10. Board Elections
      1. President – Sep 2020 (3 year term)
      2. Vice President – Sep 2021 (3 year term)
      3. DI M Rep – Sep 2022 (3 year term)
      4. W Rep – *Sep 2022 (3 year term)
      5. DII M Rep – Sep 2021 (3 year term)
      6. DIII M Rep – Sep 2021 (3 year term)
      7. Congress – Sep 2020 Watson (2 year term)
      8. Congress – Sep 2021 Daniels (2 year term)
        1. Young: Will keep this on the agenda for a few months as President and Congress will start in the Summer. Do note the * next to women’s rep, we are filling that position but it will be up again in September 2022.
    11. New Business
      1. Referee Update
        1. O’Gara: We’ll start with the good news, we’ve had two more referee camps since the last TRU meeting. The DFW area had 10 attendees and by the time we completed we had 5 new DFW referees that are ready to take the center of a match! We also had a referee camp at a youth event in the Woodlands that had 10 attendees. We’re hosting a referee camp in Laredo this weekend as the majority of the attendees at the most recent L1 certification were from that area. The bad news is that there was a lot of referee abuse this weekend. I want to make sure it was handled correctly. Referees are reporting through WTR and using the red card option. Is that correct?
        2. Tate: Yes, that is correct.
        3. O’Gara: There is also a manual disciplinary report? Should that have been used?
        4. Young: Looking back through our notes we decided that referees would report referee abuse through WTR and red cards. Other individuals can use the manual report to also report referee abuse.
        5. Tate: We also didn’t want to make referees use two systems so they do everything through WTR. The manual report is for parents, match commissioners etc to create an official record if needed. 
        6. O’Gara: The other issue we’re seeing is that coaches that are disgruntled are entering the field to speak to referees. One example was that a referee was cornered by a coach for almost 10 minutes and they were not provided a “cooling down” period.
        7. Tate: That is not acceptable, all parties should have a “cooling down” period and referees shouldn’t be cornered like that.
        8. O’Gara: If a coach wants to express their feedback, it shouldn’t be an email to the referee, myself etc.
          1. Young: Yes, they can use a form in WTR to give feedback and we have details on the TRU website on how to do that: http://texasrugbyunion.com/referee-corner/coach-evaluation/
          2. Tate: Yes, that is the correct form to use. Kat, can you put together an announcement reminding coaches of that form? We also need to put together a statement on a “cooling off” period and chewing out a referee directly after a match is not acceptable.
        9. O’Gara: I don’t want to paint with a broad brush but the region where we have 5 referees is where we saw both instances of referee abuse this weekend. The other two regions with 20+ referees aren’t seeing these problems. We have referees driving 3+ hours to receive this abuse.
          1. Tate: This is not acceptable. We appreciate the referees providing those reports and those have been sent to the DC already. I will also give Scot a heads up tomorrow to ensure that this isn’t being overlooked. We’ll let the DC process play out as they see fit. I know that Scot takes a very dim view of referee abuse.
        10. O’Gara: What in the event happens if an individual is not CIPP’d with a club? Perhaps they are CIPP’d with one side but are helping out another club?
        11. Tate: We appreciate that they are CIPP’d with one club but we would ask that they add an additional role to their CIPP so they are showing up on every roster they are involved with. They won’t have to pay another fee as long as it’s within the TRU. 
        12. Young: Multiple role form: https://assets.usarugby.org/docs/membership/faqs/How-Do-I-Register-for-Multiple-Clubs.pdf?v=1535414400309
        13. O’Gara: I want to make sure that if a suspension happens, that it doesn’t mean that a coach can just go manage another club on the weekend.
        14. Tate: If a suspension is handed down, it’s a blanket suspension of ANY activity. As a practical matter, we have to coordinate with other entities to ensure that this happens.
        15. O’Gara: Sorry to bring the meeting down but it’s weighing heavy on my mind as we had two referee abuse incidents this weekend.
        16. Tate: Right, referees are just like players and coaches and they can have good/bad days as well as learning curves. But that kind of behavior is never going to make the situation better.

Meeting Adjourned (9:18 PM)

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