Disciplinary Action

The following Disciplinary Regulations and Procedures , which incorporate those mandated by USA Rugby, will be enforced  at all Texas Rugby Union Events and Matches.

The TRU Director of Discipline is Scot Courtney (scourtney@texasrugbyunion.com).

The TRU Disciplinary Committee will consist of the Director of Discipline as Chair.  Additional members are: Mitch Pryor, Shayne Roberson, Mike Wilson and Chris Kelly.  The Discipline Committee shall be responsible for all disciplinary matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Texas Rugby Union.

Current Repots

Archived Reports (’09-’11)

Archived Reports (’03-’09)

Mobile Disciplinary Report

All clubs should be aware that the referee is the sole arbiter of fact and time on the pitch and thus any appeals need to take this fact into account. Thus it is recommended that where possible all appeals are accompanied by video evidence of the incident. Please note that the USA Rugby sanctions/penalties for foul play are the MINIMUM that will be imposed.

http://www.usarugby.org/#cc%3D%5BApplication%5D%5C%5CStructure%5C%5CContent%5C%5CBrand%20Resource%20Center%5C%5CContent%5C%5CHome%5C%5C20907F3F-1296-B111-B8B9-B9B5BDF7BA96%5C%5C21D94194-12BD-4429-48CF-7FDABA23290B%7B%7BTab%3AView%7D%7D

The TRU Discipline Committee will deal harshly with all incidents which involve violent conduct on the pitch and abuse of the officials. The club participation agreement outlines the consequences for clubs and coaches for such actions.

I.    JURISDICTION:

A. The USA RUGBY Disciplinary Committee is responsible for the following:
1. Incidents involving a touring team from another union playing a United States team, or at an event within the United States.
2. Incidents at a USA Rugby championship series event, and the USA Rugby Premier League.
3. Unresolved differences between two or more Territorial Unions.
4. Appeals of decisions reached by Territorial Union disciplinary processes or procedures.

B. The WESTERN RFU Disciplinary Committee is responsible for the following:
1. Incidents at a Territorial Union event and Regional Men’s Division I and Men’s Collegiate Division I League matches. At inter-Territorial matches, the Territorial Union of the home team shall be the responsible party.
2. Incidents between two or more LAUs and/or their member clubs.
3. Off field incidents (including those that reflect negatively on the image of rugby) involving a member club, or its members at a location outside the clubs or members home LAU.
4. Appeals of decisions reached by member LAU Disciplinary Chairs or Committees.

C. The TRU Disciplinary Committee, under the direction of the Director of Discipline, is responsible for the following:
1. Incidents at all LAU events including all matches played within the LAU, excluding the West TU regional league matches mentioned above.
2. Off field incidents (including those that reflect negatively on the image of rugby) involving member clubs and/or their members, and supporters that occur within the geographic jurisdiction of the Texas Rugby Union.
3. The function of the Director of Disciplines is to oversee the behavior of all Member clubs in matters relating to the game itself and to the public image of Rugby in Texas. Therefore, actions, both on and off the field, may come under the scrutiny of this officer. Clubs are encouraged to take action against their own players, members and supporters for actions detrimental to the game of Rugby. All clubs should insist upon a high standard of behavior from all their members and supporters.  The Director of Discipline will, at his discretion, consult with members of the Executive Committee and the Divisional Secretary on disciplinary issues.

D. USA Rugby recommend that every Club appoint a Disciplinary Panel charged with the responsibility of  maintaining standards of discipline within the Club.

Please note that the USA Rugby sanctions/penalties for foul play are the MINIMUM that will be imposed.  Consequently the TRU Director of Discipline can impose more severe sanctions/penalties than those outlined in these regulations and procedures.  The TRU Director of Discipline, in consultation with the TRU Disciplinary Committee, is empowered to impose appropriate sanctions including, but not limited to, probation, suspension, and expulsion as deemed  appropriate against individual members and/or clubs. The Director of Discipline does not operate in the realm of the judicial system and cannot award compensation, or direct individuals, or clubs to pay financial damages or restitution for specific incidents of misconduct.

II. PLAYER(S) SENT OFF BY A REFEREE.
A. Any player who is sent off for the remaining duration of a match for any reason is automatically suspended for eight days (or one match, whichever is longer) pending a review of the  referee report by the Director of Discipline.  The player has a right to a timely appeal.
B. The referee, qualified touch judges, and the club or clubs involved must fulfill their responsibilities as required by  Law 6A.14 and Law 6B.7 namely:
1. The reports must be filed with the Director of Discipline on a timely basis, which shall be a written [e-mail is deemed appropriate] report no more than two days after the incident.
2.[a] The Director of Discipline or a designee will review the reports within two days of receipt. If there is no dispute noted in the clubs reports, and no question arise from the referees report, the Director of Discipline shall act according to the guidelines in Section III below.
[b] If there are questions, the Director of Discipline shall interview all those involved, and others at his discretion and  may request additional information and/or documentation of the incident.
[c] If requested by the player(s) sent off, a hearing will be convened prior to the end of the period of automatic suspension.
[d] Prior to the hearing, the individual  who is the subject of the disciplinary action shall be informed of the specific conduct that is at issue. At said hearing, which may be conducted telephonically, all involved may voice their statements relating to the incident, and may be represented by counsel.
[e] The individual  who is the subject of the disciplinary action shall have an opportunity to review all the evidence and the hearing shall be consistent with traditional notions of due process. The committee will render its written decision within two days of the hearing. Such decision may be communicated by mail, fax, or e-mail, and followed up by regular mail as appropriate.
3. If a club that is party to a sending off does not file an official report with the Director of Discipline,  it will be treated as an undisputed send off.
4. The Director of Discipline will post to the TRU website the disciplinary action taken in regards to all offenders.

III.    SANCTIONS
When a player is sent off the field for the following reasons, the sanctions shall be in the range set forth below. These penalties are inclusive of the 8 day (or one match) automatic suspension.

1. Non Violent Technical Infringements  (holding, obstructions, game delay):
First Offense;  8 days – 2 weeks
Second Offense (within one year);  3 – 4 weeks
Third Offense (within one year);  two months

2. Minor Physical Offenses (pushing, barging, over-the-top calls, early or late tackles):
First Offense;  2 – 3 weeks
Second Offense (within one year);  4 – 6 weeks
Third Offense (within one year);  3 months

3. Major Physical Offenses (kicking, punching, dangerous rucking):
First Offense;  2 – 6 weeks
Repeat Offense (within one year);  4 – 10 weeks
a) If these offences  were directed to the head or groin:
First Offense;  3 – 12 weeks
Repeat Offense (within one year);  6 – 12 months
b) If this type of offense is directed at a player who is in a defenseless position, or situation, and/or in the referee�s opinion was  delivered with  intent to injure, the suspensions shall be increased as follows:
First Offense;  increase by additional 6 – 8 weeks
Repeat Offense (within one year);  increase by an additional 3 -6 months

4. The suspensions noted above shall be interpreted as implying one week equals one regularly scheduled  match,  whichever is the longer suspension. Clubs accused and found guilty of scheduling additional fixtures to circumvent these regulations will be subject to additional penalties. For repeat offenses, the time calculation shall be the elapsed time since the last infringement. An individual shall be subject to the penalties for “second,” “third” or “repeat” offenses only if there has been a prior suspension or disciplinary penalty imposed.

5. TOURNAMENTS
Any club which is a member of the TRU that holds a tournament, of any kind, is obligated to ensure that the following disciplinary procedures will be followed:
[a] All red and yellow card incidents are to be reported by the Tournament Director and the Head of the Referees to the TRU Discipline Director no later than 48 hours after the completion of the Tournament.
[b] A player who receives a red card in a game, is automatically suspended and can no longer participate in the remainder of the tournament under any circumstances. A full report of the red card incident needs to be obtained by the Tournament Director and the Head of the Referees and submitted to the TRU Discipline Director [regardless of whether the player belongs to a TRU member club or not] within 48 hours of the incident.
[c] The TRU Discipline Director will determine the length of the suspension upon receipt of the incident report.
[d] In the event that a red carded player is allowed to play in the remainder of the Tournament, the club holding the Tournament and the club whose player was red-carded will be liable to sanctions, financial or otherwise, by the TRU.

It is recommended that clubs holding tournaments, include these procedures in their Tournament program and/or handout the procedures to all participating teams at the tournament team meeting.

IV. PLAYER SENT OFF FOR OFFENSES AGAINST A REFEREE OR TOUCH JUDGE, OR A GAME RELATED OFFENSE  REPORTED BY A REFEREE OR TOUCH JUDGE.

Due to the seriousness of these offenses these sanctions  shall be strictly adhered to:

a) Persistent criticism/disputing of calls:
First Offense;  1 – 3 games
Second Offense (within one year);  4 – 6 games
Third Offense (within one year);  formal hearing.  This requirement shall be filled by a meeting of the Executive Committee of the TRU or a committee so constituted for this purpose as defined in  the by-Laws of the Texas Rugby Union.

b) Verbal abuse and/or threatening a Referee or Touch Judge:
First Offense;  3 – 5 games
Second Offense (within one year);  6 – 10 games
Third Offense (within one year); formal hearing. This requirement shall be filled by a meeting of the Executive Committee of the TRU or a committee so constituted for this purpose as defined in the by-Laws of the Texas Rugby Union.

c) Continuation of a) or b) above, and/or nonviolent contact with a Referee or Touch Judge after a sending off, or at the end of the match:
First Offense;  6 months
Second Offense (within one year);  one or more years

d) Physical or Attempted Physical Assault of a Referee or Touch Judge on or off the field:
1. Player is suspended immediately
2. A formal hearing must be held within two weeks of the incident. The hearing must include a representative from the Disciplinary Committee of the Western RFU.  If the incident occurs at a USA Rugby event, then a representative of the accused partys home LAU Disciplinary Committee must be included in the hearing.
3. Unless overwhelming evidence is presented that would mitigate the situation a minimum suspension of five years will be assessed on the guilty party.

V.    TRACKING  OFFENDERS
It is the responsibility of the Director of Discipline to provide a written report to the National Office of USA Rugby of any action taken in Sections III and IV above. For all individuals  suspended for three or more months the report must contain a recent photo of the suspended individual.  USA Rugby will cause information on all but the automatic suspensions of a week, or one match, to be periodically circulated throughout the United States by, but not limited to: posting to their website and other electronic, or printed media. Any club that  allows a suspended player to participate in matches while suspended will be subject to additional penalties by the TRU, the West TU, or both Disciplinary Committees.

VI.    UNDETECTED FOUL PLAY/OFF FIELD CONDUCT
A. When foul play occurs but is undetected by the Referee or Touch Judges it is the responsibility of the witness(es) to report it to the referee as soon as practical after the match.  If it is not practical to report the incident to the referee the incident should be reported in writing to the Director of Discipline as soon as practical after the match. Likewise, off field behavior that is detrimental to the image of the game of rugby should be reported to the Director of Discipline in the same timely manner.
B. Upon receipt of these types of reports, the Director of Discipline must contact the accused within five days. Upon receipt of the comments of the accused the Director of Discipline will follow the procedures established in Section II above.
1. From this point forward the procedures of Section II should be followed including the opportunity for a hearing, and for the individual subject to the disciplinary action to review all the evidence  prior to such a hearing.
2. Foul play incidents, if found to be true, should be dealt with as prescribed in Sections III and IV above.
3. Off field incidents will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Proven allegations of misconduct that tends to place the game in disrepute are expected to be dealt with in the strongest manner. As a reminder, clubs are responsible for the activities of their members and supporters as they relate to the image of the game. Clubs are expected to provide for the discipline of their members and supporters who bring the game into disrepute.

VII. APPEALS PROCEDURE
A. An individual or club may appeal a decision they feel is unjust. This does not apply to suspensions related to players sent off if the initial report was not addressed by the individuals or the clubs.

B. A written notice of appeal must be made within ten days of receipt of the notice of suspension. The appeal notice must be sent to the Texas Rugby Union President.  The TRU President will convene the Board of Directors for review of the appeal.  The Board has the power to uphold, overturn, decrease or increase the original sanction as published by the TRU Discipline Committee.

C. The TRU Director of Discipline [or Disciplinary Chair] shall copy and forward all information regarding the case to the TRU President upon request. If a hearing has been requested, then the hearing date, time and place shall be determined by the TRU President and sent to each member of the TRU Board of Directors and to the appellant.  Such details of the hearing shall be agreeable to all parties, subject to them not withholding such approval unreasonably.  When and where possible, all correspondence may be by e-mail.

D. The Hearing

1. All parties involved shall be given an opportunity to present all pertinent information. The appellant may be represented by counsel.
2. Upon full review of the submitted appeal, the West TU Disciplinary Committee shall reach a decision by majority vote. A written copy of the decision shall be sent to the club and the appellant within ten days of the appeal being reviewed.
3. Decisions of the Members of the West TU Disciplinary Committee may be appealed if it is felt evidence was not entered, or if extreme bias was present. The appellant must notify the President of the West RFU in writing within ten days of receiving the Executive Committee decision. The President of the West RFU shall gather all the material pertinent to the case and review this and any new evidence, or claim of bias, that is presented by the appellant. Within ten days of the receipt of the case file from the West TU Director of Discipline [or Chair of the Disciplinary Committee], the President of the West TU shall issue a decision on the case. That written decision shall be sent to the appellant and TRU Director of Discipline [or Chair of the Disciplinary Committee]. This decision shall be final and no appeals shall l be heard, or entertained, above this level except as provided for in the By-Laws of USA Rugby.

E.  Appeal of TRU Board of Directors

1. If applicable and warranted, the appellant shall have the ability to make subsequent appeal of prior rulings to the West Territorial Director of Discipline and the Chairman of the West Territorial Union. A copy of the appeal must also be sent to the President of the TRU. The West Territorial Director of Discipline [or Disciplinary Chair] shall initiate the appeal by contacting the Members of the West TU Disciplinary Committee who shall be the Appeals Committee.

VIII.    GENERAL INFORMATION AND REQUIREMENTS

1. Reciprocity is mandated. Players and/or clubs sanctioned in one LAU are sanctioned in all LAUs.
2. All members of USA Rugby must keep their LAU, TU and National Office appraised of address changes.
3. It appears that a small minority of players have a disregard for fair play and the overall good of the game. This fact and the increasing mobility of  American society make the following procedures necessary:
[a] Each LAU, TU and the National Disciplinary Committee shall  maintain written records of all decisions reached and actions taken. The information may be brief but must  include name, CIPP number, address, date and type of incident, action taken,  etc. Details on how long to keep this information on file will be circulated.  These files must be kept in a professional manner and passed to new Chairs of the Disciplinary Committees. The information is required in order to determine whether an individual is a repeat offender. This information is only to be used during the sentencing portion of any hearing, or action and only if there has been prior disciplinary action taken. It may not be used to determine the guilt or innocence of the individual.
[b]. If an individual has been found guilty of an offense and the party moves to a new location, the file(s) of any incidents must be copied and the copy sent to the Disciplinary Chair of the LAU in the new location. This will ensure continued awareness of past problems, which will need to be addressed, if the individual is again accused of misconduct.

IX.    THE USE OF THE ” SIN BIN ” & YELLOW CARD OFFENCES
A player guilty of foul play (obstruction, unfair play, repeated infringements, misconduct or dangerous play) shall either be ordered off, sent off the playing area for a temporary suspension, or cautioned that the player will be sent off if the offense is repeated. For a similar offense, after a caution or temporary suspension, the player must be ordered off.

If a player is subject to a temporary suspension then the player:
[a]    shall remain behind  the opponents dead-ball line (the Sin Bin) or an area designated by the Match Referee or Match Officials
[b]    shall take no part in play
[c]    shall not communicate with team-mates or opponents (including reserves, coaches, and supporters), and
[d]    shall not enter the playing area to resume playing until  permitted to do so by the referee.

Temporary suspension shall not be a substitute, or a prerequisite, for ordering off a player. If an offense warrants a player being ordered off, then the player must be ordered off. The maximum period of temporary suspension shall not exceed ten (10) minutes playing time, and the time is to be counted from the moment  when the player reaches the opponents dead-ball line (the Sin Bin) or area designated by the Match Referee or Match Officials.

When any player is sent off for a temporary suspension, the referee shall send in a report to the Director of Discipline as if the player had been ordered off. This report must be received no later than 2 days after the match has been played.  The Director of Discipline will keep a record of players who are sin-binned.

In order to address the issue of repeat offenders and professional fouls, the following procedure will be implemented:

[a] If a player receives two yellow cards in a game, that player will be ejected from the game and will receive an automatic minimum suspension of eight days, or one game [whichever is the longer], pending a review by the Director of Discipline of the Texas Rugby Union.

[b] If a player receives a yellow card in successive games that player will receive an automatic minimum suspension of eight days, or one game [whichever is the longer], pending a review by the Director of Discipline of the Texas Rugby Union.

[c] If a player receives 4 yellow cards during a calendar year that player will receive an automatic minimum suspension of sixteen days, or two games [whichever is the longer], pending a review by the Director of Discipline of the Texas Rugby Union.

c] If a player receives 6 yellow cards during a calendar year that player will receive an automatic minimum suspension of  twenty four days, or three games [whichever is the longer], plus a disciplinary hearing with the Director of Discipline of the Texas Rugby Union.

Any player suspended at the end of the calendar year will serve out their sentence beginning with the first competitive match of the following calendar year. Players who are suspended at the end of the normal fifteens season will be dealt with appropriately such that they do not use the sevens season to avoid a meaningful suspension. A two-day weekend tournament will count as one game.

A calendar year is defined as beginning from September 1st to August 31st of the following year.

X. OUT-OF-STATE OFFENCES
In any out-of state game [including tournaments] involving a Texas club it will be the full responsibility of the Texas Club to:
[1] report any yellow or red card offences to the West and Texas Rugby Union Disciplinary Officers within 3 days of the offence[s] occurring.
[2] request that the referee submit a report to the Disciplinary Officers of the West and Texas Rugby Unions
[3] furnish the Disciplinary Officers of the West and Texas RFU with the name and phone number of the referee – RED CARD OFFENCE ONLY

Any player who is red-carded in out-of-state game will be required to serve the mandatory minimum eight day/one game suspension pending review by the Disciplinary Officers of the West and Texas Unions. If such a red-card offence occurs in a tournament, the player ejected is ineligible to play for the remainder of the tournament and the automatic  suspension begins after the final game of the tournament.  Any club that does not report yellow and/or red card offences in out-of-state games to the Disciplinary Officers of the West and Texas Unions will face severe sanctions, as will the player who committed the offences.

XI. CLEANING UP THE GAME
In view of the growing number of complaints from the public nationwide and the need to create an atmosphere in which parent of young players, families and sponsors will feel comfortable participating in the Game, the TRU in conjunction with the LRO intend to take a very serious view of conduct that is contrary to the Object of the Game that demands fair play in a sporting spirit. All member clubs are required to ensure the Game at all levels is run as a disciplined and sporting athletic endeavor, and the TRU and the LRO are determined to play their part in fulfilling this obligation.

Consequently, effective immediately, a very serious view will be taken of unsportsmanlike conduct, especially the gratuitous use of foul language and obscenities in a loud and provocative manner, both on and off the playing area, during play and stoppages, before and after the match, no matter who they are directed toward. Referees will enlist the aid of both captains if the problem arises from the touchlines. Club officials will be held responsible for eliminating such behavior beyond the playing area.  This offensive kind of behavior is a major stain on the fabric of the Game in the USA and Texas and the TRU and the LRO as local guardians of the laws and ethics of the Game are determined to stamp it out.

Similarly individuals who persistently criticize and dispute the decisions of referees and touch judges, verbally abuse or threaten physical assault of a match official will be severely dealt with by the TRU Disciplinary Committee. The TRU and the LRO expect all affiliated clubs to get this message to their coaches, players and supporters and so obviate the need for more draconian action down the road.

Reference: USA Rugby Handbook

1. Acts contrary to good sportsmanship, law 10.4(k), (l)

2. Guidelines on the application of law, section 15, code of conduct

3. Disciplinary Regulations and Procedures, section III.D, player sent off for offences against a referee or touch judge.

XII UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY TO THE PLAYING AREA:

The TRU would like to remind all affiliated clubs that coaches are not permitted to enter the playing area (including end goals) during a match except by invitation of the referee at half time, or other extraordinary occasions. [Ref: law 6C.2, 3}. This applies to all matches, including youth matches.

Water carriers and medical personnel may enter the playing area by prior arrangement, or at the specific invitation of the referee. Referees are urged to be vigilant in applying this law to coaches masquerading as water carriers or trainers or to coaches entering the playing area uninvited at stoppages for injury, conversion kicks, and the like, and to enlist the aid of the relevant captain in curbing such infringements. Penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct may be applied.

All personnel properly within the playing enclosure must stay close to the perimeter rope unless performing their authorized function. They are not to approach or remain in close proximity to the touchline thus distracting or endangering the touch judge in the execution of his or her duties.

XIII  DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS FOR FIELDING NON-CIPPD PLAYERS
The TRU Executive Board has approved the following disciplinary actions in relation to clubs fielding non-CIP registered players.

FIRST OFFENCE
The club will receive a warning letter, the game will be forfeited, and the club will be fined $100 for each ineligible player. The fine has to be paid within 30 days or the club will be suspended until the fine is paid. If the non-CIPPD player is involved in a disciplinary issue [yellow or red card], the player will be banned from all rugby until his name appears on the clubs CIPP listing on the USA Rugby Website.  Once the players name appears on the USA Rugby CIPP listing, the TRU Disciplinary Director will then impose disciplinary sanctions against the player for his disciplinary infraction.

SUBSEQUENT OFFENCES
Minimum disciplinary actions : game to be forfeited:
The TRU Disciplinary Committee will decide on additional actions which will range from but not be limited to:
[1]Fine of up to $500 for each ineligible player & the fine to be paid within 30 days or club will be suspended until the fine is paid;
[2] The club declared ineligible to advance to Western Championships.
[3] the club to be suspended from the TRU for 12 months.

Revised: March 2012 / DRM

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