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TRU AGM Notes – 8/27/17

Please review the minutes from our most recent AGM. View all of the TRU archived AGM minutes:

2017 TRU Summer/Fall Annual General Meeting – Agenda

Sunday, August 27 @ Ft Worth, TX

  1. Roll Call – Tate / W Young
    1. Board Members (Voting):
      1. Dodge
      2. Turner
      3. Tate
      4. Admin: Young
    2. Non Voting Members / Club Roll Call
  2. AGM Meetings
    1. Tate: How many of you were at the Spring AGM in Austin? 5-6…We’ve brought up attendance at AGMs over the last few years. Bi-annual meetings aren’t required by our bylaws and we’ve seen attendance decline for the spring meeting. The TRU Board has discussed dropping that in-person Spring AGM and perhaps we use modern technology to have a virtual meeting. This would allow for participation without the travel burden and the cost to the members.
      1. Morgan: A good idea, I’m all for it.
      2. Chapman: So the summer AGM would stay? With the Summit?
      3. Tate: Yes, the Summit requires access to classroom or event space, fields and players. We have people traveling all over the place to attend the courses and the instructors, so we will more than likely keep those events in large metro areas. Ok, so we will go forward with an electronic meeting for the Winter/Spring AGM.
  3. Review 2016-2017 Competitions – Reps
    1. 15s
      1. D1 M
        1. Austin Huns #1 – Huns won Championship against NYAC 27-23, first TRU D1 Championship since at least 1987
        2. Austin Blacks #2 – Lost to Life West in challenge match
      2. D2 M
        1. Little Rock – Lost their first match to Sacramento Blackhawks 47-49 and won consolation over Ventura 63-24 / Tied for 5th Nationally
      3. D3 M
        1. San Marcos – San Marcos won their first match over Chico 46-12 and lost to St Louis Royals 3-54 / Tied for 3rd Nationally
      4. D1 W
        1. Austin Valkyries #1 (D1 seed) – Austin Valkyries lost their first match 5-71 to Life West and won consolation 62-12 over Tempe / Placed 6th Nationally
        2. HARC #2 (D2 seed) – HARC lost their first match 14-62 to SFGG and won consolation 22-19 over St Louis Sabres / Placed 6th Nationally
      5. D2 W
        1. Austin Valkyries II – Defeated Tulsa 24-22 (?) in first ever TRU Women’s D2 Championship
    2. 7s
      1. USA 7s
        1. Dallas Reds: Won Bowl Final
        2. Austin Huns: Placed 16th
        3. ARPTC: Lost in Plate Final
        4. Austin Valkyries: Placed 12th
          1. Turner: I’ve heard of a shakeup of 7s at the USA level?
          2. Tate: Yes, there is a new Board at USA Rugby, the Performance Game Board. It’s chair is Alex Magelby (USAR HP Director) and there is “talk” of USA Rugby taking the National 7s Competition and trying to create an elite 7s level of competition. That would lift the top 10-15 teams in the country and everyone else would compete at the next level. At this point it’s just people talking and we’ve had nothing concrete. I’ve spoken to Erik Geib (USAR Club) and he confirmed that nothing has been decided. For the time being we will continue operating as normal.
      2. RRRC 7s Series
        1. Men’s
          1. Austin Huns #1
          2. Dallas Reds #2
        2. Women’s
          1. ARPTC #1
          2. Austin Valkyries #2
      3. TOLA 7s
        1. Men
          1. Dallas Reds #1
          2. Austin Huns #2
        2. Women
          1. Austin Valkyries #1
          2. Dallas Harlequins #2
  4. State of the Union
    1. Elections
      1. Tate: We opened nominations and once the window closed, each position only received one nomination. So the below were won by the incumbents. Currently President and VP are on the same term limits. The TRU Board has discussed staggering these so that there isn’t turnover of two positions. This would require a bylaw change but we do think it is important. We wanted to give the members a heads up that this may be coming down in the next 6 months.
      2. Tomsak: I’ve offered to take a 2 year term instead of 3. So I would stand for election again in 2019.
      3. Tate: Next year Watson’s congress position is open and a few other Board positions.
        1. TRU President
          1. Tate – only nomination
        2. TRU Vice President
          1. Tomsak – only nomination
        3. Congress Representative
          1. Yeoman – only nomination
      4. TRU Disciplinary Committee
        1. Tate: This is an appointed committee and they handle disciplinary sanctions. Scot Courtney has been our Chair for a long time and has agreed to continue or step down if we wanted to replace him. The TRU Board is perfectly happy with the work he is doing, so he will continue. However, Mitch Pryor would like to step down. We’d like to thank him for his service. If you have someone to nominate for that position, by all means send that in.
      5. RRRC Competitions Committee
        1. Tate: This is a USA Rugby Competition sub-committee and several seats were open. Nominees will be posted Monday and voting will begin thereafter. One club, one vote; your highest side votes in the highest division. For the women’s, it has traditionally been one big division and we haven’t designated the divisions. Next summer the committee has discussed breaking the women’s reps out to be divisionally based.
          1. Tate: One thing to note is that we did not receive any nominees for the Men’s D1 position (1 nomination was after the deadline and was not accepted).
          2. Yeoman: Has there been discussion about MD4 and WD3?
          3. Tate: Yes, there has been discussion and that has already been happening. The TRU MD3 and TRUW reps have been working with those divisions respectfully. The TRU Board wants to monitor this year and if it goes well we would discuss adding those reps. For now they will be represented by the division directly above them.
          4. Yeoman: Seems like a lot of work for those reps.
          5. Tate: It is, but we’re all pitching in. We didn’t get it done for this cycle.
          6. Fisher: If MD4 is experimental, has there been discussion about promotion and relegation?
          7. Tate: Yes, and the current regulations are generic in that they state that you will be promoted to the next level and or down to the next available level. So they will apply to MD4.
          8. Young: The women will also follow the current promotion and relegation procedures. It may be a “soft” process in 2018 but we will be following them.
          9. Tate: There has also been some discussion about forfeits. Currently the policy indicates that two forfeits are an automatic relegation. Perhaps that actually isn’t the best thing? So we’re discussing that as well.
    2. Financials
      1. Tate: [Reviewed financials in depth]. These will be published to website in due time.
        1. Turner: Are there any fines outstanding?
        2. Young: Just Euless and that is due Monday.
        3. Turner: Why is the floor for club grants set at lower than a player pays to CIPP?
        4. Tate: This was put in place about two years ago. This actually occurred when Euless went to Nationals but they only had 23 players CIPP’d. We wanted to make sure that our teams that make it to Nationals get as much support as we can give. So we give 28 CIPP fees back as the floor. In 7s it is 12 players.
  5. Lunch Break (12:00 – 1:00pm)
    1. 2017-2018 Competitions
      1. RRRC
        1. Proposed Schedule
          1. Tate: This was sent out to all club presidents and match secretaries. If you didn’t receive it, make sure your team contacts are up to date on WTR and the the TRU site. The review window for the schedule ends August 31. Once all the requested changes are done, we will republish the schedule and it is considered finalized. After this changes can be made but need to follow the normal protocols of match changes.
            1. Tate: There was a particular effort to schedule matches centrally for less travel (clubs and referees). We also scheduled ~33% of matches on Sundays to help lessen the burden on the referee society. We would encourage clubs to proactively move matches from Saturday if at all possible.
        2. Warmup Tournaments
          1. Tate: The TRU is hosting 2 warmup tournaments specifically focused on developing referees. Teams are welcome to attend at no cost. We are also working with the Lone Survivor tournament.
        3. Divisions
          1. MD1
            1. Blacks
              Glendale Merlins
              Little Rock
          2. WD1
            1. Austin Valkyries
            2. HARC
            3. Dallas Harlequins
          3. MD2
            1. North
              1. DARC
              2. Dallas 2
              3. Ft. Worth
              4. Oklahoma
              5. Quins 2
              6. Tulsa
              7. Euless
                1. Tate: Euless was not initially included in the competition but we are happy to have them back in. We are working with Euless and Little Rock (in D1) to make sure that these clubs are as successful as possible this season.
                2. Turner: Adding in Euless has caused a schedule change for D2 North. The season will now start on Nov 11 for some teams. Per the promotion and relegation policy, appeal policy and schedule should all be completed by Aug 1. It was ignored this year.
            2. Central/South
              1. Blacks 2
              2. San Antonio
              3. San Marcos
              4. Huns 2
              5. HURT
              6. WRFC
              7. HARC
              8. W Houston
          4. WD2
            1. North
              1. Tulsa
              2. Reds
              3. Little Rock
            2. South
              1. Valks 2
              2. DARC
              3. SA Riveters
          5. MD3
            1. North
              1. Shreveport
              2. Dallas 3
              3. Grand Prairie
              4. Abilene
              5. Alliance
            2. Central
              1. Blacks 3
              2. San Antonio 2
              3. CC Crabs
              4. Horde
              5. Alamo City
              6. McAllen
            3. South
              1. Bay Area
              2. Galveston
              3. Arrows
              4. Kingwood
              5. HURT 2
              6. Lonestar
      2. TRU
        1. WD3
          1. North
            1. OKC
            2. Alliance
            3. Bay Area
            4. Tyler
          2. South
            1. Blacks
            2. San Marcos
            3. SA Armadillos
        2. MD4
          1. North
            1. DARC 2
            2. Tyler
            3. Denton
            4. Diablos
            5. Ft. Worth 2
            6. Alliance 2
          2. South
            1. W Houston 2
            2. San Marcos 2
            3. HARC 2
            4. CC Dogfish
        3. Social
          1. Lost Souls
          2. Battleground
          3. Fort Hood
        4. Proposed Regulations
          1. Pryor: Coaches of these divisions still need to fill out the TRU Front Row Waiver?
          2. Tate: Yes, correct.
          3. Pryor: I would also mention that the TRU DC should be considerate of guest players. But they are still liable for sanction.
      3. TRU Forfeit Policy
        1. Tate: This is being reviewed by the TRU Board and then will be shared with the RRRC. We are looking at played forfeits vs non-played forfeits. In the WD3 and MD4 we want rugby to be played, whatever format is safe. For our competitive divisions that policy is being reviewed but it will be stricter and tougher than last year.
    2. Summit
      1. Tate: The annual Summit is Sep 8-10 in Houston. The Summit events will be The Regis School. In particular need and importance is our need for referees.
      2. Scheef: Have you talked about requiring clubs to have CIPP’d referees?
      3. Tate: Yes, we talk about this every year. We even have clubs that already have certified referees. But we haven’t found that they actually referee. We have plenty of people taking the courses but they don’t actually step on the field. Scott Green has been brought on by the TRRA to focus specifically on training and development.
      4. Watson: I talked with Scott last week and there are 89 CIPP’d referees available but weekend to weekend there are only about 20 referees available. We can’t continue to grow rugby without referees.
      5. Tate: You may have noticed that our referee core is getting younger. This is a specific recruiting tactic that we know is going to be successful. But we need the help of the clubs. You can play rugby and referee, TRRA will work around their schedule. We are also working to move matches to mid week and Sundays.
        1. Courses:
          1. Level 1 Referee
          2. Coaching of Match Officials
          3. Touch Judge
          4. L200 Coaching – SAT FULL / Sunday still has open spots
          5. L300 Coaching – 3 spots left
          6. Level 1 Strength and Training
      6. Guest Speakers – Saturday afternoon after Summit courses and they will speak at the HOF as well.
    3. Hall of Fame
      1. 2017 Inductees
      2. Pins
        1. WHITE – TRU Officer, TRU Board, RRRC Competitions Committee or Congress member
        2. RED – TRU play
        3. BLUE – Rep side play
        4. GOLD – HOF
  6. USA Rugby Congress
    1. Yeoman: I appreciate the feedback you sent before the last Congress meeting. Always happy to hear questions and concerns. The hot topics at our last Congress meeting:
      1. Finances: USAR has now added guidelines for exchange rates as we lost quite a bit under BREXIT. Also will see some loss for BLK going under and IMG loss.
      2. Pro Rugby: Can’t talk about that too much but an ongoing discussion is occurring.
      3. RIM: Haven’t seen the big income boom as was expected and there is quite a bit of discourse from the membership. The Rugby Channel is also being reviewed to see if it will pan out.
      4. RWC7s: In San Francisco next summer and I encourage everyone to attend. The goal is to have a successful event and to show that USAR/RIM can host a major rugby event.
      5. Strategic Plan: We learned what Dan Payne’s priorities are: youth, HP and RWC7s.
      6. USA Rugby Leadership: There were two openings on the USAR Board and Chad Keck was reaffirmed and Barbara O’Brien was added.
        1. Turner: How did you vote and why?
        2. Yeoman: I did not personally vote for Keck. I felt that he was present during RIM, PRO Rugby and some of those other large financial decisions and went along with them. I did vote for O’Brien as her connection with the Denver School Board is an immense help.
        3. Watson: I voted for neither of them. Same reason for Keck as Yeoman indicated. I didn’t vote for O’Brien because she isn’t as familiar with rugby.
      7. USAR Dues: We increased USAR dues by $5. The TRU has NOT decided to follow.
        1. Tate: Yes, we discussed it but decided that we didn’t have enough notice to act on it this year. We may look at this for next year, we would be more interested in covering inflation than “making more money”. The more ambitious things like our strategic plan is…the more money we will need to ensure success.
      8. Insurance Policy: The policy that comes with CIPP insurance is changing.
    2. Watson: I’d urge you to follow USA Rugby and what they are doing, check the website often. Also send Dave and I feedback, we need to hear from you or we can’t act.
      1. Dues: I was on the dues committee and discovered that the youth in general are paying the least out of all sports in the USA. I believe the $5 was to cover some immediate costs. I’m expecting the next one to be larger.
        1. Turner: How much larger and when?
        2. Yeoman: We don’t know exactly how much or when but we are looking at following normal inflation schedules, which is usually 2.5%.
      2. Insurance: I was also on a committee for insurance and we discovered some major issues. A new provider is being looked at but we’re discovering that rugby is not easy nor are providers likely to cover. We would urge everyone that they have primary insurance. In the future you may not be covered by USAR if you don’t.
        1. Pryor: To be clear, you can CIPP without health insurance?
        2. Watson: Yes, as of right now but that may change.
        3. Fisher: As a new club, one of our largest hurdles was getting insurance for field use. Has the TRU thought of helping cover this hurdle?
        4. Tate: We have not looked at that and I don’t know that the TRU has the volume for that.
        5. Fisher: I volunteer to help with that.
        6. Yeoman: As of right now you do not have to have your own insurance. BUT if you don’t, you’re out of pocket could be significantly greater. You need to make sure to read the policy.
      3. Value adds: What do you get when you CIPP? Insurance, referees, National Championships and so forth. We asked RIM what they were going to give to the members. They had nothing, so I proposed that we work with Val-Pak. When you register with USA Rugby you are eligible for discounts with local companies in your area. Secondly Val-Pak will donate 50% of their commission on eligible sales back to USA Rugby. I’m hoping to hear if we have an agreement on this in the next week.
  7. Discipline
    1. Who’s the Ref
      1. Tate: Another change, disciplinary reports will be moved into Who’s the Ref! This is also due to security and empathy for our players. WTR is a secure portal that requires a username and password. More details on the website soon.
        1. Pryor: Who owns WTR and how can we ask for development?
        2. Young: TRRA technically owns the subscription but we will have control of the DC reports. You can send change requests to me.
  8. High Performance – Tomsak
    1. Tomsak: Our second annual Women’s All Star weekend will be Nov 18-19, 2017 @ Grand Prairie. We have MARFU and TRU committed and we are talking with several other GUs. We’ll look to make it a festival event with other TRU matches and it will be streamed again.
    2. Tate: The TRU is hosting the event so that we can sell sponsorships, we can have a festival weekend etc. Rather than us paying to send people somewhere else.
    3. Tomsak: We were at Grand Prairie last year and we’ll be there again. Thanks to John Kurylas for stepping up again!
  9. Sponsorships – Tomsak
    1. Tomsak: We’re in the final year of our Red Ball Oxygen sponsorship and I’m hoping to renew. We opened a new location in Buda, TX (near Austin) and if we can get some referrals than we can probably renew that sponsorship. As a reminder if you give a lead than you get a kick back for your club. Our sponsorship with Ruck Science continues and we just worked with them to redesign the website.
  10. Club Requirements
    1. L200 Coaching Certification
    2. CMS
      1. Complete by Wed at 5pm or pay the unlock fee. Must include rosters, subs, scores and disciplinary reports. This is active for all divisions, including WD3 and MD4.
        1. Kolberg: Why don’t we put in rosters on Friday night?
        2. Young: That is required but teams aren’t doing it. As well as all CMS data is supposed to be done within 48 hours of the match.
        3. Tate: Once we finalize the schedule Wendy will submit the divisions to USAR and we will get our CMS logins. That will also include the user guide like every year.
    3. Rescheduling Matches/Forfeits (RRRC)
    4. Add/Change/Drop Match Form and Fee
  11. Branding/Social Media
    1. TRU Website
      1. Redesigned site!
        1. Tate: The new site is up, it’s mobile responsive and will be easier to find things. It will keep evolving so keep an eye on it.
      2. Club Contacts on TRU Website
        1. Young: We will be moving these into WTR and will no longer be listed on website. This is mainly due to security as it’s not recommended to have clean emails listed on open websites.
    2. WTR Contacts – Make sure they are updated each season!
    3. Feedburner (News) – 2 officers per club are required to be signed up.
    4. Twitter
    5. Facebook
    6. Youtube
  12. Winter/Spring AGM
    1. Tate: As we discussed at the top of hour, we will do a digital presentation. We will continue to have the Summer/Fall AGM in person. More details to come.
    2. Turner: What is the likelihood that the summer/fall would ever be joined with the Summit again?
    3. Tate: This year was different because we wanted to make sure that the nominees for elections had a forum. As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary. So that depends on when the Summit is each year.
    4. Yeoman: You also mentioned that the major metro cities will be the focus for the Summit.
    5. Tate: I wouldn’t ever say never but we have found more participation in the larger cities and those that have easy airport access. We may look to combine it with other rugby events, perhaps a test match if that matched up. I like to combine it with the Summit or other events because it saves on travel.
  13. New Business?
    1. Lost Afternoon Houston – Dec 1, 2017
      1. Tate: This event happens in Houston and Chicago annually and supports youth rugby. They are well known for having amazing guest speakers with incredible resumes. This event has a long tradition and is a way for everyone to gather and reconnect.
    2. Youth Rugby
      1. Dale: When are we going to start looking at developing youth?
      2. Tate: This does bring up a bit of a thorny topic. USAR created silos in 2003 where youth, colleges and club were broken apart. USAR is now moving away from that term and perhaps that philosophy. World Rugby gave USAR a grant to for their recruit and retain survey and we found that 10% of Youth/HS and College continue on to play at the Club level. We are growing at the Club level but we don’t know how much of that is coming from the levels below us.
      3. Yeoman: Rather than focus on just youth, how about we develop a strategic plan for the TRU? So we know where we need to invest funds?
      4. Tate: Yes, it’s a really good question. We as a Union need to be thinking about how we are spending our money and our overall strategy. We certainly have clubs that are including youth but it is not a Union coordinated effort.
      5. Dale: It’s got to start from the bottom, when they are 3-4 years old.
      6. Tate: Yes, we have clubs doing this but then we have a gap from HS to College. Most of these programs are not affiliated with a TRU Club or the Union. It remains to be seen how many of these kids trickle through?
      7. DuLong: 1/3rd of my Club team played youth or high school rugby. I recently joined a TRU Board call and asked about high schools joining the TRU.
      8. Scheef: I don’t know that Rugby Texas needs to be under the TRU but it needs to be a coordination.
      9. Dodge: Rugby Union Growth is a new organization that I’m a member of and one its objectives is to try to fill in the gaps that we are talking about. Primarily it will be a grant and fundraising effort but we are looking to branch out from there. We’d love to work directly with the TRU.
      10. Watson: I’ve spoken to a lot of the USA Rugby Congress members that represent the youth. They do find that if they work directly with a Union that they have great success.
      11. Turner: It’s not just about where Rugby Texas goes, the TRU represents Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas as well. We would want to make sure that all of those areas were coordinated.
      12. Tate: This highlights the need for some kind of strategic plan to figure out what our role will be. We’ve discussed four to five parallel efforts just in this short conversation.
      13. Yeoman: 100% agree, the closer we can work with those entities will be positive. But we have to be willing to set those egos aside and work together for the greater good. If we look at the traditional model it is HS, College and Pro. Club exists but is not the top of the pyramid.
      14. Tate: That brings up a good point, does rugby fit that traditional model? I don’t think it does and it’s one of the beautiful things that attracts people to rugby. We have a community base model and as such it offers something that traditional sports don’t necessarily offer.
      15. Kolberg: To me the model is very simple, we have to become one of the top rugby nations in the world. Like New Zealand.
      16. Scheef: My suggestion would be to put together a committee that has representation from a few levels but builds an overall strategy. We have to figure out a way to change that 90% of younger players aren’t continuing to play rugby.
      17. Pryor: We have to recognize that youth rugby doesn’t only develop players but it should develop coaches and referees. We are seeing that at the Austin Huns where their kids start playing touch, then they move along to tackle and the coaches are traveling up with them. We need to have new referees helping out too, it’s a slower game and the rules are easier to follow. We also need to make sure that we are following some of the same formats and rules. We had tournaments where players had never worn flags or they had 6 years olds doing tackle. We have to get on the same page on this.
      18. Tate: There is no reason why we as the governing body can’t pull reps together as a committee. For those clubs that have youth programs already it would probably be easy to convince them to work together. Other programs we may have to keep working together.
      19. Fisher: If there is already organic interest around youth rugby then the TRU should be providing the infrastructure and development.
      20. Pryor: Once we decide the formats that we follow for youth rugby, we should be teaching these kids fundamentals that apply to all versions of our game.
      21. Tate: Yes and that brings in the coaching, we would want to bring in coaching standards. We don’t want to be saying that coaches have to coach this way, but rather help them pass on the fundamentals to their players.
    3. World Corporate Games – Nov 16-19, 2017
      1. Yeoman: USA Rugby has partnered with this event to bring co-ed FIT touch rugby to this event. They are looking for corporations to sponsor teams. Players can be from one club or a mixture from multiple clubs.
  14. Action Required – Who wants to volunteer?
    1. Youth: David Dodge, Marty and Brad DuLong
    2. Club Insurance (for fields and practice space): Ron Watson and Derek Fisher
    3. TRU Strategic Plan: Kirk Tate and David Yeoman (to work with RBEA)
  15. Meeting End (2:24 pm)