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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 5/14/2018

The Red River Competitions Committee will now be releasing their monthly committee call minutes and notes. View all of the archived RRRC minutes or read on for the most recent:

    1. Roll Call
      1. Young
      2. Dodge
      3. Kolberg
      4. Kurylas
      5. Keuppens
      6. Tolar
      7. Turner
      8. Fosco
      9. Dale
      10. Hughes
      11. Green
      12. Guest: Lee Raney
        1. Regrets:
          1. Watson (Proxy to Kolberg)
          2. Gross
    2. Arkansas Gryphon’s (Lee Raney) presentation re: Potentially Joining RRRC / TRU
      1. Dodge: We have Lee Raney on the call so he can present his application for the Arkansas Gryphons joining the RRRC and TRU. Lee, I do want to make sure that you understand that admission to the TRU is a step that you will have to go through as well. We will also have to get USAR’s NCC blessing as this may have competitive repercussions with MARFU.
      2. Raney: I’ve played for the Gryphons for 12 years and have also served on the MARFU board for a few years. I’ve talked with Luke T. and he gave me some ideas on some initial concerns. The biggest concern seems to be lack of referees in the North region of the TRU. We have four referees that would be available on a part-time basis.
      3. Dodge: All of those referees are cipp’d with your club?
      4. Raney: Yes all but one. I believe the second concern was around the impact of MARFU with us requesting to leave. Two years ago we had 5 teams and after this year we only expect to have three teams as two have fallen off. With three teams we can’t meet the USAR requirements without playing outside of our conference. By reaching out to the TRU/RRRC we are trying to get ahead of the problem instead of being reactive.
      5. Keuppens: I have a couple of questions after reading your application. 1. How many CIPP’d players do you anticipate having next year? 2. Can you also give us a quick summary of your performance?
      6. Raney: We had around 35 guys CIPP’d every year and historically we’ve finished second or third behind Wichita. THis is D3 play.
      7. Keuppens: And would you like to play D3 or D2 in the TRU? I saw that your application mentioned D2?
      8. Raney: We only thought D2 because the travel would be better but we’re happy to play in D3 as well.
      9. Kolberg: Remind me where you guys are located?
      10. Raney: Springdale, NW of Little Rock. We are having a pitch leveled for us behind our club bar.
      11. Dodge: If you leave the competition in MARFU how many of the D3 sides will continue on? Do any of them have multiple sides?
      12. Raney: Wichita has one side but they schedule as many Bsides as they can. They could potentially move over to the St Louis bracket in D3 or they could make the jump to D2.
      13. Dodge: What is your current farthest travel?
      14. Raney: Wichita is five hours, 5-6 hours is pretty normal for us.
      15. Dodge: Have you had any forfeits in the last three years?
      16. Raney: No forfeits.
      17. Dodge: The four referees you have indicated would be available, are they willing to travel?
      18. Raney: I had only mentioned the northern cities in Oklahoma and Arkansas. They seemed to be OK with that.
      19. Dodge: We’d have to look at our alignments but you would more than likely travel to Dallas.
      20. Raney: Yes, sir we’ve talked about it as a club. Our biggest issue is that we are only getting four competitive matches a season. Our current union doesn’t seem interested in growing the clubs or the competition.
      21. Keuppens: Have you played Tulsa and Little Rock and how did you fair against them?
      22. Raney: Generally speaking those teams get the better of us.
      23. Turner: To give some detail on Tulsa vs Gryphons and the competitive level of D3 in MARFU…essentially there is no promotion/relegation. Wichita won the USAR D3 Club Championships a few years ago and they still play in D3. I believe that there D3 is comparable to our D2.
      24. Green: No questions really, we all know there are no referees in the North and this would just add to that problem. It’s a huge distance to travel and I can’t commit to getting referees up there on a regular basis. If you were brought in, we’d be looking at Arkansas to develop and train a referee group. We don’t have the resources to train them at this distance right now. I’m also concerned that visiting teams would have big issues with home-side referees.
      25. Raney: There are are also a couple of other referees in the area that we can reach out to as well.
      26. Green: I can’t commit to doing any assignments in your area with referees that I don’t know. If you come to our normal cities we are happy to assign referees. At this point we don’t have the resources to cover matches outside of our normal areas.
      27. Dodge: Any other questions? None. As mentioned before there is still the TRU to review the application and then the USAR NCC question as well. We will circle back with you after the TRU call next week.
        1. Dodge (Raney left the call): Let’s get through the TRU call next week and Wendy can send out an email to the RRRC to see where stand. We don’t need to take a vote or have additional discussion at this point because they would have to become TRU members and agreement from USAR. The comment I initially got from USAR was that the MARFU D3 would die if they left so the initial feeling was it wouldn’t go through.
    3. Followups
      1. Competitions
        1. 4/7 Dallas Quins (W) vs Tulsa (W) (rainout/Tulsa forfeit)
          1. Young: Spoke with Tulsa and Quins and they’ve agreed to add it to the 2019 schedule (Tulsa @ Quins).
        2. Arrows at GRFC 4/0718 – Ineligible player
          1. Young: We had mentioned writing something up for the website?
          2. Dodge: I’ve been meaning to write up a response but haven’t had the time. Let me see if I can get that done by June 1.
    4. RRRC 15s Wrap Up
      1. Young: The Austin Blacks did a really great job hosting, we did have some streaming issues and I’m working on them with a credit.
      2. Book Checks
        1. Young: These went really well, no major issues. Having early communication was the key here and teams did everything that was required.
        2. Dodge: Good, that was the goal, we wanted to have early communication. We’ll want to do that again next year once we release the schedules.
    5. RRRC 7s
      1. Schedule Change
        1. Kueppens: Originally we’d awarded the second bid to HARC on 7/14 but found that another TOLA tournament wasn’t interested in moving dates. So we felt in the best interest of the competition that we should swap Oklahoma and HARC. So the updated schedule is:
          1. 6/23 – Bloodfest 7s (Austin)
          2. 6/30 – USA Rugby Super Qualifiers (MEN only)
            1. East – NOVA @ Morven Park @ Leesburg, VA
            2. West – San Francisco Golden Gate @ Treasure Island, CA
            3. 7/14 – University of Oklahoma @ Norman, OK
            4. 7/28 – HARC @ Spring, TX8/11 – 8/12 – USA Rugby National 7s
        2. Proposed Hong Kong Format for combined Qualifier / TOLA tournaments [LINK]
          1. Keuppens: In order to encourage increased participation and raise the level of competition within the RRRC Qualifier and TOLA competitions, the RRRC 7s sub‐committee is proposing a Hong Kong Style format for the second and third qualifier of the 2018 competitive cycle. This format will combine RRRC qualifier and TOLA teams during pool play and reseed teams into RRRC and TOLA brackets based on Pool play results. For instance, if 12 teams register for a tournament and 4 of those teams declare that they are seeking RRRC points, the tournament format will feature 4 pools of 3 teams. Teams will play 2 pool play matches from which seeding into the knockout rounds will be determined (see illustrations below). The top teams from each pool will advance to the Cup/ Plate round which will be played for RRRC qualifier points and the remaining teams will be seeded into the Bowl and Shield competitions which will be played for TOLA points. Pool size and pool amounts will depend on the amount of teams entering a tournament as well as the amount of teams declaring RRRC or TOLA prior to that tournament.
          2. Dodge: I would just point out that a lot of these qualifiers have TOLA brackets anyway so it shouldn’t that big of a change.
          3. Keuppens: Also for those on the TRU Board we’re not asking that TOLA be assigned referees like we’ve done historically for the qualifiers. We still expect the hosts to find TOLA referees. But it would allow for referees to be seen at higher quality matches and could be good for development.
          4. Fosco: Yes, wasn’t Space City run like HK last year?
          5. Keuppens: Yes, just for the women’s bracket. Space City was kind of our beta test for this and it seemed to go very well.
          6. Young: Yes, I think in particular for the women’s bracket this is very important as it gives teams the taste of the higher level matches. It also give higher level teams opportunities to get more players involved.
          7. Fosco: I agree, we liked playing new and more experienced teams.
          8. Dodge: One note here, Bloodfest will not have a Hong Kong style bracket as they already had a system in place.
          9. Keuppens: That’s correct and part of that is level of scale since that tournament is so large.
          10. Kolberg: What do we think this will do for the last tournament? Typically we’ve had some attrition with teams that are out or have already made it.
          11. Keuppens: We feel that giving teams two reasons to play will actually increase participation. THey would be playing for RRRC points and TOLA points.
          12. Tolar: You had talked about subsidizing referees for these events, how is that going to work?
          13. Keuppens: Historically the TRU has covered referee for the RRRC Qualifier events. We’ve gotten confirmation that that is included in the budget again this year. We’ve created a formula to cover both events and ensure that only RRRC matches are being covered by the TRU.
            1. Kolberg: I move we approve the “Hong Kong” format for the tournaments.
            2. Fosco: I second.
              1. Dodge: Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
              2. Dodge: Fil can you clean it up and get it to Wendy for publication?
              3. Keuppens: Yes sir.
        3. Tournament Entry Fees
          1. Keuppens: We had talked about making the entry fee $300.
          2. Dodge: This is a slight increase over prior years?
          3. Keuppens: We are to some degree, we haven’t increased the price in 2-3 years. We also have one less stop than last year. This was also coupled with research of other tournaments across the country, a slight increase is very reasonable. There are some tournaments out there that are $400-500 each.
          4. Kolberg: Do you know what the Super Qualifier entry fees are?
          5. Dodge: Super qualifiers are $450.
            1. Kolberg: I make a motion that the entry fee for RRRC 7s is $300 per tournament.
            2. Hughes: I second.
            3. Dodge: Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
        4. Super Qualifier Locations are San Francisco/Washington, DC
        5.  Eligibility
          1. Keuppens: There is some new player and team eligibility this year that the new USAR Game Board has required. Teams have to play in at least two qualifying tournaments. Players also must participate in two tournaments (TOLA or RRRC) under certain conditions. We got special permission from the Game Board to include TOLA tournaments (if sanctioned by USAR).
          2. Dodge: If this region we are requiring that teams must play in two tournaments to be eligible?
          3. Keuppens: Yes, two tournaments. Again we want to strongly discourage any attrition but teams only have to attend two. We are strongly encouraging that teams attend all three.
    6. Women’s D1 Restructure
      1. Dodge: I circulated this earlier and I believe it is just information. I would like the women’s reps to reach out to your constituents to seek input. Note that I did mention that RRRC is tied into the Gold Cup and we have obligations until 2019. That would leave the Quins out of additional matches again.
      2. Fosco: How do you mean it would affect the D2 sides?
      3. Dodge: For example, the way that we had a waiver for D1, top two ranked women’s D2 side had to play the Dallas Harlequins.
      4. Fosco: Are they even going to stay in our Union? [Tulsa] I’ve heard some rumblings.
      5. Turner: Yes, I think it’s possible.
      6. Young: I’ve said most of this in email but as a recent participant in the last CR it was incredibly expensive and really hard to recruit (join our team and buy plane tickets!). Of course I will pass this on to my teams but I’ve spoken to most of them about it and they are not pleased. We are tied into the Gold Cup until 2019 so that does complicate things.
      7. Dodge: What if matches were spread out over the fall and spring?
      8. Young: That’s how we did it in the past and it helped but was still very expensive and burdensome on the amount of travel.
      9. Dodge: Dale, can you be sure to send this to the Quins and get their feedback? I’ve heard they are initially interested, right?
      10. Dale: Yes, they’ve been toying with trying to schedule matches with Black Ice and Glendale already so it wouldn’t be to big of a leap for them. But I’ll talk with them a bit more since we have a proposal in hand.
    7. CR Terms of Reference – CSC Approval Pending
    8. Preliminary discussion of promotion / relegation
      1. Dodge: John thanks for doing the initial legwork on this. Has there been any changes since the RRRC has shaken out?
      2. Kurylas: Not much, if the Austin Blacks III win USARs they couldn’t move up. Relegation doesn’t change.
      3. Turner: OKC is likely to request relegation.
      4. Dodge: I spoke with the Huns and they will likely appeal any relegation.
      5. Kolberg: What about Little Rock?
      6. Dodge: They’ve been lobbying to go back to D2 since they were promoted. My personal thoughts were that they did quite well, coming in 4th overall (not last). They have the components of a D1 club and we know that travel is the hardest problem. I suspect they will probably want to move down.
      7. Keuppens: I’ve spoken with them a bit and they are worried about having a team at all next year. They are expecting a few retirements over the summer.
      8. Kolberg: We need to reach out to HURT, San Antonio etc and talk to them about potential promotion. I emailed Alliance while we’ve been on the call and they are already discussing it.
        1. Dodge: Let’s apply the policy and let teams know. They need a deadline for appeal and that should be at least after USAR National Club Championships. In the meantime we can be talking to any teams that we see potential in.
        2. Kurylas: In the policy it says that the teams have 21 days to appeal.
        3. Dodge: So if we post it on Friday, May 18 and give them the 21 days.
        4. Keuppens: Why can’t we post it now? Based on the policy everyone has met the qualifications of promotion. Is there anything that prohibits us from posting now?
        5. Dodge: I would prefer to allow those teams to play their upcoming matches rather than causing a distraction. Let’s post if on the 18th and then give the 21 day review period.
    9. New match minimums (Approved by NCC but still subject to approval by CSC):
      1. Dodge: New match minimums approved by NCC earlier this month are as follows.  Note, these are still subject to approval by CSC:
        Division 2018-19 Mins.
        MD1 10
        MD2 9
        MD3 9
        WD1 6
        WD2 6
      2. A couple of explanatory notes here.  First, these are minimums. If a CR finds it desirable or necessary to increase this number, it can. Second, the reduction in MD1 minimums was the recognition of the shrinking number of MD1 clubs and the impact of MLR.
      3. I would like to see the committee use the “extra” matches to request / require divisional cross-over matches, to the extent scheduling and geographical concerns allow.  Specifically, after promotion / relegation, I would like to see matches between the MD1/WD1 teams that finished at the bottom of the table v. MD2/WD1 teams that finished at the top of the table.  The reality is that strength / skill / competitiveness is a continuum across the divisions. The last couple of clubs in MD1 are not radically better than the top two clubs in MD2. This will allow for more competitive matches, without the fear of messing up anyone’s chances of making playoffs, and encourage lower-division teams to “play up”. If needed to generate enthusiasm, we could style this as a “Red River Inter-Divisional Cup,” or something of that nature.
    10. New Business
      1. Assigning home-side referees (Turner)
        1. Dodge: The issue here is that coaches and or players are being assigned to certain matches. To be honest I don’t know if this is a RRRC issue or a TRRA issue. The fence is straddled a bit because referee assignments have competitive outcomes. With the referee shortage I’m hesitant to make rules that hinder the TRRA further.
        2. Keuppens: I agree with you Dodge, this is a TRRA issue. Remember about a decade ago there was a huge issue between the referee society and the union. Effectively the Union fired the society and in the end we lost lots of many talented referees. At the end of the day we contract their services and we need to continue that relationship. I don’t think it’s outrageous that the RRRC could make a request that assigned referees are not affiliated with any club. We can just look to the Rugby Europe debacle…nothing good comes of that. I think we can take if offline and have a further discussion.
        3. Green: I believe it happened once this year and Theo was the only person available to take a match in the North.
        4. Turner: I made a formal complaint about the appointment before the match and a referee with a conflict was assigned to the match. We talk about fairness and equality and then we are going to just overlook it?
        5. Dodge: I don’t think the outcome of that match had such competitive impacts as you think. I know Scott tries to avoid this but if we have one referee available, that is who is available. Of course it’s your choice to not play the match but we have to do what we have to do to play games. The real problem is that we don’t have enough referees. We have to fix that issue first. To be quite honest we don’t have the authority regarding how TRRA assigns referees. They are an independent body and they contract directly with the TRU. Any further discussion?
    11. Meeting Adjourned (9:52 PM)
      1. Kolberg: Motion we adjourn.
      2. Hughes: Second.