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TRU Board Notes – 7/16/2018

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. Tate
    4. James
    5. Green
    6. Tomsak
      1. Guest
        1. Frank Waller (LSWC)
      2. Regrets
        1. Turner
  2. Followups
    1. LoneStar Collegiate Women
      1. Proposal to join TRU
        1. Tate: Frank Waller is on the call tonight representing the Lone Star Women’s Collegiate Conference. They have proposed re-joining the TRU as they were in the past, they were called the Southwest Collegiate Conference at that time. They have eight teams that are playing 15s, five teams that are playing 7s…these are existing clubs that have been playing previously in the Lone Star Conference. They play mostly a fall season, so from a referee standpoint it doesn’t stack directly on top of our Senior rugby. This could potentially be a great training ground for new referees if we can get the bodies. They would join the TRU and function as any other club would as TRU members. The Lone Star Collegiate MEN are still their own separate entity and are managed by Shayne Roberson. Frank represents the LSWC and they are not affiliated with Shayne anymore. I’m personally in favor of this proposal, I would like to have all these schedules under one umbrella and I think the opportunity to connect the college women to the senior women is a good thing for the growth of the game. If we do this the right way, we can use this to develop more referees. Discussion?
          1. Dodge: Frank, what is the geographic distribution of these clubs?
          2. Frank: Texas State, A&M, SHSU, Texas Tech, UNT, OU, UT, UTSA play 15s in the fall. The other teams would play 7s in the Spring, tournament style.
          3. Tate: For the spring 7s, it depends on what weekend and where the tournament is based.
          4. Frank: Understood, we can work around open weekends for spring 7s.
          5. Tate: There won’t be open weekends but there is definitely weekends that are heavier than others. We also tend to have weather makeup matches and those can get pushed to the spring. If we can also have events at single facilities that can help with referee resources as they can be working from one location instead of scattered all over. As long as we can work together I’m not to concerned.
          6. Green: I’ve talked with Frank a few times about this upcoming season. Since we are looking at mainly a fall schedule that is very helpful. My main concern would be that before a schedule comes out we would try to have the 7s tournaments at senior rugby events that are already happening. The main issue last year was the 7s events were at remote locations where we don’t many referee resources. But if the event is at Lake Highlands or Burr Field, we have lots of available referees. We need to determine where the events are instead of asking for bids from the teams. If we’re smart with the scheduling it’s a win win for everyone!
            1. Green: Texas Tech will be the hardest challenge for D1A or women’s, we’ve lost our local referee in that area. So that will be a challenge and very expensive.
            2. Tate: So what I’m hearing is that in the fall we will have 15s matches in Lubbock and Norman and that will be an issue. But other than that it will be a very doable thing.
            3. Frank: Do the Texas Tech men play in the fall?
            4. Green: Their D1A schedule is going to be primarily in the fall. However if the appointment will be from USA Rugby they aren’t allowed to do two matches. But perhaps we could get a Texas Tech rugby player certified.
            5. Tate: Any other questions or concerns? NONE.
              1. Tate: Ok, if we approve this it would add around 300 players to the TRU. So that begs the question of how would they be represented? I see two options: 1) we never eliminated the affiliate seat that was originally in place for the colleges. 2) Or they could vote along with our women’s senior clubs. Any thoughts on this?
                1. Frank: I know I’m not a voting member but I think you have two different animals there.
                2. Tomsak: So if we lump them in with the senior women, it would be about 300-400 people represented by one rep?
                3. Tate: Correct. Remember that the clubs can only vote for their top divisional team, so the Reds have a roster of 150+ but they can only vote in D1. If the LSWC had their own seat they would be perhaps slightly over represented numerically but it would differentiate them from the senior women.
                4. James: Being the women’s rep and coaching Texas A&M, I think we need the affiliate seat. Whoever ends up being on the board would have the colleges solely in their focus.
                5. Tate: Exactly, if the needs are widely different, it does point towards them having their own seat.
                6. Dodge: When the seat existed before, was it a voting seat?
                7. Tate: Yes, it was a voting seat.
                8. Young: Bylaws confirm that the “Independent Rugby Director” would have a vote but note that that rep couldn’t vote for TRU elections, ie they can’t vote for TRU President etc. We’re calling it the affiliate seat, but the bylaws call it the Independent Rugby Director.
                9. Dodge: You mentioned that the women’s membership is a little bit less than 25% overall representation. If you added in the LSWC (~300 players) I believe it would cause a proportionality issue.
                10. Tomsak: Frank, would it make a big difference to how you (LSWC) would be represented?
                11. Frank: Yes, I would ask that we have a voice. It is two different entities and the college teams have their own issues.
                12. Tomsak: I understand that but I also understand Dodge’s point.
                13. James: I think it’s crucial that these women have a voice. Alot of the issues with the other conference was that we didn’t have a voice. I really think it would go a long way.
                14. Tomsak: I’m not saying they shouldn’t have a vote but I want to review the numbers.
                15. Frank: Sure, I understand the proportion issue. I coach Plano rugby and we get one vote but a team with multiple divisions may get more votes (according to Rugby Texas).
                16. Dodge: If we’re talking about adding a board seat for ~300 people then they would have a significant proportional impact. No other member of the board represents 300 people.
                17. Tate: As of April 13, 2018 (15s cut off essentially) we had 473 with D1 men, 592 with D2 men, 602 D3/D4 Men, 360 with all women. When we had the three SWWC college teams who voted with the senior clubs, we were almost exactly at 25%. With the advent of D4 and the collegiate women having left temporarily that has skewed things more heavily to MD3. So if the women had one seat, they would be the largest constituency.
                18. Tomsak: So they would equal Men’s D3 and D4?
                19. Tate: They would be a little bit more. That assumes our registration levels would be the same. Men’s D1 also included Sabrecats who had a few registered (~20) and Men’s D3/D4 includes a few social teams (Lost Souls).
                20. Dodge: For a D1 club, you’re counting everyone in that club under the D1 banner.
                21. Tate: Correct, this is not about the division you play in, but only the seat you can vote for. It’s also counting unique registrants, not counting multiple roles.
                22. Dodge: We’re skew up a bit in D1 as we’re adding West Houston and San Antonio.
                23. Tate: Yes and D2 will skew down as a result…losing Little Rock, Tulsa and OKC will change the numbers as well.
                24. Tomsak: If we broke out D4 how many is that?
                25. Tate: 430 in D3 and 132 in D4. 132 isn’t enough to warrant a seat by itself. Like I said, there isn’t a perfect ratio for this. It’s roughly equitable but it’s not perfect. We may make a decision for this year but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We could change the bylaws if we wanted. But we’d have to move quickly!
                  1. Tate: One argument is that we want to make sure that the agenda unique to a division or group is represented. We have a referee seat on our board as well as a Vice President spot and those are meant to balance things out.
                  2. Frank: So if men cam on board, they would have their own seat?
                  3. Tate: Not necessarily, the seat as written is one rep for all “independent teams”. Why don’t we take a quick straw poll…Assuming we reach consensus of how LSWC will be represented, who is in favor?
                  4. Dodge: Yes, in favor of admitting.
                  5. Tomsak: Yes, in favor of admitting. I like the independent rep and in the future would like to see a seat for D4.
                  6. James: Yes
                  7. Green: Yes
                  8. Tate: Yes
                  9. Tate: Next straw poll is a choice between LSWC having their own seat or having them vote along with the senior women’s clubs:
                  10. Tomsak: Vote with the women for the first year. I really feel like we need a Men’s D4 seat as well.
                  11. Dodge: Vote with the women, concerned about proportionality
                  12. Green: Agree with Dodge, maybe for the first year only and then we revisit.
                  13. James: Own seat.
                  14. Tate: Own seat.
                  15. Tate: So logistically speaking, if they had their own seat and filled the “Independent Rugby Director” this year, there aren’t any opportunities to vote for new seats anyway. If they wanted to be able to vote for TRU president or VP that would require a bylaw change If they voted with the women we don’t have to make any bylaw changes. So in short, no bylaw changes would be expected if this was approved. Frank, if there were two proposals for the upcoming year: 1) you would be represented by Nick or 2) How do think your clubs would feel about being represented by Nick but would have a non-voting board member? Then it could become a voting position with a bylaw change next summer. Is this a deal breaker? Tell me your thoughts.
                  16. Frank: Well, it’s not a deal breaker, Nick will definitely have our interests in her heart. I would prefer to have a non-voting representative than no representative. I don’t want Nick to be ganged up on either.
                  17. Tate: Sure and we don’t do a bunch of ganging up on this board, but I’ll let you chat with Nick about those concerns on your own. 🙂 Frank, would you be willing to consider for this first year having the LSW elect a non-voting member to the board? Then you would be asking Nick when votes are needed to consider the LSC in her deliberation. Does anyone have an objection to this?
                  18. Tomsak: I think it would be totally fair to have them on calls.
                  19. Dodge: Yes, I think that is a good middle course.
                  20. Green: Yes, I agree.
                  21. James: Yes, I’m OK with that. Frank and I have been in discussion with Holly Iker on all of this.
                  22. Tate: Frank, just so you know, changing the bylaws is a big job. We have a notice provision, proposed changes have to be sent to the clubs and then a special meeting has to be called.
                  23. Frank: Ha, I’ve been in Texas rugby for 45 years, I know the ropes!
                  24. Tate: Ok, this would allow us to include you in all of our discussions and trust Nick to honor your constituents. Then next summer we can look at adjusting the bylaws and address all these concerns. So, I propose a motion that we accept the Lone Star Women’s College Clubs as members of the Union. As there are no women’s seats opening this upcoming year, they vote in their own representative choice who is non-voting. Then we would review everything for next summer.
                  25. Tomsak: I second.
                  26. Frank: I agree.
                  27. Tate: Any other discussions? Objections? NONE. APPROVED. Thank you Frank and welcome! Please feel free to work with Wendy if you want to do a formal election on the website or if you are the rep, just let us know!
    2. Dues Increase
      1. Tate: This is a follow up from our last call, I got the finances from our treasurer and I want to send those out. Then we can have some discussion over email.
      2. Dodge: Are we replacing Luke?
      3. Tate: Yes, Luke is cycling out.
      4. Dodge: When will that election?
      5. Young: After the AGM.
      6. Dodge: I’d like to have a full board if we can.
      7. Tate: Unfortunately, it will be after USAR opens the CIPP cycle. So if we need to call a special meeting, or vote digitally we have to do it before August.
      8. Dodge: Ok, makes sense.
    3. Oz Tag
      1. Tate: I spoke with the Oz Tag founders directly last week and am having lunch with Rick soon. I’m waiting for a written proposal that we can further review.
    4. TOLA Commissioner – Jinnie Pratt
      1. Young: We had a few interested individuals but Jinnie was brought into the fold. She got her first taste this weekend at Tornado Alley 7s with a weather delay.
      2. Tate: Great, let’s get a notice on the website.
    5. KMAC Sports Streaming
      1. Young: Due to the streaming issues we experienced at RRRC Championships, KMAC has agreed to refund 25% of the amount paid for the initial weekend and offer an additional 25% discount on the next broadcast.
      2. Tate: Does anyone have an objection of this proposal? None. APPROVED.
      3. Young: Great, I will let them know. The next event will be the Women’s All Star event in December.
    6. Mid-America (Tulsa, Little Rock and OKC)
      1. Tate: The proposal to have Tulsa, Little Rock and OKC join Mid-America was approved by the USA Rugby committees. This was previously approved by the TRU, RRRC and Mid-America. The women’s side will continue to participate in the TRU; Tulsa women will CIPP at large as they look to rebuild this year.
    7. New Clubs
      1. South East Texas (Battleground) RFC – Withdrew, will only play socially this year
      2. North Texas Barbarians – USA Rugby application only, Wendy urged them to get full application in ASAP.
      3. HEB – Requested that they complete a new TRU Club application, nothing received by deadline
        1. Tate: We’ve had three teams interested this year but no one has completed the required application process. Dodge, it’s pretty much a done deal for the RRRC divisions and alignments?
        2. Dodge: Correct, it was voted on and approved last week. If they came in as a D4 club it could work, but RRRC is locked up.
        3. Tate: So if a club completes an application we can look at entering them into Men’s D4 or social (or if any women’s clubs apply, they would go into Women’s D3).
    8. Nominations
      1. MDII
        1. Bill Taute, Austin Blacks
        2. Zachary Hiller, HURT
          1. NOTE: Bylaws state “Clubs that compete in multiple divisions, shall only be able to vote for their highest Divisional Director.”
      2. MDIII
        1. Chad Mooney, Shreveport
        2. John Kurylas, Grand Prairie
      3. Congress
        1. Ron Watson, Incumbent
        2. Molly Whitman, Dallas Harlequins (W)
        3. Holly Iker, Oklahoma LSWC
        4. Sallie Buckner, HARC (W)
    9. Summit
      1. Location & Hotel
        1. Tate: Reservations for hotel rooms need to be done by August 10. I would urge everyone to book rooms ASAP as it’s just a courtesy block this year.
      2. Atavus Camp (Sunday)
        1. Tate: We’ve reached an agreement with Atavus to do a coaching clinic on Sunday, August 12. Gary Gold, the USA Rugby Men’s 15s Coach will be in attendance. Gary will also be attending the HOF Banquet (if we can get him from Dallas to Houston). I’m also talking with Shalom about an ongoing training opportunity for the TRU. When I get more details I will let everyone know.
          1. Tate: We did have a conflict with Atavus as the LSC Men were also holding an event in Dallas. Their event will now be in Dallas on Saturday and the TRU will host an event in Houston on Sunday.
        2. Young: Kirk, have you worked out a price point so I can get it on the website and start getting people signed up?
        3. Tate: I’m working with Shalom on the price point so we should have that soon.
        4. Young: Also if we have the details of the event I can make a landing page with all the details including price.
        5. Tate: Yes, we are working on finalizing and once I have everything I will share it. They are also going to give us a promotional code for registered TRU Coaches and that will give a discount. So coaches from elsewhere will pay a higher rate but are still welcome to attend the event.
        6. Tomsak: This sounds phenomenal.
      3. Clinical Requirements (Players)
        1. Young: We will need players available for our clinics again this year. So I will be putting out a call to all clubs and individual players about this soon.
        2. Tate: I’m working with Teshay of D1A on some other things so I will mention that to him as well.
    10. HOF
      1. Hotel Block
      2. Young: HOF committee is meeting tomorrow to review nominees and voting will be done later this week. Announcements will be going up on the website once finalized. HOF banquet will be Saturday evening, August 25.
      3. Tate: Note that the HOF committee is being run by the members of the HOF this year. They’ve talked about adding in some new awards to help garner interest and drive attendance to the HOF event. It also would cover some individuals or clubs that don’t quite fit the HOF requirements but have had large impacts and so they are batting around some new ideas. I’ve indicated that I like these ideas but we need to work out some of the details. This year’s class will probably be a bit smaller as well and that trend will continue.
    11. Summer AGM
      1. Young: Will be at the same location as the HOF/Summit and will take place on Sunday, August 26. Clubs need to RSVP to rsvp@texasrugbyunion.com by August 10 to receive lunch.
      2. Tate: This will conflict with the Atavus camp but we felt it was important to have both events. This is our one face to face event for the year. A big piece of this will be the three open positions and we’ll continue to monitor attendance. It’s been waning year over year and we may move to entirely electronic meetings.
  3. Schedules
    1. MD4/WD3 Fall, split or spring?
      1. Tate: We did a poll of the potential clubs and it looks like most clubs are OK with a fall only or a split. One question I have for Scott is that we’ve added LSWC in the fall, should we still have Men’s D4/Women’s D3 in the fall?
      2. Scott: It should still be fairly light and we won’t be servicing the LSC anymore. We’ve also heard that the high school will be joining the LSC Renegade Referees. So there is quite a bit of details in the air, but right now we look pretty good.
      3. Tate: Dodge, you had said you would have a first draft of the schedule of the RRRC in a week or so?
      4. Dodge: Yes, it will be a first draft and it will go through a few rounds.
      5. Tate: Ok, I’d like to wait on a first draft of RRRC and then we can look at fitting MD4 and WD3 in around it.
      6. Dodge: Also on our last RRRC call Travis Hughes, D3 rep threw out a wild card idea for Men’s D3 playoffs to try and balance the three divisions. I also threw out the idea of a one true Championship weekend.
      7. Tate: So that moves everything back two weeks, right?
      8. Dodge: Yes, it would be an adjustment but it would negate the two weekend match events. It may mean we start our seasons a bit earlier to accommodate, but just know it’s being looked at.
      9. Green: I wasn’t on the RRRC call last week, but I would ask that you check with D1A and LSWC to see if there is any common ground. If we can bring Championship events together it’s easier on our resources.
      10. Dodge: Ok, you want matches all at the same venue, is that what you are saying?
      11. Green: Right, we don’t want to be sending refs to Lubbock, Corpus and Shreveport if we can avoid it.
    2. Sunday Matches
      1. Tate: We will be looking at Sunday matches again this year. This is to help with developing referees and to ease the burden on the schedule.
  4. Championship Event Bids
    1. May 3-5, 2019 – Red River Rugby Conference Championships – Round Rock NOT AVAIL
    2. May 17-18, 2019 – USA Rugby Western Playoffs – Submitted bid with Round Rock, won’t find out until August if accepted
      1. Tate: We’re trying to work ahead to future years and so we had put in bid requests for our events already. We’ll keep everyone updated as we can.
      2. Young: To clarify we put in bids on behalf of the TRU with Round Rock, we haven’t indicated anything to USA Rugby yet. If we can have USA Rugby playoff events in Texas that only benefits our clubs more.
  5. CMS – Submission deadline changing to 48 hours
    1. Tate: The last few seasons we have locked CMS on Wednesday evening and Wendy and I have been talking and we’d like to move that deadline up. The new deadline will be matches will be locked within 48 hours, Monday at 5pm.
    2. Dodge: The USA Rugby NCC has also made this a requirement, so this dovetails with the new requirement quite nicely.
    3. Young: I will update the operating procedures and website.
  6. New Business
    1. RRRC/TOLA
      1. Dodge: Dallas won the USA Rugby Super Qualifier and have automatically advanced to Nationals. NOLA won the Tornado Alley 7s and is in the driver seat but Huns could catch up. On the women’s side APRTC White and Blue (two seperate registered teams) have qualified.
    2. TRRA Update
      1. Green: We held our AGM last month and I was re-elected as Chairman. Tim O’Gara will be the Vice Chairman and Butch N will be heading up RATO (referee training). We’d ask that everyone push as many referees down to the Summit L1 course in Houston. This will probably be our last chance to get referees certified.
        1. Dodge: I am trying to have another referee certification course with the Alliance tournament, I’m working out the logistics on that now.
  7. Meeting Adjourned (10:01 PM)