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TRU Board Notes – 09/17/2018

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. Kurylas
    3. Tate
    4. Hiller
    5. Dodge
    6. Green
    7. James
    8. Yeoman
  2. Followups
    1. TRU Men’s DII rep
      1. Welcome Zachary Hiller
    2. TRU Men’s DIII rep
      1. Welcome John Kurylas
        1. Tate: This one took a bit longer as we didn’t have a quorum on the first round. Second round we did achieve it.
    3. USA Rugby Congress Rep
      1. Ron Watson
        1. Tate: We will have the same cycle for the next cycle as Ron Waston was re-elected.
    4. Budget
      1. Tate: Now that we’ve closed 2017-2018 we need to start on the budget for the upcoming year. We need to finalize our referee contract with TRRA as well.
    5. Schedules
      1. Tate: Schedules have been finalized and pushed out to all the clubs. Those will be loaded into WTR and CMS shortly. We also had our first round of TRU Women’s College matches this past weekend.
        1. Young: One quick note, they don’t want to be called Lonestar anymore, I believe they are going with TRU College Conference.
        2. Tate: We also need to determine who the representative for the TRU College Conference will be. They would be non-voting but we want to extend it to whomever they would like to be invited to that.
      2. TRU Regional Warmup Tournaments
    6. Summit
      1. Tate: We had our largest number of attendees ever, very heavy on Referee L1 and Coaching L200. The only course we didn’t run was the USA Rugby First Aid as USA Rugby couldn’t find an instructor. All the feedback I received was very positive and lots of compliments.
        1. Tate: Can we make sure that we get the referee list to Scott?
        2. Young: Yes, we’ve requested from the course instructor but I can send Cole Jones the direct output from registrations.
      2. Tate: We also had the Atavus coaching and player courses on Sunday. In our partnership with Atavus it will include virtual coaching resources for all TRU coaches and will be available in the next few weeks. We’ll also be looking to have another event with Atavus on December 8 in Austin, TX.
    7. HOF
      1. Tate: Another great event, we had over 100 attendees! We honored nine more inductees and it was a fabulous evening. Another good thing coming out of that was that the HOF members have met and committed to covering the HOF cost. They will raise the funds so that the event will not cost the TRU any money and will hopefully develop into a revenue generating event. That has been a goal for a long time and we’re moving closer to that. Paul Mabry has really taken the charge on raising the funds.
    8. AGM
      1. Tate: As has been the trend for the last four years, in-person attendance continues to decline. We’ve already gone to a virtual AGM for the mid-year meeting and we’ll continue to see if that is the way forward. It would be great to see more active in-person involvement at the AGM. I’m open to more thoughts and ideas on how we can do that.
        1. Tate: One of the largest discussions was when reviewing the financials and the drop in CIPP numbers plus the rising referee fees. We discussed a modest dues increase and we did have buy-in from all of the clubs present. We would be targeting this on our next cycle.
        2. Tate: Another development was that the communication from USA Rugby to it’s GUs is still very poor. We continue to make plans or developments and then find that USA Rugby has gone in another direction but communicated it to anyone.
        3. Tate: It was also announced this week that the USA Rugby National Development Summit will be in Houston, TX in January 2019. This will be a great opportunity for our clubs to attend another rugby development opportunity.
    9. New Clubs
      1. McAllen Maidens – part of the McAllen club, women will compete in TRU Women’s D3
        1. Tate: Love seeing women’s club growing! Very positive and we welcome them.
    10. Championships
      1. TRU
        1. Two dates on the table, Apr 13 or Apr 27. One thought was that Apr 13 would be the first round of MD4 and then a  second round on Apr 27. Scott, do you know if one of those dates is significantly better or worse for TRRA?
        2. Green: I don’t right now. A lot of it depends on location.
        3. Tate: Ok, yes playoffs will be in one of the large cities where we have referee resources.
        4. Green: One consideration would be the MLR schedule which should be coming out next week. They will be coming after a handful of our younger referees to assist with that league.
        5. Tate: A wonderful opportunity for those young referees but makes our resource problems more difficult.
        6. Green: Yes, agree.
        7. Dodge: Just looking at the schedule, right now we do have 16 matches on 4/13 right now and just a few on 4/27.
        8. Tate: I think really the issue is that the last few years Rugby Texas has had their Championship event on the same weekend as ours.
        9. Green: I’ve talked to the Rugby Texas leadership and have asked them to avoid certain dates.
        10. Tate: Ok, what I’m hearing is that we should wait for the MLR schedule and I can speak with Rugby Texas to see what they are thinking. Then we can pick a date once we have all the details.
          1. Kurylas: Why are we looking at two rounds for MD4?
          2. Tate: We don’t have to but it potentially makes things easier for referee resources. The 4/13 weekend is high seed hosts and so it spreads the matches out. Then the playoff tournament is fewer games and not a 2-day event.
      2. RRRC
        1. May 4-5: Round Rock not available, will request bids from clubs in January
          1. Tate: Last year the event was a three day event with the Men’s D1 playing on Friday and Sunday. Then MD2, WD1, MD3 and WD2 played Saturday and Sunday. Is that going to be the same format this year, Dodge?
          2. Dodge: No, Men’s D1 will go back to the format that we had last year, they will declare a winner through league matches with no playoff weekend.
      3. USA Rugby West Playoffs
        1. May 18-19: RRRC has first crack at bids due to geographic rotation; Round Rock also not available, will encourage clubs in major metro areas to submit bids to USA Rugby
          1. Kurylas: So is this on a rotational basis?
          2. Tate: Yes, it’s rotated every two years between the competitive regions. This means that we were the preferred region for last year and this year. It doesn’t mean we will get the bid but we get first crack at consideration.
  3. CMS Compliance
    1. Young: I’ll be checking CMS on Monday evenings (~5pm) and will track it through this document.
    2. Tate: As in years past Wendy will be tracking CMS again this year. Note the updated deadline of Monday at 5pm (or $25 unlock fee). The divisional reps may also be tasked with helping make sure clubs are compliant.
      1. Kurylas: Who tracks the MD4?
      2. Young: I do. The biggest thing there is the guest players. Hunting that down can be tough so I may need some help on that.
      3. Kurylas: I can help, just let me know.
  4. Club Compliance
    1. Young: I’ll also be checking USA Rugby registrations very soon. If clubs are in any other status other than “current”, referees will NOT be assigned. The other possible statuses are:
      1. Grace Period: USA Rugby registration has not been paid
      2. Pending: Can be coaching status, background checks and minimum number of players (minimum is 15 for 15s; 9 for 7s).
    2. Tate: Also this year, the required coaching and referee certification of USA Rugby SafeSport Training must be completed before referees can be assigned. These have all expired and need to be renewed this year. We urge clubs to not dawdle on these steps.
    3. Young: We’ve also heard that background checks have expired and renewing is taking 1-2 weeks to come through. We urge clubs to do this sooner rather than later. If clubs have issues email admin@texasrugbyunion.com and CC membership@usarugby.org if they have any concerns.
    4. Tate: Please remind your clubs and constituents of all these requirements. Please lead by example and make sure that our clubs are compliant.
  5. Pre-season reminders
    1. Tate: Wendy sends out reminders every season but we are only as good as our contact list. A lot of clubs have elections early summer and late fall so contacts change. We also urge clubs to reach out to Wendy so we can keep our contact lists updated.
    2. Young: I’ve posted a reminder to the web and will be emailing it out as another reminder soon.
  6. Eligibility Book Checks
    1. Tate: This has always been a requirement of the TRU but now the RRRC is helping enforce these “books”. We’ve had some incidents where ineligible players have been used or teams at playoffs don’t have any paperwork at all. They will be completing spot checks in the fall (with notice) and without notice in the Spring. The goal isn’t to create havoc but rather that all clubs are fully prepared to meet the level of scrutiny that they would see at the next level. It also helps avoid negative effects of clubs playing ineligible players.
    2. Dodge: We started spot checks last year with teams that were already qualified for RRRC playoffs. We’re going t do the same thing but start earlier in the season. We also have some eligibility changes coming down from USA Rugby and we want clubs to be prepared for that.
    3. Tate: That is another good point, we want to make sure our clubs are prepared for these eligibility changes and aren’t caught flat footed at the next level. As we’ve found out, USA Rugby isn’t always the best at relaying these changes so we can’t be to proactive about what these rules are and how they may affect your club.
    4. Dodge: Yes, we wanted to get these changes out to the members as quickly as possible. The changes will be posted to the website soon.
  7. USA Rugby Eligibility Rule Changes
    1. Dodge: We mentioned on the RRRC call last week that there are some forthcoming USA Rugby Eligibility Rule Changes. I will have a summary and more details for posting on the web soon. I’m unsure if this will have an impact on MD4 or WD3.
    2. Tate: It shouldn’t and we did get some feedback on formatting last year but nothing that seem pressing or needed to be adjusted.
  8. New Business
    1. TRRA Regional Meetings
      1. Green: We have three regional meetings scheduled throughout the region next week (DFW, Austin and Houston). We’ll be covering the required Technical Zones, no tech zones, no game will be played. These are open to all clubs and we urge your participation.
    2. Budget
      1. Tate: In the past I’ve created the budget and the Board has approved it. This year I’d like to ask whether anyone on the Board would like to work with me on the budget. Is there anyone on the Board interested in being apart of that process? None.
        1. Tate: That’s fine, I wanted to give that opportunity since we have some new folks. I’ve already identified a few things that will be adjusted, the HOF and Summit budget will be reduced somewhat and we didn’t pay playoff travel bonuses as the event was in DFW. I did get some feedback from a few clubs and they will felt that even with it being local it was a hardship on them. So something to think about if we have playoffs in our regions, do we give playoffs to clubs that have to travel period? If the event is in Dallas, perhaps the Dallas clubs don’t get a reward but those others traveling in would.
        2. Dodge: One quick thought, if the USA Rugby Round of 8 is in the area of a hosting club, they don’t get a travel fund. But perhaps the host club gets the grant? If you don’t own your own venue it’s becoming quite an expensive affair with some of the new requirements (police officers/medics).
        3. Tate: Ok, that is good. Even if we didn’t give travel grants we could consider an incentive to help with a strong bid to make sure that we get an event in our area. Making sure that an event comes to our region is a good expenditure. I definitely think that is something we can look at doing.
      2. Referee Contract
        1. Tate: I have a proposed agreement from Scott that has a few changes from last year. I’ve already it on the GDrive under TRRA. The per match fee hasn’t changed but we do get a discount if matches are moved from Saturday. Also the match fee covers mileage and travel as long as the matches are in the core region.
          1. Tate: We’ve also tried to nail match fee for sevens down earlier this year and you will see that reflected in the contract. Generally it’s 5-7 referees per qualifier and those referees are doing an average of 5 games. These events also include referee coordinators that manages the tournament.
          2. Dodge: I think that the hybrid sevens model we put in place last year did well. We didn’t quite see the drop off that we saw in previous years. My guess is that we will maintain that format for next year.
          3. Tate: And I’m find with that, what I struggled with was the billing. It put us in a place where we were trying to collect payments directly from the clubs. If we need to do the hybrid system that is fine, but we need to make sure that all the qualifying games be played on dedicated qualified fields and with the dedicated referees that the TRU is paying for. We need to keep a clear delineation at the fields between qualifying and non-qualifying matches so that referee billing is clearer.
          4. Dodge: On the last call we discussed finding out what the cost per match was?
            1. Tate: We discussed this at the AGM but you were in China. The cost per match was $253.24 per match and $2462.11 per qualifier.
            2. Dodge: Does that average include mileage and?
            3. Tate: No, I took the total TRRA expenses for the fiscal year which includes everything, then in WTR I accounted for every match that had a referee assigned and did the division. In 2017 our cost per match was $208.59. So our cost did go up by about $45 per match, part of that was directly because of the accommodations we made for Little Rock and their movement up to D1. Our referee expenses went up because we were paying more per match and more matches than ever before. This year we’re going to have more D1 matches because we have more D1 teams. But all those teams are in the four metro areas so we shouldn’t be expecting additional travel costs.
    3. USA Rugby Congress Update
      1. Yeoman: We have a USA Rugby Congress meeting coming up in two weeks. We anticipate adding a few more Board members and perhaps a few Bylaw amendments. If anyone has any questions or concerns that you’d like me to speak out about, please let me know before Sep 28.
  9. Call adjourned (9:32 PM)