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TRU Board Notes – 11/19/2018

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. Kurylas
    4. Hiller
    5. Tate
    6. Green
    7. Tomsak
      1. Regrets
        1. James
        2. Yeoman
  2. Follow Ups
    1. Budget
      1. Tate: As far as budget…my understanding is that we haven’t had any local bids for the USAR playoffs?
      2. Dodge: I believe the Austin Blacks have put in one and the Reds are still talking about options up here.
      3. Tate: Ok, good.
      4. Hiller: I talked with Grant Cole provisionally about West Houston putting in a bid with the Sabrecats. He seemed keen but I haven’t followed up him.
      5. Tate: Ok, let’s follow up on all that. The reason this has budget implications is that if it is in our area, we can cut back on playoffs grants which are a large number usually. But if we’re sending teams to Bend, OR that is not very pleasant.
      6. Tate: What I’m inclined to do is submit the budget as is. I’ll email them to everyone and we can do an online vote. This includes an understanding that this is a forecast and if numbers need to flex, we may have to do that. I don’t see the growth to change our income forecast nor do I see enough assurances that I can pull the travel grants out yet. I think they both need to say where they are and we’re looking at a sizeable deficit. We have to start putting in a plan for next year. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    2. Referee Contract
      1. Tate: Did anyone have any objections or comments in regards to this contract? This is available in the TRU Gdrive.
      2. Dodge: As far as I understand it, this is essentially the same as last year?
      3. Tate: Not quite, we had special regulations for Little Rock and we wrote hard guidelines for 7s. The rate schedule is the same as last year.
      4. Dodge: When that got re-negotiated last year, did the referee compensation go up as well?
      5. Green: Yes, and there was a slight change in how we paid out the mileage. It put the onus back on the TRRA to make sure we’re efficient in mileage. The biggest change was the MD1 matches, the payment went up quite significantly. It will be going up again as we’re asking those referees to do a bit more this year.
      6. Dodge: Is TRRA also covering local MLR in our area?
      7. Green: The MLR referees are contracted with the MLR directly. There will be a couple of ARs out of the TRRA this year. The other people are support staff, sideline crew etc.
      8. Tate: Those folks are individually contracting with the MLR, not through TRRA?
      9. Green: Correct. Contract directly to the referee.
      10. Dodge: Is that going to spread us thin?
      11. Green: Not really, I haven’t been doing many games in the TRRA and Derek Summers just moved here. There will be one referee that is ARing but we’re working with the MLR to make sure they are available for TRRA matches. We’re trying to work it out to where everyone will benefit. The MLR is tapping recently retired referees to help AR some matches as well.
      12. Dodge: That is part of my concern, we’re spending quite a bit of development on training.
      13. Green: It’s not different than what the Reds are doing with some of their players. If they get called up, we congratulate them and support them.
      14. Tate: The good news is that the local MLR games don’t conflict with our matches, their on weeknights or saturday and sunday nights. We’re only going to missing out on a few matches.
      15. Green: And last year we found a really good balance, MLR referees came in to do their match but would also pick up a TRRA one. Some of them even AR’d and we’re happy to help out.
      16. Tate: Any objections to signing the referee contract? None. APPROVED.
    3. Compliance
      1. Young: Looking really good, 41 clubs overall. A few clubs are still waiting on 15 players to be fully “current”.
      2. Tate: Yes, we look good right now, but I went back and looked at the CIPP’d members at this point last year. We are behind where we were in December of last year (once you take out the women’s college teams that weren’t with us). I’ve looked at the calendar and we have quite a few Men’s D2 and D3 matches firing up the weekend after Thanksgiving so I would expect to see a mini surge. So I don’t believe we’re going to grow our way out of our budget problems.
    4. CMS
      1. Young: I haven’t done it today as I have family in town, so I’ll do it tomorrow morning. Other than that we’ve only had a few matches and it seems to be going well.
      2. Tate: Has anyone heard any pushback around the deadline being moved up?
      3. Young: I haven’t.
      4. Tate: Good.
    5. Player movement between MD4/WD3 and different clubs playing in higher divisions
      1. Tate: We published these guidelines, right?
      2. Young: Yes: https://texasrugbyunion.com/2018/11/16/mid-season-cipp-transfers-from-md4-wd3-to-upper-division-clubs/
      3. Tate: I did get a question from Fort Worth about guest players and/or using a larger roster for MD4. I haven’t responded yet, but the established rules do indicate a roster of 23 and up to 3 guest players. My question to the group is, if both MD4 teams (opponent included) is OK with using rolling subs or old boys, do we care? My inclination is to say if the opponent doesn’t mind, we don’t need to micromanage it. I’d like to get an opinion from the group though.
      4. Hiller: I don’t see an issue with that, if the opponent doesn’t care, I think that makes sense.
      5. Tomsak: I would just let the referee know ahead of time.
      6. Dodge: I’d just have them exchange an email beforehand so we have some available documentation. We don’t want it to be a Saturday issue where someone is under pressure.
      7. Kurylas: I do know that some of the MD4 are playing their upper guys at this point, this might encourage them to play their old boys. I like what Dodge said, we should encourage them to touch base beforehand.
      8. Tate: Great, I will relay this to Fort Worth and we’ll go from there.
    6. Glendale MD1
      1. Tate: We approved Glendale dropping from the MD1 competition. This certainly eases the travel burden for those teams. Dodge, does that mean we now have a MD1 playoff in the spring?
      2. Dodge: No, we have enough clubs and can play it straight out.
      3. Tate: Great, that is good.
  3. Spring AGM
    1. We need to pick a date, this will be a virtual one like last year. I would suggest getting it done the last Sunday in January. That would be after the NDS in Houston and before the season gets busy. Does anyone have an objection to that? None. APPROVED.
      1. Hiller: That is January 27?
      2. Tate: Yes.
      3. Dodge: We would like to have the RRRC elections during that time. We have some new TOR and need to make sure we’re in compliance.
      4. Tate: Ok, that makes sense. Ok, then we will have the Winter/Spring AGM on Sunday, January 27.
      5. Hiller: HURT has two games on that day, do we know what time the AGM will be?
      6. Tate: Sure, we can be flexible.
  4. Upper players playing “down” in MD4
    1. Tate: We’ve had a couple of clubs complain about Alliance specifically. Basically that they are rolling up with a healthy squad but then play their D2 teams. These complaints came from Abilene and Denton who have played them in previous D3 seasons. I haven’t heard other complaints from about any teams. They really aren’t breaking any rules, and this is something that will dissipate once those multi team clubs are playing on the same day. I’ve already had conversations with all of the involved parties, but the heads up for the group is that we may find ourselves in a position next season or next spring where we need to be looking at remedies for this. The easiest solution is scheduling the multi team clubs when their other team is playing. Or we can add in player movement rules, I loathe to do this as it will be a crimp in these clubs ability to compete. But all it takes is one club to follow the letter but not the spirit.
    2. Dodge: I think we need to remind these clubs that MD4 is for development. If you need the people to play the match that is OK, but that doesn’t sound like that is the case here. This is almost like a NFL pre-season game where you are letting your starters get a run.
    3. Kurylas: This all started at Abilene and if you look at their CMS roster it is very clear that they are playing their upper level players. Like Kirk said, it’s not in the spirit of what we’re trying to do with this league.
    4. Tate: Right, when I coached San Marcos I would play D2 players but out of position. Where they are developing but really only providing structure. I’ll go ahead and reach out to Alliance again to remind them about what we’re trying do with the MD4.
  5. TRU Clubs covering their own matches (payment)
    1. Tate: We had an uncovered match in Abilene this weekend. Abilene was able to find their own referee and asked for the TRRA to cover the costs. Since they used a referee from another society, this would not be covered by TRRA. The question here is, does the TRU reimburse the club for payment for the referee and do we want to set this precedent? We need to be careful about our partnership with TRRA as well. I am loathe to make a habit of supporting the breakaway referee group. Especially coaching in the Lonestar conference, the quality of referees and the scheduling is very lacking. The referees are late, unprofessional, appear to have no support nor training. It’s not an organization I want to encourage referees to join or promote. I have a lot of concerns over setting this precedent. I understand the standpoint that Abilene is coming from over the cost. I’ve looked at WTR and I see that there are only a few games that aren’t covered and they are in the Dallas area. Everything else is pretty much covered. Where you see multiple referees on matches that means there are multiple games in one location and the referees are all helping each other out. It’s not that we’re sending ARs to certain matches, it’s easier to cover matches in one location.
    2. Dodge: I’m going to argue the other side of that point. The most tangible thing that the members get is referees. I can’t fault a club for finding a referee. I don’t think they went out and found a referee from a competing referee society but rather someone that could do the match. I think they are well within their rights to be reimbursed. Particularly if no one let them know ahead of time. If we weren’t going to be able to cover the match they should have been told.
    3. Green: They definitely weren’t bounced around, I went through every available referee. I worked all week to try and get a referee up there. Especially with the punch up and fights that happened the week before, what referee wants to go out there with that?
    4. Tate: I want to unpack some things that Dodge mentioned. It sounds like the communication issue wasn’t really an issue. Scott worked all week and it was indicated in WTR that a referee wasn’t available. Second, we do want to be sensitive to the fact that the biggest value of the TRU is referees. I want to be careful that if we reimburse a club, we need to make it clear that we don’t want this to be a habit. We need to be working diligently to not find ourselves in a regular habit. I’m worried it will erode our referee situation further.
    5. Dodge: I don’t have a good understanding of why this group broke off to create a new referee society.
    6. Tate: From my understanding it came down to Shayne Roberson and the Lonestar conference…they have a lot of administrative challenges and clubs that are in the boondocks. They don’t do a great job of sticking to a regular schedule or making timely schedule notifications (I say this as a coach in this conference). As a result of their poor scheduling and communication they had matches go uncovered last year. Shayne’s response was to say goodbye to the TRRA and to make their own society.
    7. Dodge: I guess my real question is why would referees want to join this other society?
    8. Tate: It’s really cheap, they can just show up, they can wear whatever they want. If they are just doing Lonestar matches the season is shorter and real friendly with lots of breaks. This seems to suit the referees that don’t want to have fitness guidelines, or have to spend the money on dues and kit.
    9. Green: I think we can use the word referee pretty loosely. A lot of them are friends of teams and personal friends of Shayne. Most of them wouldn’t be assigned to higher level matches. I want to make it very clear that I’m 100% against paying any of these referees any shape or form. The issue we have is a referee shortage and the teams in the North have to get us good candidates that want to be referees.
    10. Dodge: We have had referee shortages in other parts of the conference in the past, with more referees in the north, and he TRRA never blackballed other parts of the conference from receiving referees.
    11. Green: We aren’t blackballing anyone. We have one weekend where I’m sending TWELVE referees to Dallas for one weekend.
    12. Dodge: So your saying that these Lonestar referees aren’t up to TRRA caliber but these clubs just want to play games. I understand that you have expectations of these referees…
    13. Green: These are not referees and I would be very concerned that anyone would want these people to referee matches. You are taking on a ton of liability and someone is going to get hurt or worse killed. I want nothing to do with that.
    14. Tate: First off, I’ve got a call into the National Office with Kenny Forehand trying to get a referee educator for a course in Dallas.
    15. Dodge: I’m working with Robbie Crisps as well and we’re getting a course setup in Dallas in January.
    16. Tate: Ok, do you want me to follow up with Kenny or just leave it in your hands?
    17. Dodge: I will tell you one thing that would be helpful in transitioning people from getting a certification and actually refereeing. Maybe someone that helps with signing up as a referee and everything they need to do.
    18. Tate: Sure, I would think that we could reach out to Shawn Martin or Fil Keuppens as good resources for that. Now, onto the other issues like liability and payment. I’m in agreement with Scott when it comes to paying these individuals. I’m not going to pay any individual ref, the only way I would do this is if we reimburse the club directly. If we’re not able to cover a match, we give the club the funds to cover that. I’m not going to write check to individual referees.
    19. Dodge: I agree to that.
    20. Tate: It would be a grant to a club to say we aren’t able to meet your referee needs, here is a grant to cover that. Or you can reschedule to another date that is better for scheduling. We can’t be in the schedule of writing checks to referees. As far as liability, I will echo what Scott has said, I’ve coached 5 games in the Lonestar conference. We’ve had one player have his neck broken and is out of the season (he will fully recover). We’ve had a referee who didn’t know the maul laws, showed up late and confused us with his signals. It’s a bad thing and we need to deal with the clubs directly and avoid dealing with this other organization.
    21. Hiller: I agree with Scott and Tate. No direct payment and we shouldn’t be messing with anything to do with liability. I’d like to be able to cover every match but we should not be exposing ourselves to any additional liability.
    22. Dodge: Since we’re talking about liability…I do know that USAR covers the referee as long as they are CIPP’d. Does TRRA have an additional liability coverage that provides extra protection for TRRA or TRU?
    23. Green: At this point we don’t, but we’re looking at getting coverage just like that. Hopefully by the end of the season it will be all set. Just the fact that one bad injury could ruin the entire union and that would provide additional coverage on top of what USAR has right now. The biggest issue is that they have referees doing matches but aren’t even CIPP’d. It doesn’t really have anything to do with me as the Chair of the TRRA, this is so dangerous and destructive that as a rugby community we should be very concerned. We just need some people to train, we have the resources to train and we’re ready. It’s very simple, we need people that can do 2 games a month and we can solve this problem. We can train them up very easily.
    24. Tate: Right, so we have a course coming up in January in the North. So that is a start. Scott, can we start looking at weekends in Dec and Jan and keep us posted on how that is going? We would rather tell clubs to move a match then not cover it.
    25. Green: Yes, most of Dec is covered and we’re working on a few others. Some of the problem is because a referee gets an injury or has to pull out at the last minute. That really puts us in a bind.
    26. Dodge: I motion that we give Abilene a grant to offset either the lesser of what TRU would have paid TRRA or what they actually paid.
    27. Kurylas: I second.
    28. Tate: We’ve had plenty of discussion, any objections? None. APPROVED.
      1. Tate: Wendy, can you circle up with Abilene and have our treasurer cut a check?
      2. Young: Yes.
  6. Promo of Nat’l Dev. Summit (Jan. 11-13 – Houston)
    1. Tate: We’ve got the National Development Summit in Houston on Jan 11-13. I would encourage everyone to consider going, I’ve already booked my registration and hotel. I’ve found it very valuable that it’s the kind of thing that you may want to do every other year. The agenda has some repetition year over year but the networking is invaluable.
  7. Promo of USA v. Brazil (Feb. 23 – Houston)
    1. Tate: Another great opportunity to see an International rugby match in Houston. Get tickets soon as it will sell out. We did ask clubs to move matches but not many took advantage of it.
    2. Dodge: So it’s a blackout?
    3. Tate: Yes, we want to move matches OFF that date, no adding to it. We also want to look at maybe flip flopping matches where South teams are away.
    4. Dodge: I can take a look at that and work with the teams in my division.
    5. Tate: Based on past experience, we’ve never managed to get those dates completely cleared of games. We’ve managed and can do it as long as we don’t ignore it.
    6. Dodge: Does USAR draw from TRRA for coverage?
    7. Tate: Yes, they will.
  8. Referee availability on the above dates
    1. Jan 11-13
      1. 5 games on the schedule
    2. Feb 23
      1. 12 matches on the schedule; 6 matches in the South
        1. Tate: We need to move these matches if we can or at least move the kick-offs to earlier in the day. Reps, please reach out to your clubs.
  9. New Club
    1. San Angelo M
      1. Young: Received some emails but no formal application to USAR of TRU yet.
  10. New Business
    1. None
  11. Call adjourned (9: PM)
    1. Hiller: Motion to adjourn.
    2. Green: Second.