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TRU Board Notes – 1/21/2019

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. Tomsak
    5. James
    6. Dodge
    7. Hiller
    8. Yeoman
    9. Waller
      1. Regrets
        1. Green
  2. David Yeoman relocation
    1. Tate: David sent me an email earlier that he has accepted a job offer in Colorado and will be moving up there in the Spring. Congratulations David! He asked us to ponder if we needed to have an interim Congress member as his seat is up in August. My first instinct was that the membership has elected him twice and to allow him to stay on. With that being said, if the move and/or problems associated with moving is to much we’re happy to help. Does anyone else have an contrary opinions or questions?
    2. Dodge: The only question I have, I assume this is our call to make….is there something in the bylaws?
    3. Tate: If there was a bylaw, Yeoman would not be the only one in violation.
    4. Yeoman: There isn’t anything in the USAR bylaws and the GU regions set up their own structures and rules.
    5. Tate: Should anything really important come up in the next six months, we may benefit from having an experienced conference member in Colorado. As things stand, I don’t see any need to make a change. If anyone feels differently, speak now or send me an email.
  3. Follow ups
    1. WD3
      1. San Antonio Armadillos
        1. Young: Most players transferring to San Antonio Riveters because they want to play 15s. This is also part of the effort to have these two teams merge. Armadillos may still participate but will definitely only be a 7s team.
        2. Tate: Does that have any implications for TRU WD2 or 3?
        3. Young: It will only affect the WD3 as there are really only four teams in that division. D2 is stable. It does make a lot of travel for those WD3 teams.
        4. Tate: Anything we can do to help with neutral sites? Or anything else?
        5. Young: I think we just need to sit down and look at the schedule and calendar again. Nick and I will get into it.
    2. Upper players playing “down” in MD4 (again)
      1. Young: Previously talked about in November (Alliance). Now complaints about Fort Worth.
      2. Tate: Mainly the complaint is from single side (D4 only) playing clubs that have multiple sides. The multi-side clubs are playing players down and or “stacking” their sides. Looking at the CMS, which is of course data that the clubs themselves have reported. It is apparent that some of the claims have some merit and some don’t. There are clearly a few clubs that have played higher level players down and that isn’t against the rules. The design of the division is development and the rules had the intent of allowing clubs to play players down as needed. I sent an email to all of the MD4 leaders last week and emphasized that this league is for development and growth. I’m not a fan or making rules or changing rules mid-competition. I think it’s a bad precedent to set, personally. But if we continue to have these problems we’re going to have to look at this during the offseason. At least as a start I sent out the email to the MD4 clubs and made a commitment to bring this up on the call this evening.
      3. Kurylas: I’m not sure of the best way to do this, but maybe we make sure that the multi-club sides are always playing on the same weekend? That way the higher division team is playing and those players may not be available? I know Travis tried to do this with the schedule but realize how difficult it is.
      4. Tate: Scheduling is one way to handle it, but you’ve alluded to how difficult it is. The easiest solution is to make sure the higher division is playing on the same day, but it’s not always feasible. Another thing that we need to consider is that there are some clubs that are legitimately in a 1.5 club place, San Marcos Greys is in that boat. So changing the rules could kill a potential second side and that is not the goal. I’m hoping we can come up with some creative ideas that would incentivize the approach and behavior we’re looking for, rather than punish the conduct we don’t want. If we can do something along those lines, that might be an interesting option. Maybe there could be some sort of metric/parallel/competition for minutes played by brand new players to the game?
        1. Tate: Are there any objections to leaving the rules the same for this competitive season? None. APPROVED.
        2. Tate: Ok, so no changes during the season, but we’ll be sure to address this in the offseason. Keep your thinking caps on for solutions.
  4. Congress Update
    1. Yeoman: Two weeks ago we had an election to transition the interim USAR Board Members to ratify them as full Board Members. The last open seat was affirmed and Mike McKenna he will serve as another interim member (for at least 45 days). We also ratified some housekeeping bylaw changes like updating the home office address of the National Office. A few other wording things that don’t have material impact but more clarification. We are still preparing for a major governance overhaul at some point of time, we don’t have a real good vision of what that looks like yet. The National Office claims they will have a plan in the next few months, but Ron is part of the committee and may have better insight to where they are heading. They have proposed that there be some sort of executive congress members and other stakeholders like MLR, referees, etc so they can have a more direct communication path. One of the Board Member wants to cut down the number of Congress meetings from two to one, we’re split on that right now. My personal feeling is that if we’re going to do a major overhaul of the governance, let’s not do anything until we’re a bit more stable.
      1. Waller: Is the MLR part of USA Rugby?
      2. Yeoman: They are sanctioned by the National Governing Body and if I understand it correctly their players must be CIPP’d within the system…but they are independent of each other. It’s a partnership rather than the professionals doing what they want. How that executive committee and will the MLR be represented, I don’t know as they haven’t quite picked what those other bodies will be.
      3. Tate: I know that a fair number of MLR players were registered with the TRU last year, but it doesn’t look like any are this year. A quick look at registration doesn’t look that way either. I’ll hit up Kurt Weaver and see what he thinks.
  5. TRU Grants
    1. 2019 Bloodfest 7s Camp – Atavus Camp
      1. Young: There was some email conversation already on this…but Bloodfest 7s is asking for some assistance on hosting a youth Atavus Camp in 2019.
      2. Tate: Yes, I think a few members had already replied saying that it wasn’t our charge as a senior rugby organization to support. It does sound like something we should put to the membership to see if they would like a policy to support events like this. I think this would be more appropriately pointed to Rugby Texas as they handle youth rugby.
      3. Waller: Isn’t Atavus a for profit organization?
      4. Tate: Yes, they do charge for their camps typically. Even if it was free, I think it would be on Rugby Texas to support an event like this. Does anyone have any objections? None.
        1. Tate: I’m all about youth rugby but am hesitant to spend money on things that doesn’t directly support our members. Alright, not hearing any other responses, we should inform Ryan that the request is declined.
        2. Young: Will do.
  6. USAR Championships Bid Requests
    1. Tate: It’s that time of year again when bids are requested for USAR, RRRC and TRU events. I haven’t heard anything specific from TRU clubs wanting to host USA events, just heard about Bend Oregon.
    2. Dodge: I was under the impression that the Austin Blacks had put in a bid for the Round of 8.
    3. Young: Yes, the Valkyries also put in a bid at Nixon. They were going to bid at UT but couldn’t secure the fields.
    4. Dodge; So we’ve got a couple of irons in the fire but on the last NCC call, Kurt Weaver indicated that Bend Oregon was pushing very hard. I don’t know if that means inside lobbying and don’t know who is even making the choice at USAR. If that is the case, that will be a VERY expensive trip for our clubs.
    5. Tate: Ok, but we do have some Texas clubs that have bid, I will approach the Blacks and Valkyries to see if there is anything we can do to assist them.
      1. TRU Subsidy for Hosts/TRU admin to find locations and submit bid on behalf of TRU?
        1. Dodge: We brought this up on the RRRC call last week, there has been a proposal in the past of putting together a “kitty”. That if a club hosts a USA event, the grant funds would be used to try and win a bid for an event in our area. It could cover deposits for facilities or other means to win a bid. It would be beneficial to all the clubs that don’t have to travel.
        2. Tate: I think that’s a reasonable idea.
        3. Dodge: It would need to be coupled with something like Wendy was saying, some sort of host committee concept. Where RRRC and TRU get behind one location and submit it on the union’s behalf.
        4. Tate: I would like to ask the Board and any RRRC members to put together a formal proposal, mainly so we can have a vote on it. If it’s a policy, it’s much more likely to happen, rather than a cool idea. This would have to have some accountability and some framework.
        5. Dodge: I’m happy to take a cut at that.
        6. Tate: Great, thanks.
  7. RRRC Championships Bid Hosts Requests (May 4-5)
  8. TRU Championship Bid Hosts Requests (Apr 13-14)
    1. Merge RRRC and TRU Championships?
      1. Tate: My main concern with merging the weekends would be referee resources. If we did this, we’d have to consider when HS, MLR, D1A and when these other big weekends are happen.
      2. Dodge: I hear what you’re saying about the referees and it makes sense to see what other competitions are playing that weekend. This year we won’t have MD1 or WD1 because they will have their champions via league season. There really will only be six matches on Saturday and three on Sunday.
      3. Young; That is what we have had the last few years, except for last year where we had MD1 on Friday/Sunday.
      4. Dodge: The only real impediment that I see is that the TRU MD4/WD3 finish their competition really early.
      5. Tate: And the women’s colleges?
      6. Young: 7s in the Spring, their Championship is April 7.
      7. Waller: Yes, April 7.
      8. Tate: Ok, so we’d have to check on HS and maybe D1A.
      9. Waller: I think Rugby Texas is April 20.
      10. Tate: So then, the only event is the gap in the end of the MD4 and WD3 and the already scheduled playoff weekend (May 4-5).
      11. Young: We always have matches that need to be rescheduled, so it might be nice to have some open weekends.
      12. Dodge: From a RRRC perspective we’re neutral on this. If from a scale and budget perspective it is positive, maybe we should do it.
      13. Tate: Finding two hosts is always hard. Don’t you agree, Wendy?
      14. Young: Yes, it’s always hard to find two hosts.
      15. Tate: I’m satisfied that we’re not going to make a fixture apocalypse and so let’s look at that as a possibility. Let’s put out a request to host a combined event this year and see if we get some bids.
      16. Dodge: Wendy, if we only anticipate that there will four WD3 teams, how would that work?
      17. Young; We could do something similar to last year where the top two teams play.
      18. Dodge: The other problem would be multi-club sides, we have to have locked rosters for the weekend.
      19. Tate: We’d have to think about that, but there are no implications for the MD4 matches as USAR doesn’t recognize that event. It would only be if clubs wanted to drop players down, there is no rule against it today…but…
      20. Dodge: I was actually thinking more, if a multi-side clubs qualifies, would we allow players to move between the rosters? We wouldn’t allow it for the RRRC, would we for TRU?
      21. Tate: My concern would be that we would be possibly eliminating a club because they really only have 30 players. We could maybe be preventing them from playing. Sunday is the problem, the D2 side loses on Saturday and then they play in the D4 final on Sunday. That would be the nightmare scenario.
      22. Dodge: We could make a ruling that if a guy steps on the field for the upper division side, he can’t play for the lower division side.
      23. Tate: Yea, I think we need to think about that and come up with some sort of rule.
      24. Dodge: We could do the soft sub rule like we have for regular matches.
      25. Tate: Say if San Marcos had been in that situation last year, I would have needed D4 guys as subs in the D2 match. If one of those subs has to go in for a blood sub, he’s not eligible for the D4 match. That isn’t in line with the growth vision of the division. We don’t have to hash this out this evening, but something we have to consider for playoffs.
      26. Young: Ok, I’ll get the bid package out there and request bid hosts for one event, merging RRRC and TRU Championships into one weekend. Includes:
          1. MD2
          2. WD2
          3. MD3
          4. WD3
          5. MD4
  9. TRU Championship Bid Host Requests
    1. Tate: Summary of above, we are proposing that we combine the RRRC Championships (MD2, WD2, MD3) with the TRU Championships (MD4 and WD3). The event would be held on May 4-5. It would not include any MD1 or WD1 as they will satisfy their champion through league matches. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
  10. SSL Certificate for the website
    1. Young: This is nerdy thing, but Google is starting to penalize sites that don’t include these. They are for security and aren’t very expensive. So I’m recommending that we get one.
    2. Tate: Yes, they are good but another thing we have to remember to keep updated. This is the kind of thing that has to be managed. We would need to charge you, Wendy with working with our website provider and making sure that we stay on top of that.
    3. Young: I am having a hard time tracking down the website provider, because we’ve changed it so many times. But once I find it I can get it all setup.
    4. Tate: If the cost is more than a couple hundred bucks a year, we’ll need to have another discussion on email or on a call. If it is cheaper than that, than let’s do it. Anyone have an objection to that?
    5. Dodge: We’re not processing payments or anything, right?
    6. Tate: No, but it means that our site moves from http to https which is more secure and your site has a security certificate.
    7. Young: It also means its harder to hack or spoof us. We just need to do it. 🙂
  11. Recap of GU leaders meeting at NDS
    1. Tate: We had a meeting of GU Leaders at the NDS last week. Kurt Weaver, current VP of Operations of USA Rugby organized it. There were representatives from Texas, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Rockies, Empire and the Carolinas. Kurt walked through an Org chart which is supposed to be on the website. He went around the table and asked us what our concerns were. First of, from the organizational standpoint they are reorganizing around functions as opposed to age grade silos. So a coaching department, membership, high performance department, etc. For example, the coach development department would oversee coach development for all coaching levels and genders. Rather than there being a club, college or youth department. The concern from multiple GUs was that in the end it would leave no one looking out for club rugby. Kurt said all the other silos expressed the same concerns, that they will be left in the cold. So everyone has the same fear. That is about the only thing that we could agree on. It became very apparent that the GUs had different ideas of what the GUs and/or USAR should be doing. That was probably the biggest eye opener for me; what my or what our experience as a GU is really really different from everyone else. The things that we talk about in our meetings are very different from other GUs and that caught me by surprise. USAR would like to see greater cooperation between HS, college and senior rugby. They are treading very carefully around this, but want to get consensus and buying for whatever the final direction is. To that end, the SROs (youth) already have a summer meeting where they all get together; Kurt would like all of the GU leaders to attend the same Summit so we can begin coordinating directly together. We’re also going to start having quarterly GU conference calls. There is definitely an interest in getting us all on the same page, but I don’t know what page that is yet. Any questions?
  12. New Business.
    1. Disciplinary Suspensions
      1. Kurylas: Are MD4 matches considered league matches? This is in regards to disciplinary suspensions.
      2. Tate: Yes, they are league matches. I think the question comes down to multi-side matches and how do those fulfill a suspension? For example, if we suspend a MD1 on the Austin Huns, he doesn’t get to count MD2 matches as serving his suspension. So generally you look at the league matches that that player would be eligible to play in.
      3. Kurylas: So, the higher matches?
      4. Tate: Yes, so otherwise the really big clubs would never miss as many matches as a single side club. If you happen to play for a club that has three sides, your suspension last three weeks and a single side suspension may last seven weeks. It is an admittedly fuzzy or not terribly clean thing.
      5. Dodge: I agree with you, I think Scot (Disciplinary Chair) does a good job or recognizing this and that is why you’ll see weeks vs number of matches in the sanction.
      6. Tate: Yes, it can get really complicated.
    2. Level 1 Referee Course (Jan/ DFW area)
      1. Dodge: Towards the beginning of month we had a Level 1 referee course. The facility was great and the trainer was excellent. We had thirteen new referees come out of that and some of them have already ARing and other supporting roles. Shawn Martin also came to the course and was a great help. We still have a few to reimburse but I’ll get that done by the end of the month.
    3. AGM
      1. Tate: Another reminder we have the virtual AGM coming up this Sunday. Information is on the website. Frank, please also share with the colleges as we’d love to have them included.
      2. Dodge: Let’s all send that to our constituents as well.
    4. Summit/HOF Date
      1. Young: We also need to pick a date for the Summit/HOF. What if we make it the first weekend of September?
      2. Tate: We also need to make sure that it is before 15s starts but after 7s begins. We need to make sure that we have a break in the window as well.
      3. Dodge: What about using the weekend after Labor Day?
      4. Tate: What if we do Aug 24 or Sep 7? I like to do it before the fiscal year ends and that is August 31, if at all possible. We also need to look at where we do this…what about San Antonio?
      5. Young: That could be interesting, the issue is always the field. It’s easy to find a hotel, but the field is the question.
      6. Tate: I’m between Austin and Dallas and maybe we should consider San Antonio. We haven’t done much down there in the past. Does anyone else have any thoughts about where to go?
      7. Young: Ok, we’ll look at San Antonio or Dallas and dates Aug 24 or Sep 7.
      8. Tate: The one good thing about Dallas is that it does tend to bring in lots of outside people, so keep that in mind.
    5. CIPP Updates
      1. Tate: I did want to give an update to the group that we have made a good turn in CIPP numbers which means that revenue is in the right direction as well. There was concern that we would have a large budget hole but we’ve had a fair number of registrations in the last month. Last year on Feb 2 we had 1,763 registrants and today we have 1,862. So we’re above where we were last year on Feb 2. Now, in terms of our senior players we’re at 1,663; we’re essentially dead flat in growth. But we have 235 registered college women and that has made up for what we lost with the OKC, Tulsa and Little Rock clubs leaving. It has actually allowed us to exceed what those clubs would have brought us!
  13. Meeting Adjourned (9:22 PM)