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TRU Board Notes – 5/20/2019

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. Dodge
      3. Tate
      4. Tomsak
      5. Kurylas
      6. James
      7. Hiller
      8. Roche (Guest)
        1. Regrets
          1. Green
          2. Yeoman
    2. Follow ups
      1. Fines Outstanding
        1. Woodlands ineligible players ($100)
          1. PAID 5/22
        2. San Antonio unplayed forfeits ($300)
          1. PAID 5/28
      2. TRU/RRRC Championships
          1. RRRC
            1. MD1: Austin
            2. WD1: HARC (Austin was invited as 4th seed as there was no D1 team from SoCal/NorCal)
            3. MD2: Austin
            4. WD2: Austin
            5. MD3: Austin
          2. TRU
            1. WD3: McAllen
            2. MD4: Alliance
              1. Tate: As everyone knows the event was in Dallas and we had to hustle and improvise quickly based on the weather situation. I want to make sure we recognize the efforts of Wendy, Dodge, the referees and all the teams. We at last minute went from one facility to two places that were on opposite sides of the city. We pulled it off and had 12 matches played and handed out 6 trophies. Thank you to everyone involved, it was an impressive effort to make that happen. For the most part I thought the teams were cooperative and pretty appreciative of the efforts. I was very proud of us all!
    3. Western Championships
      1. MD1: Austin 27 Life West 21 / Advances to USAR National Championships to face Life Running Eagles
      2. WD1: Austin 46 HARC 10 / Austin 29 Glendale 222 / Advances to USAR National Championships to face NOVA
        1. Young: We believe this is the first time a women’s team has advanced to a National Championship from the TRU!!
      3. MD2: Austin 15 San Diego Aztecs 54
      4. WD2: Austin 12 St. Louis Sabres 41
      5. MD3: Austin 48 Queen City 15 / Austin 41 Kern 12 / Advances to USAR National Championships to face Grand Rapids
        1. Tate: We had a very successful weekend, Austin Blacks D1 & D3 and the Austin Valkyries D1 will advance to the USA Rugby Club National Championships. June 1&2 at Fortress Obetz, OH.
    4. WD1 NCC Proposal
      1. Young: I know this is for the RRRC but wanted to provide an update as some individuals are on both committees. I participated in another USA Rugby Competitions Sub-committee WD1 call and expressed the team’s concerns around a combined West/Frontier/SoCal league. The teams were concerned about travel so we went back to 6 teams, Black Ice, Glendale, Salt Lake, Houston, Austin and Dallas. It would be home/away and then playoffs to determine top seed. No more Gold Cup.
        1. Update 5/25: Salt Lake has expressed desire to stay in a West/Frontier division and not participate with Texas/Mountain. It would still be home/away and there is a club survey link being passed out to determine if teams want to do playoffs or let league play stand.
      2. Tate: This is a competition issue but it does have implications on referee budget and club resources. I know there is also discussion about MD1 as there are evolving discussions around that format going forward. It is looking at combining a shrinking number of competitive clubs into divisions that spread across competitive regions. This puts more travel burden on the clubs and it may push MD1 to be a fall competition. Dodge, correct me if I’m wrong, are those discussions still ongoing?
      3. Dodge: Right, the discussions are not nearly as far along on the MD1 side. That change may not happen until next year. The WD1 discussion is much more mature and they are looking at making schedules as early as June.
    5. New Austin Blacks Grievance
      1. Tate: The Austin Blacks have issued a grievance against the Dallas Reds for their April match. The match was postponed at halftime due to severe weather and issues with the Dallas Lake Highlands Park. I talked with Alan this weekend and the only remedy that they are interested in is schedule or competitions related. Specifically they felt that Dallas would have to travel to them twice next year. I explained to Alan that the TRU doesn’t have the ability to grant those remedies. Those fall squarely on the shoulder of the RRRC Competitions Committee. Based on that, I don’t see that there is anything for the TRU to rule on. This grievance has gone all the way up to USAR and unless the TRU has something we can rule on, I don’t think we have anything to do here.
        1. Tomsak: I second that.
        2. Dodge: I abstain.
          1. Tate: Any other discussion? None. Any objections to tabling this issue as there is nothing for the TRU to rule on? None. APPROVED. I want to make it clear that nothing I have said is in anyway to be considered an opinion of the merits of their claim. That is if Austin or Dallas is correct and/or not acting in good faith. I don’t think it even falls to us on the merits as no one has asked us for a remedy that we have the power to give.
    6. Grants
      1. Championships
        1. Tate: I would like to make a motion that we give grants to both clubs at 100% of the clubs TRU fees to help cover their travel costs. The Blacks have 118 players and the Valkyries have 57 / multiple that by $45. Note that we have had home venues for Westerns for the last two years so we do have additional funds available.
          1. Dodge: What was the budget allotted for grants this year?
          2. Tate: Our budget for travel grants was $15,000. Note that does include 7s that we still need to pay out.
          3. Dodge: So we are well under budget. One thing to note is that the CA teams were quite upset that the venue was moved to Texas and USA Rugby committed to them that the next two years would be in their region.
          4. Tate: Yes, I have been expecting that because we’ve been operating on a rotation for the last few years. It was supposed to be in San Francisco this year but they couldn’t secure a second field.
          5. Dodge: Right. So we can expect it to rotate away from us going forward.
          6. Tate: So we should expect to pay more next year and we have already indicated that we are going to raise CIPP fees this summer to help close that budget hole.
          7. Dodge: I will second your motion.
            1. Tate: Any other discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED. I’ll calculate the finals numbers and indicate that to the Treasurer. Roughly that is $5,300 to the Blacks and $2,700 for the Valkyries.
            2. WD3
              1. McAllen Women
                1. Tate: We’re getting into the part of the season where we’ll be talking about new clubs and the RRRC will begin looking at promotion and relegation. Sadly WD3 struggled this year and the only viable club was McAllen. I have received an email from Alex Ramirez in McAllen basically asking for financial relief for his team, specifically in the form of CIPP. I explained to him that half of the CIPP fee goes to USA Rugby so we would only be able to look at the TRU portion. They do want to request promotion to the RRRC and play in WD2. So basically Alex is asking for a remedy to help re-up those players for the upcoming season.
                2. Dodge: Are they going to be able to handle the travel with and without funding from the TRU?
                3. Tate: They would be playing Austin, Bay Area, DARC, Dallas, Little Rock and San Antonio.
                4. Dodge: When they came to the TRU Championships they were light on players.
                5. Tate: They have 20 CIPP’d players this season. But if you aren’t getting any games it’s incredibly difficult to maintain player interest. So if we refunded all of their TRU fees it would be $900. They were only able to play two matches due to the struggles of the other clubs in D3. Thoughts?
                  1. Tate: I think there are two issues that we need to look at, do we see a reason to give them some financial support AND do we believe they will be viable for next season (more of a RRRC question)
                  2. Tomsak: I can’t see how they would have 20 players and only really get one match. That is very tough. I don’t know if we give them all the funds back but some.
                  3. Dodge: How many matches were they supposed to play?
                  4. Young: I think it was six with Championships.
                  5. Dodge: So they played roughly ⅓ of the matches.
                  6. Tomsak: And one of those matches they had to come to Dallas.
                  7. Dodge: They didn’t forfeit any of their matches?
                  8. Tate: Correct.
                  9. Young: And I will give all credit to Alex, he tried really hard to make matches happen. He called other teams looking for extra players and they were willing to travel anywhere.
                  10. Roche: Would the TRU be able to help with their travel if they were put in D2?
                  11. Tate: No, they would be moving up to D2 which is in the RRRC. But we could certainly request some scheduling considerations and work together with the RRRC to help them out. Over the years we’ve all been very flexible with helping out new clubs. We do need to be aware that home games for McAllen are difficult due to referee resources. So perhaps instead of giving McAllen more home games maybe we recommend having matches at neutral sites (this would help with referee resources).
                  12. Dodge: We’ve even done that for MD1, we had Little Rock’s men matches in Dallas to help with their schedule.
                  13. Roche: I understand that, I’m trying to think of how we can help keep rugby growing.
                  14. Tate: Yes, I hear that! I do think that we can give some funding, the request wasn’t outrageous. If they had requested something like $5,000 we would be having a different conversation.
                  15. Dodge: Do we think we will have a WD3 next year?
                  16. Young: I hope we will but we’ve moved up Bay Area and now we’re talking about McAllen too. That doesn’t leave very many.
                    1. Tate: Ok, so back to the conversation at hand, do we want to give McAllen a CIPP refund?
                    2. Tomsak: What if we don’t give them cash directly, but rather sponsor a certain number of new players next year?
                    3. Tate: I’m open to that, I think that is a good idea.
                    4. Hiller: I like that too.
                    5. James: But are they going to refund the players on the team? What are they going to do with the funds?
                    6. Tate: I think that is what Drew is alluding to, if we give the money to the team, where does it go? Instead, we phrase it as a credit towards 2019-2020 CIPP fees.
                    7. Young: I’m re-reading this email and this is exactly what he is asking for.
                    8. Tate: Ok, so I think we say that they CIPP and then they can request a rebate directly from the TRU.
                    9. Dodge: Right, this helps incentive them to have their players CIPP early as well.
                    10. Tate: I motion we give the McAllen women a $600 rebate for the upcoming 2019-2020 CIPP cycle. This is instead of a refund as originally requested.
                      1. Tomsak: I second.
                      2. Tate: Any other discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
            3. MD4
              1. Tate: I do think we will have a MD4 division next year but we don’t know what it will look like. Clubs with second sides would probably not be able to bring those players up to MD3 due to the eligibility concerns.
              2. Dodge: We had talked mid-season about adjusting the MD4 eligibility. Is that something we wanted to take up again?
              3. Tate: I don’t think so, after looking at the data of every single match that was played, the objections weren’t supported by the data.
              4. Dodge: Yeah. Ok.
              5. Tate: Based on that, I don’t think we need to revisit it.
          8. New Clubs
            1. North Texas Barbarians (Celina, TX)
            2. Other Rugby Club (Austin, TX)
              1. Dodge: As we move into this topic, does USA Rugby require a certain # of players to start a new club?
              2. Tate: We do actually require that new clubs do more than what USA Rugby does. We have more strict standards in general but to be considered in “good standing” in the USA Rugby CIPP system you must have at least 15 players and a L200 coach. We have applied this standard the last few years. For brand new clubs we can make it more strict than that or lenient. An example would be Euless a few years ago, they had significantly stiffer requirements.
              3. Kurylas: I think the RRRC requirements that we did for Euless was really good. Perhaps I will send those around ahead of the new club applications we will be getting?
              4. Tate: Yes, that would be great.
              5. Young: Another thing to talk about is new clubs won’t register or CIPP new players until the new cycle. They can be often be in a weird limbo until that cycle rolls around.
              6. Tate: I think what John is recommending helps with that, we had essentially laid out a plan that they must have a certain # of players CIPP’d by specific dates.
              7. Young: I remember that now! Was that ever adopted by the TRU?
              8. Tate: It was approved by the RRRC and was only for Euless.
              9. Young; Oh, that is right.
              10. Kurylas: Right, we tried to do it with Euless but they just went non-communicative and we dropped it.
              11. Tate: So we never rolled that into the TRU but we have a starting place with that process that Euless.
              12. Young: Cool, I like that. John, you can dig that up and share to the Board?
              13. Kurylas: Yes, I can handle this and will send it around.
                1. Tate: Ok, we have had two inquiries already this year, a group out of Celina, TX that has sent in some required items. We also had discussions with an individual in Austin but we haven’t seen any required items. I think our discussion above is very timely and if we’re going to make any changes we need to do it now.
          9. 2019 Summit
            1. Tate: We have locked the hotel and the weekend down. Most of the agenda is locked down as well. We’ll be doing a couple of things in addition to our normal USA Rugby coaching clinics. Specifically I’m going to be doing a session twice on “Running Effective Trainings with Small Groups”. This will be targeted at folks that have clubs with less numbers. Wendy will also be doing an administrative best practices type course that will be very practical. We’re also putting a small markup on all of the courses to help generate a little bit of revenue. We’d like to move it to revenue neutral and hopefully someday revenue generating. We’ll still be subsidizing the referee course to an extent. This is because we still need to grow our referee pool and keep that development going. We’ll also be having the Hall of Fame Banquet that weekend.
            2. Dodge: When does sign up for the referee course open? I want to start getting the word out.
            3. Young: I’ve got some of the courses listed with USA Rugby. We’re also going to be having courses on Saturday and Sunday so individuals can take two courses in the weekend if they’d like. I’m hoping we can announce everything and that registration is open on Wednesday.
            4. Tate: We considered dong a single event fee but some of the courses are more expensive than others and it didn’t balance out. But if you sign up for two courses you can use a promo code to get a discount of 15%.
    7. Summer AGM
      1. Tate: In the past we’ve done the Summer AGM at the Summit as well. With the courses being on both days the AGM doesn’t quite fit the model anymore. I’d like to do the Summer AGM on a different weekend and do it virtually like the mid-winter. We had better attendance doing the Winter AGM that way and zero complaints. I’d like to get thoughts on going virtual with all of our AGMs.
        1. Hiller: I think anything that makes it easier for our members to attend is a good thing.
        2. Tomsak: I think financially it’s better to go virtual.
        3. Tate: Hearing no other objections, we will pick a weekend and get it scheduled.
    8. 2019 Hall of Fame
      1. Tate: Same location as the summit, the Banquet will be August 26 on Saturday night. Paul Mabry and the members have really taken this on and are moving towards making it a fundraising event as well. Tickets are available for purchase on the website.
      2. Young: We already have 20 RSVPs, we’d recommend that tickets are booked soon as we only have space for 150 people. The hotel block will fill up fast as well!
    9. TRU All Stars (Women)
      1. Young: We’ll be hosting this event again on December 7-8, 2019. Grand Prairie has been an amazing partner but with interest from six teams we need a venue that has two fields available. We have inquiries out to several clubs.
        1. Head Coach
          1. Young: We’ve also had inquiries if there will be an application process for coaching and other positions. This year we will have an open application process including Head Coach, Backs Coach, Forwards Coach, S&C and Athletic Trainer/Medical. I’ve talked with Holly Iker and indicated that we would love for her to apply again as she has done an incredible job as Head Coach the past few years.
        2. Interested Teams:
          1. TRU
          2. Mid-America GU
          3. Stars Rugby
          4. Capital GU
          5. So Cal GU
          6. Pacific NW
        3. Subsidies
          1. Tate: I do want to discuss the subsidies that we’ve done in the past. With this many teams we don’t have the funds and with this many interested we may not need to provide subsidies anymore. I think we’re going to have to look at the All Star budget and not take funds away from our team but reduce the sweeteners that we’ve offered other teams to come in.
          2. Young: I think we only gave out one last year, we’ve been tapering it off ourselves.
          3. Tate: Good, if we have successfully put a date on people’s calendars and it’s become a viable event than we don’t have to keep sweetening the pot.
          4. Young: We have been telling teams that we will stream the matches though.
          5. Tate: Yes and we have a new partner that is much more affordable so I think that is OK.
    10. USA Rugby All Stars (Women) – Aug 1&3 in Greeley, CO
      1. Young: USA Rugby is also bringing back their Women’s All Star event. It is a different format though, the East/West WPL All Star teams will attend and then USA Rugby will select players for a Club and College All Star side. They are scouting at USA events but players can be nominated directly using this form: https://hiperforms.com/member/login.php.
        1. Young: Note that the form requires a login, if you don’t have one just request a password. That will help you register for an account. This also gives you access to the Eagles Files site.
      2. Tate: Yes, this was a primary Eagle selection venue a few years ago. The four regions would put forth their best teams to play in a tournament format. So they are returning this event but in a new format and will continue to use it as a scouting format. I think this is a terrific thing and Emile Bydwell, the new USA Rugby HP Director has done a fantastic job with these events. I’ve had more contact with her than I’ve had with any National Team coach in the last 10 years.
    11. New Business
      1. June Level 1 Referee Course
        1. Hiller: We have the course coming up in a few weeks, we have 7 people signed up. We need a few more so keep passing the word!
        2. Young: Social media will continue and I’ll check with USAR to see if any new people have signed up.
    12. Meeting Adjourned (9:20 PM)