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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 2/10/2020

The Red River Competitions Committee releases their monthly committee call minutes and notes. View all of the archived RRRC minutes or read on for the most recent:

  1. Roll Call
    1. Young
    2. Kurylas
    3. O’Gara
    4. Kolberg
    5. Roche
    6. Dale
    7. Tolar
    8. Leming
    9. Keuppens
    10. Dodge
    11. Hughes
      1. Regrets
        1. Fosco
        2. Watson
  2. Follow Ups
    1. CMS
      1. Roche: No outstanding issues.
    2. Forfeits and cancellations
      1. Utah matches with WD1 – Finally rescheduled and WTR/CMS has been updated
      2. 11/23 NTX @ Dallas Diablos – Weather Cancellation; waiting for a reschedule date
      3. 1/11 McAllen W @ Austin Valkyries – Notified TRU in time, but hasn’t been rescheduled
      4. 2/1 Diablos @ Abilene – Referee notified day-of, played forfeit
      5. 2/1 WHL D2 @ Fort Worth – Fort Worth notified on Friday before, WH never notified
      6. 2/8 WHL D4 @ Fort Hood – Fort Hood notified on Monday before, WH never notified
        1. Roche: The biggest issue on my radar right now is West Houston as they didn’t notify the TRU this week or for the 2/1 match. They have also been ghosting their opponents and not responding to them either.
        2. Young: I received an update from WH about this right before this call, they are struggling with numbers but are trying to plan for the rest of the season. This doesn’t excuse that WH didn’t notify the TRU or TRRA for their last two matches and until now have been unresponsive to Kat, myself and other TRU/RRRC inquiries. I was told tonight that WH is trying to reschedule with Fort Hood but am unsure about the Fort Worth match. I will be adding WH to the TRU agenda to discuss their lack of notification on the two matches as that potentially violates the reschedule policy.
          1. Roche: Also, I’ve been working on a more visual way to help clubs understand match cancellations/reschedules. We can roll that out after it is finished. 
        3. Roche: Another issue is that Fort Worth was essentially paired with the Quins this year. That was done during the schedule process but the teams weren’t ever made aware of this. 
        4. Dodge: The thought was that if we have West Houston D1/D2 coming to Dallas we could have the Quins play Fort Worth. Effectively Fort Worth became the Quins second side. What happened in this case is that the multi-side matches were played across DFW metroplex and the kick-off times were an issue for the teams. The teams didn’t realize it in time and it was a strain for them.
        5. Roche: I’m just saying that we should have let teams know ahead  of time. It’s a weird issue but something we could have prevented possibly.
        6. Dodge; It’s our first year of non-contiguous sides so there were bound to be some hiccups. Do we anticipate any other issues as we’re halfway through the season?
        7. Roche: There is only one other weekend that would be an issue and I’d like to let that team know about it so there aren’t any issues.
          1. Young: Please reach out to them.
          2. Dodge: If it’s a known problem, please reach out.
    3. Competition Enhancement ad hoc Committee – will discuss towards the end of the season
    4. Men’s Tights Allowance
      1. Dodge: No other CRs have gotten back to me so it sounds like those that have rolled this out haven’t seen many issues.
      2. Roche: So we roll this out after it’s not cold…
      3. Leming: We had a pretty cold match a few weeks ago and the referee did a great job of managing the process. 
      4. Dodge: Tell me more about what happened.
      5. Leming: It was the checking of compliance and ORC did a good job of coming forward and asking about specific tights. I’m not saying that everyone will be that forthcoming but it was a good experience.
      6. Keuppens: It came up in our game a few weeks ago as well and our players were able to work with the referee. The other team had forgotten their tights so the ruling was that we weren’t allowed to wear them. Which was fine, but it points that we need to either have this policy or not because it’s not being applied fairly at this point.
      7. Dodge: Technically we haven’t adopted this yet so no men should be playing in tights. Honestly I haven’t thought it was that big of a deal. The issue is that we need to decide who is handling any issues. Is it the party that is playing or the party wearing the tights?
      8. Keuppens: I think Team A complains about Team B about wearing non-compliance. The burden should be on Team B to prove their compliance. It should be handled after the fact by the RRRC as technically it’s a competitive issue. 
      9. Dodge: Yes, if we adopt this policy tights could become a competitive issue. Do we allow this policy now or next season?
      10. Keuppens: I think we just say tights are allowed.
      11. Dodge: I think we have to adopt the USAR exception or we don’t. I don’t think we can adjust it.
      12. Young: I agree with Fil, but the issue has to be raised on the day and BEFORE the game starts. It puts a small burden on the referee but they can make the call quickly and let’s move on with the game.
      13. Keuppens: Yes, it has to be before kick-off, just like playing any game under protest.
      14. Roche: As a referee on the day, I would allow tights. That is the easiest way to deal with this and honestly tights won’t be our highest priority.
      15. Keuppens: My recommendation is to approve tights and any protests against them have to be raised prior to the beginning of the match. 
      16. O’Gara: We will always reference the law book. Exceptions can be pushed out but we haven’t done anything yet. 
      17. Young: I think we just allow tights and move on. We’ve wasted so much time discussing this over the years.
      18. Kolberg: I agree.
      19. Young: I motion that we adopt the USAR tights exception. 
      20. Keuppens: Second. 
        1. Dodge: Any objections:
          1. Leming: Objection
            1. Dodge: Motion passed with one objection. APPROVED.
              1. Young UPDATE 2/11: Operating Procedures have been updated and a notice posted to the website: https://texasrugbyunion.com/2020/02/11/tights-policy-approved-world-rugby-regulation-4-player-clothing/.
    5. Moving matches from Sunday to Saturday [Dodge Proposal]
      1. Dodge: The mechanism behind the proposal is that it helps generate more referees. It’s also based on a divisional basis, for example you can reschedule your MD2 matches from Sunday to Saturday if you have an active referee in that division. They of course have to be registered with the requesting club, registered with TRRA, registered in WTR and referee a certain number of matches. My concerns is that when we rolled out the Sunday matches and we left room for matches to be moved back to Saturday but TRRA has to service other conferences and that was a bottleneck. I think there are also some administrative challenges with tracking these dual-athlete referees as well as limited time to train these referees.
        1. Roche: One of the biggest administrative challenges we’ve seen is that the schedule is set and then we have multiple match change requests from all the teams and bad weather…this essentially means we have 10-20 clubs wanting to schedule for only a few available dates. Teams are following our match reschedule policies but the weather and few available weekends are causing havoc. 
        2. Dodge: We can’t do much about the weather though. We’ve tried! When you’re talking about other changes that should be happening during the ‘review’ period during the summer when the schedule is shared with the clubs.
        3. Young: Unfortunately that’s not the case…since August we’ve had over 250 requested changes. Note that does include Club, College and Youth.
        4. Dodge: Is that a normal amount?
        5. Young: I’d have to do a bit of extra data digging but just get your mind around 3-4 changes EVERY week. That’s a lot to juggle.
        6. Roche: An example is that West Houston pretty much requested all of their games be moved around right after the schedule was released. 
        7. Kurylas: Do we want to consider that once the ‘review’ period has ended, if a large amount of matches are requested…do we charge for them?
        8. Dodge: That’s what I’m thinking, we may need to start charging for multiple non-weather changes. 
        9. Roche: Please know that the TRU and TRRA don’t want to prevent teams from changing matches. These requested changes don’t always cause havoc and sometimes it does work out in our favor. But the volume is a lot to try and handle administratively with the schedule and with our referee resources.
        10. Young: I also want to be careful about more fines or requesting teams make changes in 30 days or be charged. It’s tough to be the scheduler and constantly tell teams ‘no’ or that they have to pay this/that fee. That is a burden I’ve felt in the past when I managed WTR and now Kat is feeling the pain.
        11. O’Gara: Considering where we were in the beginning of the season in the North we’ve added in about ten referees. But comparing the North to South and Central, they are still very short. In the South we’re having an absolute explosion of young referees. So having more referees doesn’t necessarily help Kat administratively and the multiple match changes are making it even more difficult.
          1. Dodge: What if we reward clubs that host mid-season referee clinics as well as a follow up referee training tournament? They don’t have to play a sunday match?
          2. O’Gara: I think that is a good idea.
      2. Dodge: Ok, so my proposal sounds like it might be more of an administrative headache than a help. I would like to see a consideration for how many referees a team has before we consider moving a match from Sunday to Saturday. This is in addition to the other considerations that we normally look at, like the number of matches already on a weekend and available referees. Sounds like we need to go back to the drawing board on this one.
    6. 7s Series
      1. 1/13/20 email from USAR 7s Performance Group (Howard Kent)
        1. Keuppens: I’ve received the 7s dates from Howard Kent. Do note that the USAR 7s Performance Group is only Howard at this time as the others in the group have moved on. This is partly due to the shakeup at USAR and some other factors. Proposed dates for RRRC 7s are:
          1. 6/20 – RRRC #1
          2. 6/27 – East/West Super 7s Qualifiers
            1. Two years ago there was a stated mission to add women to this event. Due to the USAR shakeup I would be surprised if that happens this year.
          3. 7/4 – July 4th
          4. 7/11 – RRRC #2
          5. 7/18 – RRRC #3
          6. 7/25 – OPEN (makeup weekend)
          7. 8/8 & 8/9 – USAR National 7s
        2. Keuppens: What questions do we have?
        3. Roche: Makes sense to me.
        4. Keuppens: Note that 6/13 will be Lonestar 7s and I will be talking with the 7s sub-committees about using that as a pre-qualifier. Perhaps we could use that event for seeding purposes? Another quick side note is that ARPTC 7s will only be entering one side this year so that should open up the women’s competition a bit more.
          1. Kueppens: I suggest we put out bid requests for the above dates. 
          2. Leming: Coming from San Antonio, if Bloodfest is the first event and that is considered Central…would we even have a chance if we wanted to host? Or Alamo City?
            1. Keuppens: No, we would love to see more participation from San Antonio and even more south. If we get a solid bid from the South Central teams we would consider it independent of the Bloodfest situation. 
          3. Young: There has been some friction from clubs that Bloodfest doesn’t have to bid. Something for the committee to think about as I hear negativity around this every year.
          4. Keuppens: I hear you and it is something we will discuss with the 7s sub-committee.
          5. Dodge: The last two years we’ve had NOLA in our competition and if they participate with us again would back-to-back weekends be a struggle for them?
          6. Keuppens: It could be but it would depend on the locations and where that shakes out. Houston isn’t too far for them but Dallas is quite far. But I don’t know if that really matters, they are using our competition for qualification…but would that show bias towards a team? We definitely want to avoid that. Little Rock has traveled quite a bit to play in our 7s as well.
          7. Dodge: Definitely don’t want to disagree with that but wanted to bring that point up.
        5. Roche: Are we re-forming the 7s sub-committee?
        6. Keuppens: Yes, I think it’s important to have a sub-committee as it’s so different from 15s. Another very important function of that group is having boots on the ground at these events. Every year we’ve had to make very large competitive decisions that could or did have impacts on the RRRC 7s Series.
        7. Roche: I agree, I think we need to have the 7s sub-committee. Do we want to go ahead and move this conversation to the committee?
        8. Keuppens: First we need to get agreement on the dates and have bid requests go out. I would also really like our CR to put together a bid for the Super Qualifier. I would hope that we could have multiple clubs work together on a bid package so it’s very appealing to Kent.
        9. Dodge: I think that the 7s sub-committee does need to continue happening. They deal with week to week issues that this committee wouldn’t want to deal with.
          1. Young: Just so it’s official, I’ve resigned from the 7s sub-committee. I’ve recommend Kat take my place.
          2. Keuppens: Weird that we keep just ccing you on all the emails…
          3. Young: And I will just keep ignoring them. 🙂
        10. Kurylas: What if we award a RRRC 7s tournament and it gets rained out? Do we bump it to another weekend and it could possibly affect a TOLA event?
        11. Keuppens: In that situation we would ask the TOLA host to open up and allow qualifier teams to join. It would move from a stand-alone TOLA to a hybrid event like we did for many events last year. The only difference would really be a few last minute entries from those RRRC teams. In all it should be a positive for the TOLA host as it would mean more teams.
        12. Kurylas: That makes sense.
        13. Dodge: We just need to make sure that whoever is looking at 7/25 would need to have some extra room and fields.
          1. Keuppens: I motion that we approve the RRRC 7s Dates as 6/20, 7/11 and 7/18.
            1. Young: Second.
            2. Dodge: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
      2. Bid Requests
        1. Keuppens: Is there any reason that we wouldn’t put the invitation out for bid requests now?
        2. Dodge: We’d need to put a pretty quick deadline on it or it may get caught in the shuffle.
        3. Young: It may be a bit early as we posted on March 25 last year with a deadline of April 5. 
        4. Keuppens: Last year we were waiting on USAR for the dates.
        5. Young: What if we post it this week and put 20 days for submissions?
        6. Keuppens: What if we post that the bidding process has been opened? 
        7. Young: What’s the point of that?
        8. Dodge: I say we post and allow 45 days.
        9. Young: Ok.
          1. Young UPDATE 2/11: Call for bids on RRRC and TOLA events has been posted: https://texasrugbyunion.com/2020/02/11/2020-7s-series-call-for-host-bids/
  3. RRRC Championships – Bids
    1. Young: With the geographical rotation it was the South’s turn to host. So we actively pursued bids in the South region and we spoke with HARC, West Houston and SaberCats. Unfortunately that didn’t come to pass and so the only bids we received were from the Austin Huns and Austin Blacks.
    2. Dodge: Ok, any thoughts on these?
    3. Keuppens: I’d like to put something out there that is somewhat related and it brings up the 7s schedule as well. It’s presumptive that Bloodfest 7s will be one of the first 7s qualifiers and so I propose that we think about allowing the Blacks to host because the Huns will already have one major event this year.
    4. Kolberg: Fil has a good point there, I think we go with the Blacks on this one and the Huns will have Bloodfest. These are the only two clubs that put out the effort so let’s reward them.
    5. Roche: The Blacks did indicate in their bid that they were hoping for a bid from the South but they didn’t want the TRU to be without a host either. 
    6. Keuppens: I am proposing that we put in a bid for the Super 7s Qualifier and/or 15s Nationals. If we can put together a compelling bid then we could perhaps get one of those events. With that said, I don’t know if that favors either Austin team…but I think we have a chance.
    7. Young: I think the differentiating factor for me administratively is that the Blacks are very seasoned at hosting these types of events. The Huns have hosted smaller events but I would say they are still maturing in their support system.
    8. Keuppens: Is another point that the Blacks have 3 fields as opposed to 2. That allows for more teams to warm up without friction.
    9. Kolberg: The Blacks have more parking as well.
    10. Dale: The Blacks have some supporting materials that make their bid a bit more compelling as well. 
    11. Tolar: What’s the quality of the field?
    12. Young: It could be better.
    13. Keuppens: We played at Nixon a few weeks ago and it wasn’t in the shape it was in the previous years either. 
    14. Leming: We were at the Blacks before the Holidays and it was like it always is. 
      1. Dodge: Ok, so fields aren’t a differentiating factor it sounds like. 
    15. Keuppens: I propose that we award the bid to the Austin Blacks.
      1. Kolberg: I second.
      2. Dodge: Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
        1. Roche UPDATE 2/11: After the Committee’s call and vote to accept the Austin bid, West Houston submitted a bid.  The Committee declined to reopen the bidding process to consider the bid as it was untimely.
  4. New Business
    1. Ineligible Player in Blacks vs Alamo City
      1. Leming: I don’t want to belabor this point but it was reported that the Blacks played an ineligible player in their MD3 match against Alamo City last weekend. I have no skin in the game but want to understand why he was allowed to play.
      2. Dodge: The first notice that Davidson received was from the DC that he was being sanctioned. So until the punishment had been decided, the accused didn’t know he was being charged.  In any event, until there is a final decision on a suspension, followed by a complaint that the suspension was violated, then there is no action for this Committee to take.
      3. Young: After the decision from the DC, Davidson appealed to the DC and Kirk has put together an appeals committee. The appeals group are in discussion and since Davidson hadn’t been notified nor received a red card but an undetected foul play report after the match, Kirk determined that he could participate until the hearing/determination of the appeal.
      4. Leming: OK, but there does seem to be a gap between what is happening with the DC and what is being communicated to the clubs. It sounds like this policy could use some process improvement.
      5. Dodge: For what it’s worth, Kirk did communicate directly with Alamo City with what is happening. 
      6. Leming: OK, I wasn’t on that thread. 
      7. Young: This has already been added to the TRU Agenda for our call next week for further discussion.
    2. MD3 starting the same time as MD1/MD2
      1. Young: Some of the MD3 teams have been chatting with me about concerns about how their schedule starts at a different time than everyone else. We’ve talked about this before as a committee but they are raising the issue again. The teams are seeing players ‘play down’ in early season games and then once MD1/MD2 kicks off the rosters are completely different. They see it as bias towards multi-side clubs and a disadvantage for single-side clubs. I recommended that they come up with a proposal and this committee would be happy to hear it.
      2. Dodge: Yes, we would be interested in reviewing their proposal.
  5. Meeting Adjourned (9:56 PM)