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TRU Board Notes – 2/17/2020

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. Wilson
    3. Kurylas
    4. Roche
    5. Tate
    6. Dodge
    7. Hiller
    8. Tomsak
      1. Regrets
        1. O’Gara
  2. Welcome to the new Women’s Rep – Marie Wilson!
    1. Tate: First, we want to welcome Marie as our newest member of the Board! As you get familiar with what’s going on, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. If there is anything you want to add to the agenda, please let Wendy orKat know. For this meeting, you can utilize the ‘New Business’ portion of the call, we always cover that item.
  3. Follow Ups
    1. Forfeits & 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 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
      7. 2/15 Quins W @ Austin W – Notified in time, played forfeit
      8. 2/15 San Marcos @ Woodlands – Notified in time, played forfeit
        1. Tate: We’ve had a slew of forfeits in the past week. We don’t need to go through all of these but we do need to look at the two West Houston forfeits as they did NOT notify the TRU/TRRA on time as required. Does anyone object to issuing the fines per our policy? None. APPROVED.
          1. Young: So we are fining them the $150 plus referee costs? $150 goes to the non-forfeiting club and the rest goes to the TRU.
          2. Tate: Correct. 
          3. Kurylas: Are we looking at the second offense for the 2/8 game? That would be $300 plus referee costs.
          4. Tate: My thought would be that we don’t issue a second offense for the 2/8 game because they did notify the opponent, just not the TRU. But I would open it up to the Board to see what everyone thinks?
          5. Kurylas: If we adhere to the second one for the 2/8 match, that’s $800 bucks. That’s a lot of money. I would recommend we fine them twice at the ‘first offense’ policy. If they have an issue again,then we go to ‘second offense’.
          6. Tate: OK, I agree. So we’re looking at $350 total to WH, $150 of the fine to Fort Worth and $200 fine to TRRA for the 2/1 match. Then the second one on 2/8 is just the referee fee at $200 since they notified the opponent. So a total fine of $550 to WH. And John if I understand you correctly, you’re wanting to warn WH that they are subject to additional fines as they have burned their first two strikes?
          7. Dodge: Is the second fee contingent on them rescheduling? Are we probating it?
          8. Kurylas: That would put the pressure on them to reschedule. Alliance already dropped out of MD4 but this match does have implications for the MD2 division. 
            1. Tate: Has the RRRC already ruled these as forfeits?
            2. Dodge: No, because we’re being told that they are actively trying to reschedule.
            3. Tate: Would it make more sense to just assess the referee fees and probate the rest subject to rescheduling for both matches?
            4. Dodge: I would say impose the first fine for 2/1 and probate the second one for the 2/8 match. 
            5. Tate: Ok, let’s look at these one at a time. On 2/1, WH didn’t notify per our policies. As this is currently an unplayed forfeit, are there any objections to assessing a referee fee of $200 and $150 (which would go to Fort Worth?) None. APPROVED.
            6. Tate: So 2/8, they notified Ft Hood on Monday and Ft Hood notified us. So no referee expenses were incurred, it was unplayed and in theory will be rescheduled.
            7. Dodge: From the RRRC standpoint, the 2/1 D2 match we are heavily encouraging to reschedule as it will be a meaningful match to the standings. Did we send a referee up there?
              1. Roche: Yes.
            8. Tate: Yes, for 2/1 we already incurred the $200 as a referee was sent to Fort Worth on and the host (Ft Worth) had to book a field. The 2/8 forfeit, we didn’t actually spend any money for the referee and Ft Hood didn’t incur any expenses. So it would realistically be just the late change fee for a match change less than 14 days before the match. So $50 for the 2/8 match. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
              1. Young UPDATE 2/18: I have sent notice and an invoice for the 2/1 match of $350 and $50 for the 2/8 match. Total of invoice is $400.
    2. USAR ReOrg
      1. Tate: I had a call with Erik Geib, myself and with other representatives from college, youth and a few USAR Board members recently. This is essentially a sub-committee reviewing the last draft of the reorg proposal. During that call some additional financial data was shared that wasn’t directly provided from the Task Force. In reviewing that data we discovered some more inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the numbers. There seems to be a consistent pattern in the reports that we’ve previously been given that indicate that HP isn’t as expensive as it is. Basically shared costs that are being assigned to community rugby when they really aren’t part of the services we receive. The upshot is that we believe out of the dues our members pay to USAR, somewhere around $20 is actually services that we receive. The rest is being used to fund HP overspends, cover debts from failed events, pay legal fees, etc. So the proposal we received as part of the reorg would include a dues reduction but not a terribly significant one. We’re going to be counterproposing on behalf of the community some changes to their proposed structure. These proposed changes would separate and insulate the community game from HP and shared National functions. Specifically what we’re looking at is that the money will flow up instead of down. Meaning that we will collect the fees and forward the USAR dues portion to them. These funds would go to the Community Game and funds would not be used for shared services.  If we felt that dues needed to be increased it would only be because membership values are truly increasing. An additional aspect that was included in the USAR proposal would be that there would be direct representation of the community game on the USAR Board. IT would include reps for Club, College and Youth. The thought would be that the Community Game staff would be appointed by Community Councils which would be very similar to the Congress representatives we have today. The point here is that the Community Game would have oversight over the staff that provides their services. We specifically went through services that we felt were properly handling at the National level, insurance is one, software systems (CMS, registration systems) and training & education. Notably what we didn’t include were playoffs, we all felt that the community game should be in charge of our competitions. For example, that would be one of those things were if we decided we wanted to maintain an event staff or have National Championships coordinated by a national staff, when we set our dues level it would reflect that to fund that aspect. Another example is that the Collegiate game feels that their Championship events can be monetized and they want the ability to have commercial rights. HS doesn’t have a National Championship, so the Club game is a bit of an odd ball there. We’d be able to fund as we saw fit. I have been invited to attend the USAR NCC meeting on Wednesday to update them on the Task Force and how it’s going. Any questions?
        1. Dodge: Was there a discussion around would there be a Club National Championship? Or that we need to be able to control it as other groups don’t have them or want their own control?
          1. Tate: The general feeling is that they will happen but some GUs/LAUs don’t have strong feelings about this event. Most of that feedback is coming from areas of the country that don’t have lots of money or resources to travel or don’t have MD1 or WD1 divisions. Think about Alaska, Hawaii etc. So we will have a negotiation process on the club side of how we will manage that going forward. Other questions?
        2. Dodge: I haven’t seen much conversation about Plan B?
          1. Tate: Correct, and that is frustrating. There are a lot of people that like to bang the drum but if big moves to create Plan B are happening outside of this task force…it’s happening entirely on their own or it’s not happening. I would suggest to you Dodge, that you reach out to Ken at Empire and Gino at SoCal as I believe they are the closest to being genuinely independent. They were the most fed up with USAR even before this crisis came about. On the other end of the spectrum we have other Unions who have no idea where to begin. From our standpoint in Texas, we’re probably somewhere in between. 
        3. Dodge: What is the current timing on what the restructure would look like?
          1. Tate: Great question, if we’d bought into the Jon B proposal that was presented to us a week ago, he would have presented it to the USAR Board on Feb 28. However, at this point, the community reps aren’t going to support the draft as written. We’re going to be requesting changes and I don’t know if that will affect the timeline. Now the assumption of presenting to the Board and Congress would have included additional revisions. We were looking for something to be approved by the end of March. We’ve all felt like the timelines were unrealistically aggressive from the get go. I do understand keeping the pressure on though. Right now we’re told that USAR has the funds to keep things going until the end of May. For example we still have a full event staff who would handle National Championships this year. We’re expecting the 15s season to complete as normal, 7s is up in the air. We do know that the US Olympic Committee and World Rugby are both sending representatives to meet with the USAR Board at LA 7s in March. The Olympic Committee is very concerned about the Olympic Athletes and if they are going to get the support they need. World Rugby is has been asked to provide increased support for USAR. Before they do that, they want to know that the support they give is spent wisely. Argentina received $8M for the World Cup and USAR received $1M. So the support from World Rugby isn’t consistent. 
        4. Tomsak: Kirk, isn’t HP 7s self sufficient?
          1. Tate: Not quite, the Women stay on budget and part of that is that Emilie Bydwell is very good at her job. Men’s 7s has been slightly over budget but that hasn’t been what has solely bankrupted USAR. Men’s 15s has been a big cash drain. Part of why the 7s is considered almost self sufficient is that they receive Olympic funds. 
        5. Young: What is the talk around cleaning house? Either at the National Office or the Board?
          1. Tate: There is talk around seating a new USAR Board with reps from the community game. For the time being the Board and leadership at USAR is still in place. It is assumed that when the new Board is seated, they would review the status of the CEO, CFO etc. 
      2. Rugby Texas
        1. Tate: I’ve had a couple of conversations with Maggie Rouse who is one of the co-Presidents of Rugby Texas. We feel like the next step is to get some folks together on a call. Dodge, you’d mentioned wanting to be involved in this? Drew, you may also want to be on this call. One of the things we’re going to do with this reorganization is set boundaries for us. What that means is that if Shreveport wanted to be in with the Dallas area for youth rugby instead of Louisiana, we could discuss that.
          1. Tomsak: Yes, that would make life so much easier for us.
        2. Tate: In summary, Rugby Texas is interested in merging with us.
          1. Dodge: This week is pretty good while next week is up in the air. 
          2. Tomsak: I would like to be on the call if possible, I can make myself available.
        3. Tate: Maggie has specific questions about if they keep their organization or do we completely merge? My suggestion was that we put our requirements out there and then that can help drive the direction we go. We don’t want to make a firm statement of what it is right away. Does that make sense to everyone?
          1. Dodge: Yes, I don’t know what their financial situation is though…
          2. Tate: Right and that is something we will discuss. They are a 501c3, so for them to transfer funds it would need to also be a 501c3 with a compatible mission. We aren’t currently a 501c3 so we can move funds without an issue. So there will be some complexities that we’ll have to talk about. 
            1. Tate: The other fun part of this is that Kurt Weaver, the former USAR COO (he was let go) has sent out a letter to all of the youth organizations that he is looking to create a rival youth organization. There are a lot of promises in the letter but there are a lot of problems with what he sent out including using some trademarked names that belong to USAR. Bill Good is on the Task Force and he has reached out to the SROs and urged them to proceed with caution and do their homework. I know that the California SROs aren’t interested. I don’t think that Kurt’s organization is likely to get a lot of traction but crazy times. 
            2. Young: Do we know if Rugby Texas is interested?
            3. Tate: I haven’t spoken to Maggie since the letter came out, we last spoke last Thursday. The letter went out over the weekend, I had warned her that something may be coming as we had heard rumors. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. 
      3. USAR CIPP Payments
        1. Refunds
          1. Young: I received a refund request from USA Rugby because a player CIPP’d with SHSU Women’s and they meant to CIPP with the men’s side. I instructed USAR to issue the refund as this isn’t something that we’ve done before. Evidently USAR won’t be doing refunds like they have in the past.
          2. Tate: Ok, we may have to do a bit of research on the player’s name because we need to know when they CIPP’d. If we haven’t been paid by USAR we don’t want to be issuing a refund.
          3. Young: Yep, just wanted to let everyone know because that’s a change that wasn’t communicated to us as a GU. 
          4. Tate: Does anyone have an objection to this course of action? None.
    3. 2019-2020 Budget
      1. Tate: I had presented numbers of where we’re at versus our projected expenses at the AGM at the end of January. Basically we’re on track as long as we continue to receive dues payments from USAR. Our wiggle room, so to speak is in playoffs travel grants. That is the place where we could save a significant amount of money and still have games played. We can’t really cut back on paying referees, we need to hold our 15s playoffs and our Summit/HOF are pushed out until August. If we get into a financial bind because USAR isn’t able to pay us or it’s delayed, we have two options. We can spend money out of savings or we can cut back on travel grants to balance the books. Dues revent, assuming we get it all is on pace to cover our expenses. We’re seeing slight growth overall, mainly because the women are up and the men are slightly down. It’s very close to flat which is what we always budget for. Since our growth is flat and we increased dues slightly, revenue is in good shape. Fortunately, the bulk of our registrations came in through the end of November and we’ve received those payments from USAR. So currently we’re owed for December and January, typically USAR pays 45 days out. I haven’t talked to our Treasurer this week but I expect we’ve received it or it will come next week. 
    4. Interim Women’s Rep Election
      1. Tate: We already know that Marie won that election as she is on the call. It was a decisive vote with a solid majority!
    5. AGM Recap
      1. Tate: Link to the notes above, it was pretty quick and painless. Obviously the big discussion was updating the membership on the USAR org. Otherwise it was pretty straight forward. 
  4. Disciplinary
    1. Tate: We were talking about it before the start of the call, we’ve had a ton of yellow and red cards in January and February. I’ve debated sending out an email to the membership about this but I wanted to review all the cards looking for trends etc. Early on we had a few referee issues and that seems to have calmed down. Now we seem to be having a flurry of fights and dangerous tackles.
    2. Appeals
      1. Young: So we had three appeals last week and it was a hectic week of conference calls and rulings. Kirk is overwhelmed with USAR task force stuff so I kind of stepped in. This isn’t a normal role and not something I really have any responsibility over.. Do we want to offload this to someone else on the Board?
      2. Tate: Yes, please. The regs state that an appeals committee must be formed when a disciplinary sanction is appealed. That committee can’t include members of the TRU Board. Usually we only have 1-2 a year but we had a perfect storm last week. We want to make sure that the committee members don’t have conflicts and this is an impartial process. If an appeal comes in, the committee gets forwarded all the information, they can have a hearing with the appellate if desired and then the determination is sent out to the membership. If they want to appeal further they have to do that through USAR. So what we need is that when the appeal comes, we need someone to reach out to folks and get an appeals panel sorted. Then follow up and make sure there is a determination sent out to the appropriate parties. You can send that determination directly to Scot Courtney and he can send it out through the official channels. I know Dodge doesn’t have free time, is there anyone else that wants to take this on?
      3. Tomsak: I’m interested.
      4. Hiller: I am as well.
        1. Tate: Great, so I will forward the list of folks that I typically try to reach out to. Feel free to expand the list if you think it needs it. It is a diverse list of female/males from all divisions. Wendy, we will also need to make sure that Drew and Zach get the DC list. 
          1. Young: Yes, they get them through the Board email but I will have to give them permissions in WTR. I’ve had some questions about that recently, we only give access to read the reports to the TRU DC and anyone on the TRU Board that needs access. Currently that is myself, Kat, Kirk and Dodge (as RRRC Chair). I’ll add in Drew and Zach later tonight.
    3. DC Notice
      1. Roche: To help with some of the lack of notification where it’s undetected foul play and such, the DC is sending out a notice every Monday of any undetected foul play or red card incidents on the weekend.
      2. Young: We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and it has seemed to help with early notification. I did want to ask the Board what they thought about expanding this report to include any and all cards on the weekend?
        1. Tate: I think we should take a look at the last several weeks of cards and see if there is a trend. A better communication might be a post to the website, all@ etc around any themes. If we’re struggling with law interpretations we can push out information on these to the membership. Rather than just public shame, I’d like to see if we can have a communication that might address or fix the problem.
        2. Young: Totally fine with this.
        3. Tomsak: I agree with that approach as well.
    4. 3 Yellow Cards Policy
      1. Dodge: Are we concerned about the 3 yellow card policy? See this link: https://texasrugbyunion.com/2017/04/26/attention-playoff-clubs-discipline-update/. We probably should confirm with Scot and the DC that this does or doesn’t apply. 
      2. Young: Typically around April Scot emails me and we take a look at this. 
      3. Tate: Ok, we need someone to take on following up with Scot on this. If we need to update our procedures we can do that.
        1. Dodge: I will reach out to Scot about this as it is kind of for the RRRC Committee as well.
  5. RRRC/TRU Championships Location
    1. Tate: Championships will be in Austin at Burr Field. We had bids from the Blacks, Huns and a late (as in not on time) from West Houston. The final selection was the Austin Blacks. 
  6. ARC Matches in Texas
    1. Aug 21 Bold Stadium (Austin)
    2. Aug 29 Aveva Stadium (Houston)
      1. Tate: We have two USA Eagles Men’s matches coming to us in Texas this year! 
      2. Young: I think I know the answer to this question, but have you or Dodge been contacted about this? Usually we get some sort of notification or request to work together.
      3. Tate: Nope. I can reach out to the National Office though.
  7. New Business
    1. None.
  8. Meeting Adjourned (9:39 PM)