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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 4/13/20

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. Roche
    3. Kolberg
    4. Fosco
    5. Tolar
    6. Kurylas
    7. Leming
    8. Dodge
    9. Hughes
    10. Watson
    11. Dale
      1. Regrets
        1. O’Gara
        2. Keuppens
  2. Follow Ups
    1. USA Rugby Reorg / Club Council TORs
      1. Dodge: We’ve circulated the draft for the Club Council TORs, this is a replacement for Congress and the Senior Club Structure. The Union Presidents are having another call on that tomorrow. If you have comments, please get them to me ASAP. 
        1. Dodge: The USA Rugby Chapter 11 was filed last month. USAR continues to work on the plan of reorganization and then they will present that to the bankruptcy committee. While those are in progress, it’s my understanding that those aren’t very far along and I’m unsure if they will be done in time.
        2. Watson: Nothing has been done on the bylaws at all. 
        3. Young: That’s really promising…
      2. Dodge: Under the TOR, the Club Council that will be established by the TOR will have control over club funds. The idea is that money owed to the TRU will never be placed into an account for USAR but rather go directly to the TRU. 
      3. Kolberg: Are we caught up on payments?
      4. Dodge: It’s my understanding that we’re caught up.
      5. Young: Kirk has been in regular correspondence with our Treasurer and we’re all caught up.
    2. Scheduling for the next Competitive Cycle – NCC Update
      1. Dodge: There’s a big concern on when the COVID-19 will be over and when we can return. There are also concerns regarding the members affected by the economic collapse and what numbers will look like next year. We can test out some different competition formats in the fall – playing some of the lower standing teams in a higher division in a cross conference format to mix it up a little. How do people think about using the fall to test out some of these new competitions?
        1. Watson: I think it’s a great idea.
        2. Young: We use fall for women, D3 and some D2 matches? Does it just cram our spring? I’m not opposed, just wondering.
        3. Dodge: I think this is also dependent on the NCC dropping match minimums. Something I’d like us to do in this forced hiatus is ask the clubs what they think – too many matches, too few, etc. If there’s a consensus and we can change it, it might be worth it? I’d like to propose that we do a survey to the clubs in regards to this.
        4. Leming: Is the NCC worried about drops in membership?
        5. Dodge: I haven’t seen this happening, but do others think this will happen?
        6. Leming: With San Antonio, we’ve been doing a lot of team bonding. So you may lose some of the fringe members but the core will be tighter than ever.
        7. Dodge: I think the concern is whether the economic problems will force members out of the sport.
        8. Leming: I could see it being an issue with younger clubs, those that are dependent on younger players in less stable jobs.
        9. Dodge: This is one of the questions I want to send to the clubs, let’s ask them what they’re thinking. Do they want to have a different competition if USAR relaxes the match minimums?
        10. Roche: We’ve also talked in our 7s committee that we could do Fall 7s if we aren’t able to play this summer.
          1. Dodge: Good point. Has anyone heard anything about Club 7s being pushed?
          2. Roche: No. We’ve not heard anything.
    3. 7s Contingency
      1. Dodge: I would like to talk a bit about a 7s contingency plan. One of the contingency plans that USAR got through bankruptcy court was the payment of the CIPP insurance through the summer. This may allow for 7s to happen this summer or fall (as Roche mentioned).
      2. Roche: Expanding on the thought above of fall 7s, we’ve talked about doing a regional tournament with outside teams, TOLA teams and RRRC teams. Essentially a National Invitational Tournament. Lots of planning would have to happen for this to occur.
        1. Leming: What about if we did a North, South or East/West All Star event? 
        2. Roche: We can do whatever we want! I do like the idea of outside teams though, teams could ‘apply’ through Tik Tok or whatever we decide. 
        3. Dodge: Ok, can the 7s sub-committee come together with a broad brush plan for contingencies or this tournament idea? Essentially get something down on paper that we can review. The assumption is that there will not be Club 7s Nationals.
        4. Roche: Yes, we will review.
    4. 3 YC Rule Clarification
      1. Dodge: I circulated a few documents before the call, including email conversations that Wendy and I had with John Clavin (Chair of R&L Committee). I included a red-line copy with suggestions in regards to 3 yellow cards. Clavin provided some really good insight; in that not all YCs are the same but rather once the third YC is received, it is pushed up to the Disciplinary Committee and they review it (after the match has been concluded). They will review the player’s history, the actual YC situation and then will make a determination. 
        1. Dodge: I think the main question is does this cover all YCs or only those that apply to dangerous play? My understanding is that if you have 2 YCs for obstruction and 1 for team infringements, you may not be the player that this rule is aimed at. This rule is meant to curtail players that continually do dangerous play.
        2. Watson: I’ve read through what Clavin provided and I have one issue. Most dangerous play incidents are given a red card; do we feel that any players will reach this level?
        3. Dodge: Dangerous play is Law 9 and includes things like obstruction and really any other foul play. But we’re talking about yellow cards and that is where the Disciplinary Committee would review.
        4. Watson: I think that players may be confused because you can receive a red card for dangerous play OR a yellow card. Another point of confusion is that other unions don’t follow any disciplinary procedures at all. So unless anyone is going to play by the same rules…why should we do this at all?
        5. Roche: I completely disagree that we shouldn’t do it because other unions aren’t doing it. We want to protect everyone and if we allow serial offenders to continue, someone will get hurt. If a player receives three cards they would then be reviewed by the Disciplinary Committee and that’s the key, they are reviewed. 
        6. Dodge: We can only control what we’re doing, let’s not worry about what other GUs or LAUs are doing. This red line policy I’m proposing is in line with what the National Office and World Rugby are expecting of all Unions. 
        7. Kolberg: I know what Ron is alluding to, but we want to track these yellow cards and after three it is reviewed by the DC. If they are a serial offender, it will be taken care of, if not, play on.
        8. Watson: This could be fixed at the USAR level, everyone has to follow the same rules. Everyone has to play on the same playing field or it’s unfair.
        9. Dale: I think we have to make sure these YCs are kept under lock and key. I can quite easily see a team taking advantage of a player and trying to cause a player to act out.
        10. Roche: I think what’s key about it is that it’s being REVIEWED. There’s no benefit in a team trying to egg a player on and have them receive a third yellow card. 
        11. Dodge: A third YC is not an automatic ejection but it would get reviewed.
        12. Dale: I understand that, but I think that opponents may try to take advantage of it.
        13. Young: The report has been out there for years and we haven’t seen issues with this.
        14. Roche: If someone wants to track that and then try to make player X commit a penalty, that’s a lot of work. 
          1. Dodge: Does WTR indicate the actual law that was cited in the YC?
          2. Roche: Yes.
          3. Dodge: Is the cited law available on the public report?
          4. Roche: No, the cited law is only available to WTR administrators. The public report does list the name of the carded individual but not the details. 
          5. Young: This was changed a few years ago to protect privacy.
          6. Roche: Just so everyone knows, we pulled this report in February and NO ONE has received three yellow cards. So we aren’t dealing with a massive group or anything.
          7. Dodge: Ok, so do we remove the contingency for dangerous play, basically that anytime 3 YCs is received, it is reviewed by the DC?
            1. Young: I agree. I think we let the DC review once a player hits the threshold of 3 yellow cards.
            2. Tolar: Can we notify the player when they hit 3 cards? Before we send to the DC?
            3. Roche: Yes, we need to do that.
            4. Young: I agree. This should be easy enough to work into Kat’s current process when reviewing cards.
            5. Kolberg: Do we feel like the teams should manage that?
            6. Young: I don’t know that we can, we had a team this year that didn’t know what a red card means?
            7. Dodge: OK, I can include the language that the teams are responsible but the TRU will endeavor to provide a notification prior as well.
            8. Roche: Fair.
            9. Dodge: OK, I’ll rework some of the language and then we can review via email.
  3. Division Winners
    1. Young: We’ve had inquiries from some teams on if we will determine divisional winners. I asked Kat to provide potential scenarios for each division, following our current tie breakers etc.
    2. Roche: Yes, I tried to follow the tie breakers as close as possible. 
    3. Young: So the real question is, did we play enough rugby to declare winners?
    4. Dodge: Some divisions I think we did and others we didn’t. Kat when you applied tiebreakers did you follow what is posted on the website?
    5. Roche: Yes, I had to work out these scenarios for the mid-season post I put on the website and then play ceased a week after that. 
    6. Dodge: What do people think about declaring winners? Seems tough when we can’t do it for every division fairly.
    7. Fosco: Seems like everyone will be mad no matter what we do…
    8. Tolar: What if we declare regional champions within each division? We could make arguments for some divisions being stronger than others.
    9. Kolberg: I think we declare that not enough rugby was played…we tried but it didn’t happen and 2019-2020 is a wash.
    10. Roche: I also had the idea of doing a LIVE coin toss to see who wins…
    11. Fosco: What about a boat race?
      1. [Conversation drifted sideways….]
    12. Watson: I move that we determine that the 2019-2020 competitive season was not completed and no winners will be crowned.
      1. Kolberg: Second.
      2. Young: I object. I don’t want to do participation ribbons but we need to try and do something.
      3. Kurylas: What if we do what Tolar suggested, regional sub-division leaders?
      4. Roche: That works for some of the regions, but there are complications…
      5. Fosco: Nothing we do will here will make anyone happy.
      6. Watson: The only way to pacify is to declare the season a wash for 2019-2020.
      7. Dodge: Any further discussion?  None. Sounds like we need a roll call vote:
        1. Young: No
        2. Kolberg: Yes
        3. Fosco: No
        4. Tolar: No
        5. Kurylas: No
        6. Leming: Yes
        7. Hughes: Yes
        8. Watson: Yes
        9. Dale: Yes
          1. No 4, Yes 5, the yes’ carry. 2019-2020 will have NO declared winners. APPROVED.
            1. Young: Can we still do the coin toss? Virtually?
            2. Dodge: How would it work?
            3. Roche: I will make the playoff brackets including the MD3 wild card and then the HOME team is heads and the AWAY team is tails. We would try to get reps on the call and flip it…then we send tiny trophies to winners!
            4. Dodge: I don’t have a problem with it if it’s billed as fantasy.
            5. Fosco: I motion that we do the coin toss as a fantasy league.
              1. Young: I second.
                1. Dodge: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
                2. Young: I can’t wait to order tiny trophies!
  4. Promotion & Relegation
    1. Kurylas: With the season most likely ending due to COVID-19, I went ahead and started thinking about promotion & relegation. 
    2. Dodge: This is great and thank you for doing this work ahead of time. I’m wondering if we need to have more flexibility this year due to the season being cut short. I’d really like to get that club survey out and see how clubs are feeling.
    3. Kurylas: Yes, there are some clubs that only played 4-5 games and it’s tough to relegate them based on that. 
    4. Kolberg: Did we have any forfeit problems in MD3?
    5. Kurylas: Yes, we had several teams forfei in MD3. Note that the ORC/DARC forfeits were due to playing ineligible players. 
      1. Kolberg: There were a lot of reschedules, right?
      2. Kurylas: Yes, lots of those as well. 
    6. Leming: Can I ask a dumb question? Since we just declared 2019-2020 a wash, do we view this differently this year? Looking in the mirror, San Antonio needs to determine if we can have multiple sides. I worry that if we’re saying that the competition was a wash, can we really hold teams to this standard?
      1. Roche: I think that is a very good point and think we should put this back on the  club. We can ask them to tell us what they are going to try and do next season. Essentially what can they commit to? 
      2. Young: I agree with Marcus and Kat.
    7. Watson: Can we check the amount of CIPP’d players for the clubs that have forfeited? If they came in with short numbers, there is no way they can have multiple sides. We need to review the # of players required for multiple side clubs. 
    8. Kurylas: I can put those #s together to review. You may have a roster of 40+ but some of those players play in multiple divisions (per eligibility guidelines), only play in one match or never at all. 
    9. Leming: It’s an interesting data point to review, do we also need to consider pulling data on rosters per match? 
    10. Dodge: Yes, we should look at all available data. It does seem that there is an appetite for some flexibility in regards to promotion & relegation. 
      1. Young: To be clear, we’re not going to make a recommendation on promotion & relegation tonight?
      2. Dodge: Correct, I’d like to send out the club survey and then view these alternate data points.
      3. Leming: For further clarity, if the 2019-2020 is declared a wash, does that mean that promotion & relegation is also not happening? 
      4. Dodge: I think that depends somewhat on what match minimums, which is usually determined by USAR. One of the questions I’d like to ask people is would you travel further for more competitive matches? We know there is a trade-off there. 
      5. Roche: Or would you travel further for more competitive matches if there were less of them? That doesn’t sound ideal up front but if you had 3 competitive matches with more travel, you could plan for those. 
      6. Dodge: Marcus, to answer your question…I don’t want to necessarily say that we aren’t going to do a more traditional promotion & relegation because I’m not sure what rules we’ll have to live with yet. There does seem to be an interest in being flexible at the USAR level. 
      7. Leming: Totally fair, I’m bringing this up for the logic argument.
      8. Dodge: I understand. The other side of this is that we just declare everyone static but then I’m concerned that not all of those clubs will exist after we resume playing.
      9. Leming: Sure, so the survey can ask those tough questions. 
      10. Young: We’re aiming for the club survey to go out next week?
      11. Dodge: Yes and then we’d like to have the results a week before our next call so we can analyze them.
        1. MD1
          1. West Houston – Last and Point Differential of -32
        2. MD2
          1. West Houston – Last and Point Differential of -39
            1. Also 2 Forfeits
          2. San Marcos – Last and Point Differential of -39
        3. MD3
          1. Alamo City tied for last in 2018-2019 with Corpus Christi as both were 1-7 with 7 Standings Points
          2. Kingwood has met criteria past 3 seasons (1-7 in 2017-2018 and 1-9 in 2018-2019)
          3. Corpus Christi (PD – 37 and -34) past two seasons
          4. Alamo City – Last and Point Differential of -28
          5. Kingwood – Last and Point Differential of -32
        4. Women’s Division
          1. Young: In all honesty we’ve tried to apply promotion & relegation to the women every year but it’s failed every time. I say failed in that we’ve applied the policy but then we granted every team their appeal and is that really a policy? Our women’s competitions are valid and we want them on par (as far as promotion & relegation) as the men but we’re struggling. 
          2. Roche: I agree and another one of the things we’ve struggled with is that we tried to help McAllen out this year with their travel and they still couldn’t make every match. They are ready to compete in D2 as D3 wouldn’t have been appropriate.
          3. Fosco: This is tough, two years ago Bay Area was a blip on a map and this year proved they belong in D2. We need all three divisions to help teams move up and down as they develop. Bay Area’s development is a testament to the women’s divisions and how it is working. We had to help McAllen out this year because it was the right thing to do and we would do it for any club that presented valid reasons.
          4. Roche: I still like the idea of the multi-club weekends, we did this in the WD1 where our teams traveled to Colorado and played D1 and D2 clubs.
          5. Fosco: Interesting, but the North doesn’t travel much. Except for Little Rock.
          6. Young: With Dodge’s proposal of a Texas Cup in the fall, that could be a new way to boost competition for the women. Teams that never travel or rarely travel could see some new teams and it could be fun.
  5. Meeting Adjourned (9:20 PM)

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