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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 6/8/20

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. Kolberg
    3. Keuppens
    4. Fosco
    5. Tolar
    6. Roche
    7. Kurylas
    8. Wilson
    9. Dale
    10. Watson
    11. Leming
      1. Regrets
        1. Dodge
        2. O’Gara
  2. USA Rugby Reorg
    1. Tate: Dodge asked that I Chair the meeting today as he isn’t available. A quick update on where the USA Rugby Reorganization is …the club council has been formed and I was nominated Chair. Vice Chair is Ken Pape and Treasurer is Jill Williamson. The secretary is Rick Hum and Al Lucas is the representative to the BOD. The Audit & Risk and Nominating committees are still to be filled. The club council is further ahead than youth and College at this point. So how does this affect this group?
      1. Tate: The big piece is that the control of the club game is moving back to the GUs. Technically speaking the TRU would control competitions in Texas. For us that doesn’t mean a lot of changes as our Board and RRRC Competitions Committee have lots of overlap. So for now the RRRC Competitions Committee will remain as is and instead of reporting to the USA Rugby National Competition Committee it reports to the TRU and then the GU reports to the National Club Council. Unless there is a compelling reason to change this committee then I don’t see a need to make any changes. IF there is, we can put together a proposal and the TRU Board can review.
      2. Watson: Question on some of these pocket CRs like Florida, Alabama and Montana. These groups stayed unions and didn’t join or become GUs. 
      3. Tate: So the distinction between Territorial Union, Local Area Union etc don’t matter anymore. If your Union wants to be part of the council you have to share your bylaws and then you can be voted in by the Club Council. We are allowing associate unions which means they can pay dues and get basic membership values of being with USA Rugby but won’t be part of the competition structure. Those are Montana, Alaska and Hawaii.
  3. COVID Return to Play Update
    1. Young: The task force has been closely monitoring developments across our regions. We do feel that more changes around reopening are imminent, especially in Texas but our Union remains in Stage 3 at this time. 
    2. Keuppens: We know that people are still frustrated but there has been a 14% increase in cases in Texas alone. I do think the task force needs to consider moving up and down through the phases. We had discussions of moving towards Stage 4 and then Stage 5 last week but if cases continue to creep up at this rate or more, we may have to discuss moving backwards.
      1. Texas Reports Record-Breaking COVID-19 Hospitalizations as State Reopens
      2. Tate: Honestly this is something we’ve had discussions about at the Club Council. What if we see a disruption during the fall? So these are real conversations we need to be having. I do think for Fall XVs we will look at reducing the number of required games so that breaks can be absorbed.
    3. Keuppens: I also think that we need to look closely at what “communal equipment” or what constitutes “contact” and those should be clearly defined somewhere.
      1. Tate: Yes, we need to capture all of this, lessons learned, things to consider, etc. Then it can be replicated at the National Club Council if needed.
    4. Leming: Are we following local guidelines or USA Rugby’s return to play guidelines?
    5. Tate: That’s a great question, generally speaking you have to go local to state and then National. Just because the state of Texas is opening up, Potter county is having a problem and local conditions are preventing them from opening. So they are following county and city regulations. But then there may be regulations for the park or field you play at. The governor can say play on, but the field operators can still say no. Everything that comes from the TRU and USA Rugby are based on the regulatory system that has been set. Based on that status, you can then follow rugby guidelines from the TRU and USA Rugby. 
    6. Leming: Ok, I’m getting lots of questions from my personal club members. I would imagine we’d like to have all of our clubs on the same page and doing the same things.
    7. Tate: We’d like that, but it just isn’t possible. Situations vary from city to county and from state to state. Unfortunately USA Rugby pushed this down to the GUs and Unions to figure out. So we’re having to make our own best judgements based on all of the guidelines and regulations that are out there. At the end of the day, follow whatever rules apply in your city, county and state. Then based on those rules, the TRU can determine what stage we’re in and provide protocols for what that means. Where things are going to get weird and we may find ourselves in a bad spot…imagine the governments allow us to return to play but then we have significant virus transmission in the rugby community. This isn’t what we want and would be very bad for rugby overall. We may be forced to make a decision to end seasons because people are getting sick. 
    8. Leming: That makes sense and I appreciate the answers. I know we’re all getting questions from all our members, teammates and friends.
    9. Tate: Yes, we’re all struggling with the same things. We all want to play and various government agencies are telling us different things. 
    10. Kolberg: My take on this is that we open up the season and then it has to be shut down. I think that would be the worst possible thing that could happen. I think we need to be very confident that that won’t happen.
    11. Tate: I agree but it will be difficult to get to that level of confidence.
  4. 7s Contingency Plan
    1. Keuppens: The RRRC 7s sub-committee continues to discuss our 7s contingency plans. We’ve kept in contact with potential hosts in case we’re able to return to play this summer. The current proposal we’re considering includes some sort of 7s season and concludes in late August with a Championship. It would be TOLA like and in the spirit of playing some rugby. The formal proposal has been shared with the Task Force but would need to be further reviewed and approved by the RRRC Competitions Committee. But of course this all depends on us reaching Stage 5 ASAP.
  5. Fall XVs
    1. Men’s Regional Proposal
      1. Tate: Dodge has been working on a fall proposal that is  a bit different than what we’ve seen in the past. I know he’s spoken to several people on this call and outside the committee. Here is a quick summary based on pros and cons:
        1. Pros
          1. Multi-side vs multi-side
          2. Single clubs vs single clubs
          3. Create more parity
          4. Reduces concerns around player movement between sides
          5. Multi-side clubs traveling together
          6. More games at same venue
            1. Refs can work in teams
          7. Potential for fewer games
            1. Less burden on refs
            2. More flexibility for cancellations/reschedules
        2. Cons
          1. Several clubs would have to more up/down voluntarily OR
          2. Policy changes to force clubs to move
          3. More travel for some clubs
Proposed Structure for 2020-21 Season


        1. USA Division 1 = RRRC D1
        2. D 2= RRRC D1b & D2
        3. D3 = RRRC D1c, 2b, 3N, 3C, 3S
      1. Tate: So that is one of the proposals that Dodge has shared with a few folks. This is also one of the options we’ve been looking at on our Club Council calls. But some of these issues are larger for some areas and smaller for others. We have done something very similar to this back in the day. But Texas has a higher percentage of fielding multi-side clubs than anywhere else in the country. Questions or thoughts?
        1. Kolberg: Do we know if anybody has had any preliminary discussions with some of the teams that would be required to move up?
        2. Tate: I do not know that.
        3. Roche: Dodge said he was going to reach out to them. I don’t know how those conversations went though.
        4. Kurylas: He hasn’t reached out to us yet but we have a virtual officer meeting on Saturday. We have been discussing moving up to D2/D3 anyways.
        5. Kolberg: If we did apply the promotion and relegation guidelines a lot of these teams would be in the discussion based on their historical performance. 
        6. Leming: Has there been a decision around promotion and relegation for 2019-2020? Or are these recommendations?
        7. Tate: I’ll give you a legal and diplomatic answer…Legally the TRU is empowered to do whatever we want under the new competition guidelines. Diplomatically it behooves us to try and appeal to clubs and their needs/concerns so that they make moves voluntarily. This always goes over better than forcing them, this is why we always included an appeal process in P&R.
        8. Tolar: The line between D1b and D2 is a bit concerning. Some of those teams were struggling without COVID  and we don’t know what retention will be like. I do like joining the miltu-side clubs together but I think that this is going to hurt the D2 clubs the most.
        9. Tate: We’d like D2 and D2b to play together and travel together. Did I misunderstand your question?
        10. Tolar: No, that makes sense and answers my concern.
        11. Tate: Also note that since the GUs control competitions now, we can look at making changes to the eligibility rules too. I would also like to talk about your point around VODI-19 and retention…no one knows how that is going to play out. I would advise EVERYONE to go into this next season with a very flexible mindset. 
        12. Young: And you mean everyone? Right? 
        13. Tate: Yes, from the USA Rugby BOD down to the 4th side rookie. It has been a weird 6 months and I think it’s going to be a weird 12 months to come. We will all need to be flexible in how we do things.
          1. Tate: I don’t think Dodge wanted anyone to vote on this tonight but get folks thinking about it. Of course we’d like input from teams on if they think this would work or is something they’d like to explore.
          2. Leming: When do we think we would need to have a vote completed by?
          3. Tate: Good question, it’s kind of the same timeline as we always have. If we don’t have promotion and relegation or a new format  in place by next month we will have a hard time making a schedule by August. 
    1. DFW Women’s League
      1. Young: Elaine Vassie sent me a rough proposal a few weeks ago that I wanted to run by the committee. It would be specific to DFW and would include all of the teams from D1, D2 and D3. It could have two tiers with appropriate levels of play.
      2. Tate: Interesting, this actually has been happening in Chicago. With the flexibility we’ve been talking about, this might actually work. I do think it might be hard for HARC, San Antonio etc. We’d have to ask them what they think.
      3. Young: I think we could chat it around a bit more, I’d like to talk with Monique, Marie and Kat about it. We could have a North league and a South with Valks, HARC, San Antonio, BARC etc.
      4. Dale: I have a bit more context as well, we looked at all the teams in the DFW area. The majority of the teams have 8-10 players and it’s difficult to complete a schedule with that many players. You could even then create a D1 side for the Spring that comprises the best players.
      5. Tate: Right, I think it’s interesting for sure and could be considered. I do think that some teams may have concerns around player movements like they’ve had in the past.
      6. Fosco: What would you do about club dues and things like that?
      7. Dale: It’s still in the works.
      8. Young: We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, remember I said this was a rough proposal. 🙂 I’d like to keep talking with Elaine, Monique, Marie, Kat and see if we want to pursue it. Then we can bring a formal proposal to this group.
    2. WD1
      1. Tolar: Do we anticipate that the women’s D1 RRRC/Frontier will look the same? Utah’s status is uncertain and Glendale has cut their women’s program.
      2. Tate: Doubtful. I think with the pandemic, Glendale cutting their women’s program…it will more than likely be different. What we don’t know is what it will look like.
      3. Roche: Just another note on this, all of our women’s D1 sides were very upset with the split schedule. It is essential with Frontier because of snow…so that is another concern. It sounds like they want a spring only schedule.
  1. New Business
    1. None.
  2. Meeting Adjourned (9:40 PM)