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TRU Board Notes – 6/15/20

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. Roche
    3. Tomsak
    4. Kurylas
    5. Wilson
    6. Hiller
    7. Dodge
    8. Tate
      1. Regrets
        1. O’Gara
  2. Black Lives Matter
    1. Young: I’ve received a few questions about if the TRU supports the Black Live Matter movement. Personally, I would like the TRU to put out a statement in support but wanted to bring it to the Board for consideration. 
    2. Tate: I have no objection to this and think it would be a good thing.
    3. Hiller: I’m for it but if we’re going to say something we need to go all the way. The middle of the road thing is dangerous even if it’s based in good intentions.
    4. Roche: Yes, the TRRA had this conversation and we’ve posted our support. We had the exact sentiment that Zach mentioned, it was essential for us to put Black Lives Matter rather than something soft. We didn’t want to skip over the whole conversation. So if we put something out we need to be very clear on our position.
    5. Tate: I did have a thought personally, I’m very progressive and very much in support. It occurred to me that some of our members may not want our union to wade into the issue. I certainly know that I have coached men that were police officers and had very different views than me on issues like this. That’s why I wasn’t in a rush to do something without some thought and discussion.
    6. Tomsak: I find it best to keep my thoughts to myself on social media.
    7. Tate: I think it really comes down to our values and the values of USA and World Rugby. USAR did come out with their own statement and we could echo that. If it were me, I would go along the lines that “rugby is a sport for everyone and when one of our family is being disrespected or oppressed then we all have a responsibility to step up. Black Lives Matter.” If we’re going to do something we will need to draft it and have it reviewed by the Board. Anyone disagree?
      1. Tate: None, Ok, I will take a pass at a draft and we can review via email.
  3. USAR Re-org
    1. Tate: The big thing that is happening is that we’re soliciting nominations for our five committee chairs. Those being Competitions, Eligibility, Disciplinary, Training and Education and Diversity and Inclusion. The ultimate decision was that the Committee Chairs are open to those that aren’t GU Presidents. The only ones that can make nominations are the member Unions themselves. So if someone was interested in those positions, we (the TRU) could nominate them. I have had someone reach out with interest in Training & Education and Dodge has already been on the USAR National Competitions Committee. So I would like to post a statement on the TRU website so we can review interested candidates. I would also say to all of you on the TRU Board that if you’re interested, we can certainly look at that as well. There is concern with having two individuals as Chairs of committees from the same GU. Once the Chairs of the committee are set we’re able to nominate as many as we want to the committees. We just don’t want the committees to be dominated by one of two Unions.
    2. Roche: Would you like us to go ahead and put out a notice on social media for those interested in Chair positions and general committee positions?
    3. Tate: Yes. We also want to do some recruiting as there are people that would be very good and should be involved. This is moving quickly, Chairs will be selected by next week and then we will be working on filling those committees. The other big task for the executive committee is negotiating dues and member agreements. Our initial meeting was cancelled but I’m trying to reschedule for later this week so we can start working on this. 
    4. Dodge: What services do you anticipate that the TRU would want from USA Rugby? Is that a union by union thing?
    5. Tate: Our thought is that all the unions would get the same thing. We don’t think it would be in our best interest to have Unions cutting side deals.
    6. Dodge: I agree. 
    7. Tate: as far as what services, we want liability insurance, accident insurance as an option, Sportlomo, keep CMS but drive it off Sportlomo. We also need inbound and outbound clearance for tours and players coming in and out. We want US Rugby to be the employer of record, so if we hire a full-time employee they are the employer of record.
    8. Dodge: Have you spoken anymore with Ron about the insurance quotes he has been researching?
    9. Tate: Yes, I’ve spoken with Ron a few times. We’re scheduling a meeting with Aubrey who is working directly with the insurance brokers.
      1. Tate: The HS group has gotten their Terms or Reference together and has seated their Board. Rugby Texas is on that Board and is well represented. College is all over the map, the Texas women’s colleges have joined the CRAA which is a USA Rugby affiliate member. I talked with TeShay with Men’s D1A and they are staying with D1A and CRAA as well. Lone Star Conference and Shayne are still deciding what they want to do. It seems like they are leaning towards joining NSCRO which isn’t affiliated with USA Rugby anymore. It is very possible that NSCRO will become an affiliated member with USA Rugby for some things as they want to manage their own competitions etc.
    10. Roche: What does that mean if a TRU Men’s club plays a Lone Star College club? Would they be covered insurance wise?
    11. Tate: That remains to be seen as the insurances would be different groups. I do think there is an effort to have NSCRO be part of USA Rugby but we will have to see where that ends up. I’m more concerned about college players that transfer to club teams over the summer or at the end of their college season. They would potentially have to pay double dues and such. 
  4. COVID Return to Play Update
    1. Tate: The RTP task force has been following the developments of the pandemic very closely. Currently in Texas, the Open Texas website indicates that sports can take place but with less than 10 participants and non-contact. As of right now, the notion of playing full on 7s is off the table. As is contact training including hit shields, tackle bags and touch rugby.
      1. Tate: A question that the TRP task force has been discussing has been if we could allow balls. The discussion is that shared equipment is not mentioned by the state of Texas guidelines but it is mentioned in USA Rugby’s RTP guidelines. There is ample documentation on the CDC website and the Open Texas website around youth sports and other recreational activities of best practices around minimizing shared equipment and sanitizing it before and after use. So the discussion was around if it was a good idea to tell our members that they could introduce a ball as long as they were still non-contact, small groups and maintaining social distancing. The discussion was one of safety and one of following the USA Rugby RPT guidelines to their most conservative extent vs getting more compliance and keeping involved. I’m sure that there are already people out there throwing a ball around. I indicated that if we made this step, the RTP task force had to all be on the same page. Then I mentioned that we would discuss it with the TRU Board. For the members that are on the task force and this call, did I capture this correctly?
        1. Dodge: Yes.
        2. Young: Yes.
        3. Roche: Yes.
      2. Tate: Ok, good. There were definitely a few members of the RTP Task Force that were in favor of allowing a ball and there were some that were more cautious. So I’d like to hear from the TRU Board members that aren’t on the task force. How do you feel?
      3. Kurylas: I think that once we introduce a ball it is a slippery slope and we’ll lose social distancing etc. 
        1. Tate; Yes, that was certainly a point we talked about.
      4. Tomsak: I just think that people are going to do what they’re going to do. There are already some running around with balls. 
        1. Tate: LA regulations may be a bit different than Texas.
        2. Tomsak: Yes, all the parks and pools are open. It’s loosened up quite a bit in the last week.
      5. Hiller: I think a ball is just fine as long as everything else is reinforced. It needs to be clear what we’re agreeing to. Starting to move towards the directions we all want to be in is a good thing.
      6. Wilson: I’m in the same boat as John, once we introduce a ball it’s all over. But I also hear that everyone is anxious to get back to normal and they are going to do what they want to do. I do think we should keep pushing social distance, hand sanitizing and wiping down equipment is going to be the best way to go.
      7. Tomsak: If we’re talking about my personal opinion, I say go for it. BUT as far as the Union’s perspective I think we should be as convervative as possible.
      8. Dodge: We aren’t discussing what people will do, we need to discuss what the TRU is doing. My thought is that the cases and hospitalizations are breaking records…but our governor is still opening everything. Does anyone know the most recent guidance on CDC on shared surfaces?
      9. Tate: I tried to find something on the CDC site on Friday but  couldn’t find anything helpful on the topic.
      10. Young: I’ve also searched the CDC website and did find it under Employers in regards to businesses. They are still indicating that shared surfaces should be disinfected and cleaned. I think we could apply this to rugby balls and communal equipment?
        1. Tomsak: What about this? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html. “The virus may be spread in other ways. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.“
      11. Hiller: I would amend my statement and an official statement from the Union should be that whatever protects us as a Union is what we should do.
      12. Tate: As nothing has changed as of today, I believe we should indicate that nothing has changed and we remain in Stage 3. Even though the RTP task force discussed the option of a ball, based on USA Rugby RTP policy and where the state of our Union is in terms of its stage in the pandemic…we cannot allow shared equipment. We will continue to monitor the situation daily and hopefully update as things get better. Everyone OK with that?
        1. Dodge: Not particularly, we have been put in a very bad spot. I don’t know that I have an alternative.
        2. Tate: I agree and I don’t know what else I can do. 
  5. NEW HOF Website
    1. Tate: Wendy has been doing great work and we have a new HOF website! We now have a website dedicated to the Hall of Fame, our Union’s History and a home for all of the memorabilia and photos that we’ve collected. We’ll put out a press release so our members can view it. If you have any feedback, please let Wendy know.
    2. Young: Yes, happy to hear any feedback!
  6. Summit
    1. Tate: The guidance that I’ve given Wendy and Kat is that we should plan as if this event is going to happen in August. It’s easier to schedule and plan everything and if we have to cancel, we will do that. We have heard from COTA and BBVA that their venues are now free on the weekends of the planned ARC matches. USAR hasn’t announced any cancellations but it’s assumed that those announcements will be made soon.
    2. Roche: Austin’s stay at home order was just extended to August 15, a week from our planned event. Are we still looking at August 22?
    3. Tate: Yes, I want to keep planning and we will postpone if we have to. We’ve done it before due to Hurricane Harvey and we hope it doesn’t happen again. 
    4. Young: I’m pretty much done with the HOF website and can now turn my focus to the Summit. Kat and I can get together and start putting a plan together.
    5. Roche: Sounds good.
  7. New Business
    1. None.
  8. Meeting Adjourned (9:20 PM)