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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 8/10/20

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. Watson
    4. Dodge
    5. Kurylas
    6. Fosco
    7. Leming
    8. Kolberg
    9. Tolar
    10. Dale
    11. Hughes
      1. Regrets
        1. O’Gara
        2. Keuppens
  2. USA Rugby Restructuring update
    1. Club Council Subcommittee Chairs elected
      1. Dodge: All of the Club Council Subcommittee Chairs have been elected. As I understand it, the process of populating Club Council Committees begins tomorrow night. Anyone who raised their hand in is in the ring to be evaluated and GU Presidents are able to make recommendations.
    2. Discussions re: National Competition structure pending formation of Competitions Committee
      1. Dodge: These are still on hold until the committee is seated. We anticipate the committees will be seated by our next call.
    3. Discussions re: Eligibility Rule revisions pending formation of Eligibility Committee
      1. Dodge: These are still on hold until the committee is seated. We anticipate the committees will be seated by our next call.
    4. Negotiations with USAR over “national dues amount” ongoing
      1. Dodge: The Club Council is also still in negotiations with USAR about the “national dues amount”. This is the portion that would go directly to USAR and it will likely include insurance. 
    5. Registration platform change to SportsLomo
      1. Dodge: The registration platform is changing to SportsLomo, Wendy or Kat has anything been set up?
      2. Roche: I’ve taken the lead on Sportlomo and it is mostly set up. As you mention, I’m waiting for the amount for USAR dues and can input that easily. We’ve already linked the TRU bank account and we just need the USAR dues amount settled. I would note that doing set up has been quite the hassle, it seems that bandwidth on SportLomo end is very sparse. Getting in touch with them has been very difficult.
      3. Dodge: Yes, we’ve been hearing that they are hard to get a hold of right now.
      4. Kolberg: Can we expect a problem at the start of the season with large groups of folks attempting to CIPP?
      5. Roche: We shouldn’t experience any issues, all of the set up for the TRU is done and we’re ready. I’m concerned that if our clubs want to take advantage of some of the “other” features, like collecting their club dues through Sportlomo, they may experience setup issues. There is a lack of instructional documentation, and I’ve had a hard time getting a hold of their support staff to learn about this and other features.
      6. Dodge: This is probably discussion for our TRU call next week but we probably need to wait on suggesting the use of some of these club-level features right now. Let’s focus on making sure it works at the TRU level, and people understand how to get CIPP’d on the new platform.
      7. Young: I agree, we don’t need to complicate the rollout at this time.
      8. Roche: I’ll continue to explore and troubleshoot.
    6. Competition management platform to remain CMS
      1. Dodge: USA Rugby is sticking with CMS, but I’m unsure if they have tied it to Sportlomo yet. 
    7. Senior club registration currently set to open Aug. 15, 2020
      1. Dodge: USA Rugby has announced the Senior Club cycle will open on Aug 15 but we’re hearing it may be pushed back. They are looking at adding “non-contact” registration options for Stage 4 and Stage 5 regions. 
  3. RTP
    1. Stage 4
      1. Dodge: Let’s talk about whether we want to do anything organized when we hit Stage 4. We originally talked about doing FIT touch leagues and if we do that, I think it needs to be metro area by metro area. 
      2. Kolberg: I think tomorrow we will see that almost all College football is canceled. If they don’t think it’s safe with all of their resources and access to doctors, I think we need to be honest with our members and move everything to the Spring. 
      3. Dodge: Understood and several unions in the northeast that normally start league play in August have cancelled their fall season. However, I want to focus on IF we can play before the Spring, I want it to be a flick of a switch so rugby can begin happening. 
      4. Kolberg: What’s the difference between tackle and touch (besides the obvious). There will still be close proximity, sweating, yelling and possible transference of the virus. 
      5. Dodge: I hear you, but again I don’t really want to get into are we doing this now or in 2 weeks. If we can do something in the fall, I’d rather have a plan than have to come up with one once we hit Stage 4. 
      6. Hughes: I agree, if we’re allowed to start play in the Spring we need some sort of leadup to that. It would make sense to have some kind of gear up if we can. 
      7. Fosco: Instead of having something concrete scheduled, why don’t we direct teams to schedule friendlies and such?
      8. Dodge: I think we’re talking about two different things. Stage 4 is the beginning of training, but there isn’t contact rugby until Stage 5.
      9. Kurylas: Stage 4 reads as minimal contact, but it would allow for non-contact practice and touch.
      10. Roche: When I read Stage 4 it doesn’t mention tackling allowed or disallowed, it calls out no scrums, rucking etc. But not tackle…I think they left that up to us.
      11. Kolberg: That is russian roulette and we have to be smart enough to understand the position we’re putting our players in.
      12. Watson: All we need is 1 or 2 people to get infected with this and then we’re toast.
      13. Leming: I agree and we’re seeing some counties that aren’t handling the virus as well as others. Not every county is created equal in the medical or political spectrum. 
      14. Watson: I don’t want to jeopardize our players and we shouldn’t hurry things along so people get sick.
      15. Dodge: Ok, I think the question on the table is if we can get to Stage 4, do we want to create some sort of structured county by county touch league or do we want to just let touch happen organically?
      16. Roche: I vote no to county by county organized touch. Teams can play touch if they want.
      17. Young: I vote touch league at Stage 4 because it will help keep players engaged and get ready for Stage 5.
      18. Watson: Why don’t we wait for Stage 5? What’s the rush?
      19. Dodge: What I’m hearing is that we don’t have consensus for a county by county touch league structure. So we will leave it at Clubs coming up with their own training regimens that comply with the Stage 4 limitations, once we get there. But I do think we need to have something planned for Stage 5, if we get there in the fall. In discussing with Travis, with the new league structure and the uncertainty surrounding COVID, we’d like to build the league schedule around a January 2021 start date.
    2. Fall – Stage 5 – Potential Tournament Play in Nov. / Dec
      1. Dodge: If we reach Stage 5, is anyone opposed to holding tournaments in the fall? We would need to find hosts in each major metro market & establish dates and drop dead cancellation dates for each. 
      2. Kolberg: If we’re in Stage 5 and someone plays someone with the virus, could they be held liable?
      3. Dodge: I can’t offer an opinion on that. However, in order to reach Stage 5, state and local government guidance has to allow “normal social activities,” which I would interpret as no required social distancing or restrictions on the size of gatherings / types of activities state and local governments will allow.  Basically, back to the old normal, but with additional hygiene measures. 
      4. Hughes: By Stage 5, I feel like we would be able to hold tournaments. 
      5. Dodge: We may have some clubs that don’t want to play until vaccines are widely available and in use due to liability concerns, and other clubs that are happy to play in Stage 5. The same will be true as to individual players.  
      6. Young: I think we should try to put a structure in place, keeping in mind all local, government policies and do it metro by metro. Clubs can make their own determination on if they want to participate. For the women we’re also bringing back “rugby whores” so if players want to show up, we can put them on a team so they can participate. 
      7. Hughes: I agree, make plans and then we make a determination once we get closer.
      8. Tolar: I agree.
      9. Dodge: I’m thinking we look at tournaments in November and work around the holidays/weather. 
      10. Hughes: I think that makes sense.
      11. Young: I agree and it’s what we’re planning with the women. We technically have Sep tournament dates on our tentative schedule but those need to be pushed back at least 30 days at this point. 
    3. 2021
      1. Dodge: Travis is working on draft men’s schedule to start league play in Jan., but still a work in progress. We’re looking to finalize something for publication to clubs at Sept. meeting
      2. Hughes: Yes, I’m working on it and looking at a possible start date of January 23. We will keep pushing back as far as needed. 
      3. Dodge: If we can’t start in Jan., will look at other options (e.g., home or away only season). I also spoke to Erik Geib, USAR Competitions Chair, and he recommended that for now we hold the USAR NCS dates as normal, pending further discussion at the Club Competitions Committee level. As with everything else, we will plan for Championships and adjust as needed.
      4. Hughes: Agreed.
        1. Leming: I may have missed this, but have we made a public announcement that league play won’t start in the fall?
        2. Dodge: You didn’t miss anything, but we’ve determined that a spring start for league play is the most realistic. But if we can hit Stage 5 by Nov. / Dec. we would like to try and do at least XVs tournaments to get teams ready for league play in Jan.
        3. Young: I think we might be confusing some of our calls, Dodge. On the task force we’ve been talking about this quite extensively.
        4. Dodge: Ok, yes, that might be the case. But it sounds like the consensus on this call is that if we reach Stage 5 before Jan., we do want to try and have tournaments in the late fall. 
        5. Hughes: Also, we wanted to get a head start on the spring schedule. So we had to pick a “start date” and we tentatively chose Jan 23. With the men’s division restructured, the schedule is a bit lighter so if we can start then or close to it…we should be OK. 
        6. Leming: Yes and I know that several other unions have announced their cancellation of their fall seasons, so I just want to make sure we’re clear with our members.
        7. Dodge: Right, thank you for bringing this up. We do want to be clear that we’re not cancelling play for this fall but there will not be league play. We do want to try and have tournaments if we can reach Stage 5 in the Fall.
        8. Leming: Ok, so we haven’t made any announcements yet, right?
        9. Dodge: Not yet, but we can put something together that makes all of this more clear.
    4. Potential inclusion of Rugby HTX
      1. Dodge: As we discussed last month, Rugby HTX is looking to join the TRU. They are a Houston Sabercats second team that wants to be in the matrix in D1 but matches wouldn’t count towards league play. They need to go through the admissions process through the TRU before we decide where and whether they can be included in the schedule.
      2. Young: Yes, we’ve only received their application and participation agreement. So we’ve got quite a bit of outstanding documentation from them. With COVID, I can see why they may not be in a rush.
      3. Dodge: I know they hosted a combine last Sat., and so the team is still being formed. They are aware that they need to follow all of our admission procedures. 
    5. 2-Year Home or Away series for MD1 with Glendale
      1. Dodge: Glendale has dropped out of the MLR and are essentially recreating themselves as a team with a pathway to USAR and the MLR. They’re looking for high quality competition and want to play home or away for two years with us. Most of the D1 teams are for it if we can fit it in.
      2. Young: I would strongly discourage us from partnering with them because of how they treated their former women’s sides. They cut their WPL (#1 women’s program in the USA) and the women’s D1 sides completely and are only supporting a men’s program. Just on that alone we shouldn’t support them.
      3. Kolberg: They cut the team completely?
      4. Young: Yes, they cut two women’s programs, the WPL side was a pathway to USAR HP and so I find it disingenuous that they are proposing that their men’s team be a USAR pathway team. They already had that in the women, but why cut only by gender? It isn’t equitable or fair and doesn’t promote good rugby values. It’s a disgrace and we shouldn’t include them in our schedule.
    6. Women’s Schedule:
      1. Young: As mentioned above, we have a tournament schedule already but will be pushing dates back until we can reach Stage 5. We will begin working on a league schedule for the spring soon.
      2. Dodge: OK, have you put locations on those fall dates yet?
      3. Young: No, we looked at it a bit but most clubs couldn’t get reservations since their governments/parks/clubs are shut down. We would like to do a tournament in the North and the South on the same day bi-weekly.
      4. Dodge: Ok, that might be a model that we look at doing for the entire TRU. 
      5. Young: Yes, I think it would work and we’d love to have weekends with both men and women playing together at the same venue (if possible).
  4. New Business
    1. MLR Clubs
      1. Watson: We have three MLR clubs in the state of Texas, are we concerned that we will continue to lose club players?
      2. Roche: I don’t know that the large majority of players want to play for the MLR. Sure some do, but most have full-time jobs and enjoy playing club ball.
      3. Watson: Right but some will want to play MLR. With the current eligibility rules, a player can be called up to the MLR but as soon as they play in a certain number of matches, they aren’t eligible for club rugby anymore. I’m proposing that we look out for our clubs and allow these players to play “down” and look at changing to a fall season for at least D1/D2, if necessary.
      4. Dale: A lot of this depends on the eligibility regulations that may be changing.
      5. Dodge: Right. 
      6. Leming: I’m not against this but would like to make sure that we aren’t overcorrecting for 1% of the population.
      7. Kolberg: I think we need to make sure that club is the highest competition and the top of our pyramid. Look at NZ, a guy can play local club, then provincial and then Super rugby.
      8. Watson: Right, it should be progressive and would help retention overall. 
      9. Dodge; Let’s table this and see what the Club Council comes up with as to what the national championship pathway looks like in the next few months. It would be nice to have a single point of contact with MLR to discuss some of these issues, but as far as I can tell, each team operates largely independently of the others, with relations with local clubs and unions not particularly high on their list of priorities.
  5. Meeting Adjourned (9:15 PM)

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