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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 12/14/20

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 – Joint call between RRRC and TRU Board
    1. Young
    2. Hiller
    3. Keuppens
    4. Roche
    5. Leming
    6. Wilson
    7. Dale
    8. Kurylas
    9. Tate
    10. Dodge
    11. Watson
    12. Tolar
      1. Regrets
        1. Kolberg
        2. Fosco
        3. Tomsak
        4. Hughes
  2. RTP
    1. COVID-19 positive cases
      1. Young: I received an anonymous tip from an individual that is claiming that there are clubs that are either hiding positive tests or are conducting practices with known COVID positive players. I shared the email with Dodge and Kirk and indicated to the tipper that we would discuss it.
      2. Roche: My take on this would be does the club have a copy of the positive test and do the club admins have knowledge of said test?
      3. Tate: The thing that I don’t follow here is, a rugby player tested positive but there’s nothing here that it’s being hidden and there is no way for us to know that this person had been going to training and exposing their teammates. It’s evidence that someone in the union tested positive but that’s it. They aren’t the first and won’t be the last and doesn’t mean anything inappropriate occurred.
      4. Dodge: Yes, my thinking is along the same lines. Sounds like someone tested positive and is potentially staying home in quarantine.
      5. Tate: The other concern I have is that we’re not in a position due to HIPPA to require anyone to report to us on health concerns.
      6. Young: That’s where my mind went, I don’t know if we should or want to get into this because of privacy concerns.
      7. Tate: To give a bit more context, there was also discussion in the email chain that the individual indicated we should look to cancel games until March or April. It didn’t appear that they knew at the time that we had effectively decided to move the start of the spring season until February.
      8. Dodge: Maybe what we do is put up a reminder to clubs that if they have a positive case, they need to do contact tracing and make sure individuals that were exposed are quarantining.
        1. Leming: Have we had any other indications from USA Rugby that they would like us to roll back due to the rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths?
        2. Tate: No, USA Rugby has essentially punted this to the Unions so they can deal with it.
        3. Leming: OK, so if we wanted to “pick up the ball and run with it”, we can do that? I’m concerned that even though we’ve posted our guidelines on the website, they aren’t being followed.
        4. Dodge: Is your concern that we’re in the wrong stage?
        5. Leming: Yes, especially if USA Rugby is shirking their responsibility. I think we need to review our guidelines against the worsening environment.
        6. Tate: USA Rugby has given us guidelines but declined to indicate which stage Unions are in. That falls to the unions. As far as your question about what stage we should be in, that discussion has been ongoing on a regular basis since February. We talk about this all the time. This time last month when we had our meeting we decided not to change the stage we were in but we’re a month down the road now. In some parts of the state, things are getting worse. One of the reasons we didn’t change it last month was because the regions of the state that were doing badly in the West where we didn’t have any rugby. We actually look at cases per thousand for all our various regions and where our clubs and members were and while the country and Texas was in a rough place in an overall scale, the cities where our clubs generally reside were not as severe but it’s  constantly moving target.
        7. Dodge: One of the things we put in our notice about the most recent change to the schedule was that we weren’t going to make anyone go from a standstill to playing matches. We will make sure that everyone is ready for contact rugby once we are in Stage 5.
        8. Tate: At a glance, Travis county has gotten a bit worse, Bexar county in San Antonio is up significantly while Houston/Galveson is pretty steady. Dallas got worse for a bit but is now trending downwards. Oklahoma is a mess but their state has very little regulations in place. Shreveport has improved. 
        9. Leming: Got it.
        10. Tate: In summary, we haven’t made a change because where we play rugby it is relatively stable. 
        11. Leming: Totally fair, is USA Rugby ever going to move to a Stage 5 or is now up to the GUs to make that decision?
        12. Tate: That’s a great question. I suspect USA Rugby is going to sit back and wait for us to do it.
        13. Dodge: Yes and after putting the burden on us the whole time I don’t know that it would be looked on favorably if they made those types of decisions.
          1. Watson: Please explain the rationale of why tackling is allowed in Stage 4? We can’t have scrums, mauls, lifting in lineouts…but this close contact is allowed? This doesn’t make sense.
          2. Tate: Prolonged close contact increases the risk but the thought is that form tackle doesn’t meet that. Being in a scrum would be considered prolonged closer contact. When we looked at our extended guidelines in Stage 4, the RTP Task Force looked at UIL, football and wrestling guidelines. While we aren’t virologists we felt this was along the lines of other sports.
          3. Leming: Has the TRU weighed the options of coming out of with our own versions of the guidelines in the absence of USA Rugby? I think there is a conflict in communication and I believe clubs are taking USA Rugby’s guidelines as gospel. If we have the opportunity to clarify those points why wouldn’t we? 
          4. Dodge: We have the ability to make a determination of what stage we’re in but from that determination flows what you can do at training, have matches, etc.
          5. Tate: Right, the guidelines of what you can do have come from World Rugby through USA Rugby to us. When I say that USA Rugby  has punted, what I meant is that USA Rugby  has left it to us to say what stage we’re in. They haven’t punted on the guidelines.
          6. Dale: With how big the USA is, USA Rugby wouldn’t be able to make an overall decision. It makes sense to let the individual areas make that decision.
          7. Dodge: Are we ok to move on from here? Any objections? None.
    2. Spring Schedule
      1. Dodge: I think it’s completely safe to think that we’re going to have to keep moving our schedule back. I think it’s easiest to move February matches back and then we keep moving our Championships back. If we have to keep moving, we may want to look at a home or away schedule. This will adjust playoffs and such, but it’s the year of flexibility. Anyone have any other thoughts about reducing the size of the season?
      2. Tate: For MD1 we would look at killing the Glendale and HTX games.
      3. Dodge: Yes, that has always been an option.
      4. Hughes: If we have to keep pushing back, say we have a March start…what does that look like? 
      5. Dodgee: This would be part of the discussion when we took the next step, if we went home or away. We would establish some sort of drop dead date.
      6. Kurylas: On the men’s side we have lots of multiple clubs and are we confident they can field those? We don’t want to be fined for forfeits and such.
      7. Tate; We’re not going to fine people for this. 
      8. Kurylas: We need to keep all of that in mind when we reschedule, perhaps we drop multiple side matches in some cases?
      9. Tate: If we have sides drop out, that shortens the schedule and actually would help us in this case. If we don’t have Nationals, we have 100% control of the eligibility rules, we could open it up to guest players or free movement. Basically we would prioritize having games over limited rosters.
      10. Keuppens: If we’re talking about how we can play rugby this year, it’s going to be about participation and getting creative. We used to do this 7s where you show up and we figure it out on the day. 
      11. Tate: Yep, we just make it happen. 
      12. Keuppens: I do think we need to address the pathway component for our higher level teams. My concern continues to be attrition. If we don’t have a Championship pathway we’re going to lose players to other regions, sports or to the couch. I’d like to propose that we host something, period. We create a Championship, name it and host it.
      13. Young: I agree, we want to be the destination this year and for however long we need to be.
      14. Tate: Yes, I’m open to an invitational but we’ve really got to put some thought into how and when we message that. 
      15. Young: For sure. IF it happens, timing will be really important.
      16. Dodge: Over the holiday I’m going to take a look at what could be done for a possible home or away. We can also reach out to the clubs to seek their input.
      17. Roche: I would also like to draw attention to the new men’s divisional organization, most of our multi-sided clubs are playing against each other (in 1b, 1c, etc) and if clubs drop their lowest side, those divisions may have significantly less teams moving forward than planned. So we may need to re-jigger those structures as well.
      18. Dodge: Good point.
  3. Sportlomo
    1. Dodge: I am on the Senior Club Council working group along with Wendy and we’re trying to determine if we will continue to use CMS or change to Sportlomo. We have a call tomorrow morning to get answers for our questions. We also have a few registration questions that folks have run into while using Sportlomo.
    2. Tate: We also discussed Sportlomo on the SCC and USA Rugby is having weekly calls with Sportlomo to work on some of the registration problems. There is a big push to fix some of the bugs and issues that are plaguing registrations. The good news is that they are using JIRA to track and resolve these issues. 
    3. Dodge: Would it be appropriate to request access to that?
    4. Tate: Politically I think it would be totally appropriate. But I don’t know that USA Rugby would grant access.
    5. Dodge: Ok, we’ll ask tomorrow about possible access.
  4. TX Secretary of State status
    1. Tate: I spoke to them today and everything is in place and we’re awaiting an update.
  5. MD1 MOUs
    1. Dodge: I should have all the signatures for the Glendale MOU this week. HTX is imminent as well.
  6. New Business
    1. TRU Charitable Entity
      1. Tate: We’ve finally filed paperwork for the TRU becoming a Charitable Entity. The next two steps are creating bylaws and gaining approval from the clubs as well as completing the 501c3 IRS application. 
      2. Dodge: Is this a substitute or replacement of the existing TRU entity?
      3. Tate: That is a question that I think we need to have thee membership decide. The original discussion with the membership that was approved was setting up a separate entity. That approval was several years ago and done at a time when we didn’t know where professional rugby was going to go or if we wanted to have a charitable or regular entity. My personal opinion is that we’ve reached a place where we could have this as a replacement and become a 501c3 going forward. But that specific discussion of succession or replacement entity would need to be discussed as a Board and then by the members. What do you think?
      4. Dale: If we’re going to separate a for profit and nonprofit organization it makes things a bit more complicated.
      5. Dodge: My view is that it depends on what we’re trying to do. I don’t understand why the TRU wasn’t set up as a 501c3. 
      6. Tate: I don’t know, I suspect that it was set up but wasn’t ever completed. Everyone that I’ve talked to has expressed what you’ve expressed. It sounds like it was never completed.
      7. Young: There was a time where the referee 501c3 was used because the TRU and referee weren’t separate entities.
      8. Tate: My inclination is that we make it a succession but we need, pay them off and then the old entity would donate to the new one.
      9. Tate: Or we use all the funds of the existing and all new funds go to the new entity. We also don’t really  have creditors, we just have notes. 
      10. Dodge: Would we have separate boards for profit and charity?
      11. Tate: If we keep them separate we would have to have two boards. I’d be more inclined to have a single entity and have a donation account for the foundation. If someone wanted to have a fundraising drive for example, we would set up a specific account for that. All member dues would go into a separate account. 
      12. Dodge: Do you think we would be more successful on fundraising if we had a separate board?
      13. Tate: Yes.
      14. Dodge: The short answer is that I think I need more time to think about.
      15. Tate: Sure, that’s fair.
        1. Leming: Is there a need for any other type of limited liability review for these entities? Or are we good because of the CIPP registration?
        2. Tate: That’s really two separate questions. A corporate shield whether it’s for profit or nonprofit fulfills protection for personal liability. That’s really a separate question from insurance because the insurance may have a limiting factor because they’re getting their bills paid by the insurance. 
        3. Dodge: Yes and some would say that having interns would open you up to lawsuits.
        4. Tate: I don’t think that particular discussion complicates this, it’s more of a separate thing. 
        5. Dodge: Does the TRU still have a Directors & Officers (D&O) policy?
        6. Tate: We don’t anymore but we need to do that again through USA Rugby. The way that policy works has changed since the bankruptcy. I haven’t had a chance to figure out the new way yet. Then the question will become whether we want to do it with USA Rugby or secure our own policy?
        7. Dodge: Yes, we should price out both options.
        8. Tate: Yes, that’s on my task list for after the Holidays.
      16. Dodge: Ok, when do we need to make decisions on this?
      17. Tate: I don’t think there’s a hard and fast timeline but I would like to at least have a coherent discussion when we have our Winter AGM (usually mid- January). 
  7. Meeting Adjournment (8:30 PM)