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TRU Board Notes – 1/18/21

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. Roche
    2. Kurylas
    3. Dodge
    4. Tate
    5. Hiller
    6. Wilson
      1. Regrets
        1. Young
        2. Tomsak
  2. TRU Dues
    1. Tate: What I would like for us to discuss is whether we want to reduce or waive TRU dues for this 2020-21 season. At this point we are postponing the start of the competitive season past the point that we cancelled it last year and we met our projected dues collection by the cancellation of the season last year. So we did not spend that money (which would have been spent on Playoffs/Referees/7s/etc). Since USAR created the training membership, we’ve only had about 107 members fully register and pay dues so far this year. I am proposing that we either significantly reduce or waive dues for this year, and we offer those 100 folks a refund or an option to apply dues to next year. One point on that would be to confirm whether or not we can give a discount code to carry over to next year.
    2. Roche: We can create that code to transfer over in Sportlomo.
    3. Tate: If we do this, we need to do this soon because as soon as we start opening the season we would have a lot more people to refund. It seems to me we have effectively lost a full year’s rugby activity, and we didn’t give anyone a refund last year.
      1. Roche: I think waiving the dues and giving a discount code is a good idea.
      2. Wilson: I agree.
    4. Dodge: What did it cost us for the first half of the season last year?
    5. Tate: I am currently looking it up hold on.
    6. Hiller: One thought is – will the TRU be paying for the referees during these friendly matches or will the clubs who apply to open up have to put money forward to cover referee fees?
    7. Tate: Last year, up to the cancellation of the season, we had paid out $47,000 in referee fees and had budgeted to pay out $75,000. In 2019 we paid out $72,700. It would be reasonable to assume we would have something less than $30,000 in referee fees for the remainder of this year, but it depends on how many friendlies we had or if our competitive season did continue. I think we could comfortably say that clubs that elected to play could be responsible for sorting out their own referee fees.
      1. Roche: I disagree because that would be a pain for me and the TRRA.
    8. Tate: If things open in a substantial way and we start playing rugby in the spring, we are looking to pay out $30,000 of the $80,000 in the bank. Which leaves us with plenty in the bank but historically a much smaller cushion than we usually carry. Another option is to reduce the dues and give people a partial refund, having 2020-21 dues be $20 instead of $50.
      1. Dodge: I am more in favor of that, because we do not know what the future holds.
      2. Tate: That was the theory behind not reducing dues last summer. When the onus of hosting National Championships fell on the unions, many unions had refunded their dues and had nothing in the bank to do this. A failure to keep anything in the bank may hamper our ability to do something like this down the road.
    9. Roche: So if a club wants to play under this possible waiver system, they have to register, pay TRU dues and have to cover their own referees after that?
    10. Tate: No if a team of 30 people pays their own dues, they have covered referees for their matches.
    11. Hiller: From an admin standpoint it makes more sense to apply a credit moving forward instead of refunding dues.
    12. Roche: Ah, so players who only have the training membership will still be covered by insurance during this “waiver-system/friendly matches”
    13. Tate: Yes they are covered. 
    14. Roche: So then if that club has also paid TRU dues, they will have their referees covered in these training/friendly matches?
    15. Tate: So that is what we are currently trying to figure out: if they do pay TRU dues, we can cover their referees, or we waive dues and pull from reserves or they don’t pay and we don’t cover referees.
    16. Roche: Got it thank you!
    17. Tate: So we would have to discuss what is an appropriate discounted due rate. We have to estimate how many matches clubs will have, how many members each club registers, the referee rate per match, etc. $25 would cover each side having about 8 games for the rest of the year.
    18. Dodge: I am good with that. TRU subsidizes referees for 7’s as well.
    19. Tate: We also cover our administrative work. So our expenses have not entirely disappeared but our biggest line item (referees) has been zero so far this year.
    20. Hiller: If we do these discounted dues, do we continue these discounts through 7’s and the rest of the year?
    21. Tate: I think so, we have different expenditures in the summer regarding referees. The tournament hosts have to negotiate their own fees with referees for all tournaments other than National Qualifiers. So that’s usually under $10,000 for the entire summer.
    22. Hiller: Cool, I just wanted to make sure we weren’t backing ourselves into a corner without running all the numbers.
    23. Tate: So $25 for TRU dues for the rest of the season? Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
      1. Tate: So Kat, we need to edit that fee in Sportlomo, identify the individuals that have already paid the $50 dues fee, and reach out to them getting the credit for next year.
      2. Roche: I can do all of that!
  3. USAR Courses
    1. 1/23 L1 Referee & L200 Coaching courses in Houston, TX
      1. Tate: USA Rugby has scheduled through their regional coordinators (south is Mary Swanstrom) a few courses coming up this weekend. These are run by USAR so I’m not sure of their protocols and precautions but they are open and available for registration, so if you’ve been waiting for your chance, this is it! People should probably assume temperature checks and symptom self-checking will be taking place.
  4. RTP
    1. RTP Stage
      1. Tate: As I’m sure everyone has seen, the RRRC has determined to delay the competitive season from a February start to a March 27th start. Regardless of where our individual cities and regions are currently, some still do not have the ability to rent out common spaces. It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to create a competitive pressure on clubs to ignore health protocols or pressure on clubs to have to find new locations if their city has closed the local fields. The question that has been raised by the RTP taskforce and online, is for trainings/friendlies/non-league play, should we still be union-wide Stage 4 or can we leave it to the determination of the local clubs based on their local conditions? We know in some jurisdictions they have been open a while, and the State of TX is okay with it though the cities vary (and week to week/month to month determining on availability of ICU beds). It’s probably not possible for us to track every individual municipality and its situation. Our choice is likely to either 1- Go with the most restrictive or 2- Put the responsibility on the clubs. I don’t think it’s feasible for us to track every area from Little Rock to McAllen to Midland.
        1. Dodge: I’m a little uncomfortable leaving people up to making their own calls, because it could become a bit of a free for all. What if we had them submit a proposal to the RTP taskforce outlining their current status in their local area and what they are planning to do?
        2. Tate: My biggest concern with throwing the gates open is travel, if a club within a closed down city decides they want to travel to a more open city and then proceeds to infect everyone.
        3. Dodge: My idea is having clubs outline what their plan is “This is where we are, this is who we plan to play when…” The example John White brought up on facebook is “If we are good in OK, can we play an OK team who is also okay”
        4. Tate: I am okay with this in theory, I think we need to put some more effort into what the approval/submission process looks like. I think it also gives us a lever to be able to enforce a safety plan to encourage best practices in this environment. I sent to the Board a few things in the past week. One was the Rugby Texas Stage 4+ law variations they have adopted for their season. Another was an email from Lonestar Men’s Colleges cancelling their XV season. Another reason I would like to take some time to look at that approval/submission process is because I had some conversations with Rugby Texas, and we are all in agreement that we would like to stay in the same stage to avoid confusion and differences between the way the two governing structures are allowing games. Rugby Texas is allowing games where the schools allow the games to happen, but the travel games have been suspended as of right now. They are leaning in a similar direction toward what we are discussing.
        5. Dodge: I had a similar conversation focusing on aligning with what they are doing.
        6. Tate: The biggest takeaway from this would be to have a proposed waiver/approval process, Kat can you take charge on this?
          1. Roche: Yep absolutely.
          2. Tate: What do you think is a reasonable time frame for you to bring something back to us?
          3. Roche: I can get it started ASAP.
          4. Tate: We will look for this within the week to make adjustments and edits then have an email vote over it. Until that time, NOTHING HAS CHANGED and RUGBY WITHIN THE TRU IS STILL OPERATING AS BEFORE.
        7. Hiller: I think this is a good idea, we are beginning to get to the point where people want to start doing what they want to do anyway, so it would be great to have a structure and order around it.
        8. Kurylas: So if this were to go into effect, it would really just create the ability for teams to have friendlies, not affect the competitive schedule?
        9. Tate: Correct. Our competitive schedule is still postponed to start March 27th, but this would just provide the ability, should teams be able to create an effective proposal to have some games between now and then.
        10. Dodge: Our drop dead decision for the competitive season is March 1st. One thought for the waiver/questionnaire is to look at the same metrics as the state looks at (trauma levels/ICU beds).
        11. Tate: That’s a legitimate concern, if there are no ICU beds and someone plays rugby and gets a spinal injury, they might not have COVID but they are still aren’t going to get the emergency help they need. So lets make sure we look at hospital beds, who the teams are, what protocols and tracking the team will have in place, etc.
    2. Club Survey (RRRC)
      1. Tate: Wendy sent this email out to the clubs, did everyone get that? I would suggest everyone take a look at those results and see what clubs in your divisions are saying and if that affects your vote surrounding the above conversation.
      2. Young (added after the call): I wanted to provide a quick summary of the responses from the clubs. We received responses from 22 clubs and that data is below. Please note that I simplified some of the responses to make prettier charts but the core data is valid:

  5. Winter AGM
    1. Tate: Normally we’d be having this right now. We haven’t set a date by design because I didn’t want to have an AGM without having answers for members about the season, dues, and other National-level items. We have a council call on Wednesday night and should be ready to go with some more information after then. Let’s wait until after this week and hopefully have a policy for RTP as well as updated dues information – then we can set a date and update the members with solid answers.
  6. MD1 MOUs
    1. Dodge: We signed off on both of them, we’ve been getting club signatures on them, we are awaiting signatures by HTX/Sabercats and one from Glendale.
  7. TXSOS
    1. Tate: Our check was deposited but it was not updated on the website as of yesterday. I will call again tomorrow to verify, but I am sure they are swamped as they have extended deadlines. The agency I filed paperwork with is the State Comptroller’s Office, the SOS is just who oversees that.
  8. New Business
    1. None
  9. Meeting Adjournment (9:09 PM)