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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 2/18/21

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. Call moved from 2/15 to 2/18 due to extreme weather and power outages.
  2. Roll Call
    1. Young
    2. Roche
    3. Dodge
    4. Kurylas
    5. Tate
    6. Wilson
    7. Hiller
    8. Tomsak
      1. Regrets
        1. None
  3. RTP
    1. Stage 4+
      1. Young: Mentioned below, the Board has approved the Union to an interim Stage 4+ which allows for full contact including intrasquad scrimmages, lineouts, mauls and scrums. All COVID protocols need to continue to be followed. To clarify, Stage 4 was limited contact with no scrums, lineouts or mauls.
      2. Tate: Yes, clubs may do full contact trainings providing they follow all of the COVID safety protocols including appointing a COVID officer, contact tracing, temperature checks at training, everyone is CIPP’d, etc. The above waiver process is then for clubs that want to go beyond that and begin playing other clubs in the Union.
    2. Less than 10 people (Texas requirement)
      1. Roche: Can we also get clarification on less than 10 people? This was originally under the Texas outdoor sport guidelines. Are we good to eliminate that from Stage 4?
        1. Tate: That’s a good question. I am inclined to say that is not mandated but still advised. That 10 person training group limit is a way to limit the size of an outbreak if a member who is at a training is COVID positive. It’s not a state requirement any longer like we thought it was but I still think that it is something we should recommend and encourage because it functions to limit an outbreak if it occurs.
        2. Roche: I’m on board with that and do agree it’s still advisable. I like having the option for clubs to have touch games and larger events.
        3. Dodge: I think it’s a good best practice. To be clear…the waiver protocol would allow clubs to play 15v15 matches.
        4. Tate: Yes, this note is in response to a thread on social media.
    3. Waiver
      1. Tate: Dodge sent a summary of the waiver proposal. This was reviewed with RRRC last week as well. If I understand, you’re basically driving this off the publicly available data available by Texas and using some of the metrics that have already been specific in Gov Abbott’s email. If I recall our previous discussion, we haven’t identified the analogous information for Louisiana, Arkansas or Oklahoma?
      2. Dodge: I’ve done more research on the other states and there doesn’t appear to be the same data driven information available. It seems to be a bit looser starting with Oklahoma being the most lenient with Arkansas the most conversative. Texas seems to be the only one with available data like this. The other states do have orders surrounding outdoor activities or sports that we can reference.
      3. Tate: I see that my suggestion about ICU capacity was incorporated. I do want to emphasize that I want this to be simple and to where we don’t have to be crunching numbers or a bunch of manual numbers. I’m inclined to withdraw that suggestion unless someone feels very strongly about it.
      4. Young: I don’t have a vote on this board, but raised this on the RRRC call. I actually asked for ICU capacity and overall hospitality capacity to be included as a metric. 
      5. Dodge: It’s not that complicated to crunch the numbers, but it would be more about having whoever is going to review these applications will have to do a bit more. 
      6. Tate: My other concern is are we setting a precedent for shutting down rugby if ICUs reach a certain point? I don’t want to stray too far from COVID related statistics. If all of our benchmarks are COVID benchmarks, we will more than likely reach a place where we get back to normal life.
      7. Young: It may have been a knee jerk thing for me because two weeks ago no one would have been allowed to play rugby because the ICU capacity was exceeded all over the state. It seems to be declining and there is more ICU capacity.
      8. Dodge: I originally looked at the GA-32 data because it was being updated daily and it was easy to reference.
      9. Tate: It does allow us to defend our standard because it’s an easily drawn line. I’d rather have decisions driven by objective criteria than one we made up (if possible). 
      10. Dodge: The only other metric on the Texas kept statistics is a percentage of overall capacity (COVID hospitalization %, how many people showed up at the hospital with COVID). That tends to be a bit higher than the GA-32 numbers (See Combined Hospital Data over Time by Trauma Service Area (TSA) (look at the “GA-32 COVID % Capacity” tab in the spreadsheet, and scroll all the way to the right for the latest data)) which follow the number of people with COVID who were actually admitted. The proposal is to use that number for Texas while all of the other states can play as long as they follow required RTP protocols that have already been published. 
      11. Roche: What are the deadlines for these waivers?
      12. Tate: Waiver applications would be due 10 days before the match, with Items 3 & 4 submitted at the time of the waiver application. Item 2 would need to be met 7 days before the match, and Item 1 would be re-verified by the host Club and TRU 7 days before, and the day before, the match.  
      13. Tate: Let’s talk about the proposed game day requirements a bit:
        1. GAME DAY REQUIREMENTS:  As for Clubs granted waivers (in all TRU states), the proposed Policy and waiver for every match would include:
          1. A rule that no one exposed to anyone with or who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the 10 days prior to the match be allowed to play.
          2. All players are required to sign the attached agreement (or something like it), which will be maintained by the Clubs and turned over on 3 hours’ notice after request by TRU.
          3. Set, published, and exchanged rosters (even if we don’t have a viable CMS platform) exchanged between the teams and sent to TRU.
          4. Use those rosters to record game-day temperature checks and verification of no disqualifying temperatures or symptoms.
          5. A commitment from the Clubs to do what they are already supposed to be doing: (1) temperature checks at training; (2) tracking training attendance for contact tracing purposes; (3) shutting down trainings / cancelling matches if they have notice of an exposure; and (4) periodically cleaning shared equipment; (5) everyone bring your own water bottle, etc.
          6. Each Club granted a waiver will appoint a COVID compliance officer responsible for making sure the rules are followed, and will be the point of contact for the TRU / TRRA with that Club.
          7. Ability of referee to cancel match / leave pitch if the referee believes there is an unsafe failure to follow protocols.
          8. Designated COVID Officers for each Club who are responsible for compliance with the policies, receiving any post-match reports of COVID exposure from match participants, and reporting those exposures to: (a) the players on his/her Club who participated in the match; (b)  the opposing team’s COVID Compliance Officer (who will inform those from his/her Club who participated in the match), (3) and the TRU (who will inform the Referee crew).
        2. Tate: Game day rosters have always been a requirement but we won’t be able to use CMS right now and Sportlomo isn’t ready for this feature either. So this isn’t a new requirement but would be done a bit differently. 
        3. Young: There is a template on the website that can be used. Or they can print off the public USAR roster, circle the players and add temperatures.
          1. Tate: That’s what we used to do before CMS, so not new!
        4. Tate: Ok, what about temperate checks? Are we confident that is currently being done?
        5. Dodge: It is a bit of an honor system but we wanted to reinforce it. We’re not asking for private information, but just proof that it was done.
        6. Tate: I’m good with that. I like how we’ve included that the referee can cancel/leave pitch if they believe it is unsafe.
        7. Roche: Yes, I like this.
        8. Dodge: This also makes it easy to deny a future waiver if a club has violated protocols.
        9. Kurylas: For cup matches we always require rosters, so this is a new requirement for social matches?
        10. Dodge: Yes, we are going to need to know that everyone is CIPP’d. Because we don’t have a usable CMS that is going to be a bit of manual process. But again, if they want to play, they have to have some skin in the game. 
          1. Dodge: This also brings up college players, if they are CIPP’d with a TRU club, they are good to go. Or they can be CIPP’d under USA Rugby, NCR is NOT under USA Rugby.
          2. Tate: Correct, they must be CIPP’d with a TRU club or a USA Rugby member college. We want to retain players period so this allows for those players to play if they want.
          3. Roche: This is a concern for referees as well, we are not covered to do NCR matches, only USA Rugby matches.
          4. Tate: Most of the NCR teams decided to do dual, so they are more than likely NCR and USA Rugby. 
        11. Dodge: A crucial point is that we’re requiring a designated COVID representative and the TRU must be aware of who that person is. We have to have a commitment from the clubs that if a COVID case happens, they must shut everything down for 10 days. They must be CIPP’d and have completed the World Rugby COVID certification.
        12. Tate: Yes, I think that is really important, they have to be registered with their club, CIPP’d and are responsible for everything COVID. We can pitch it as we look out for each other and we have to be responsible for each other’s interests. If someone gets sick, we let those around them know to get tested. Then we give everyone time to quarantine and be safe.
        13. Dodge: I molded this on the format that the Reds have been following, we’ve had a few exposures but it turns out they were outside of training. So we know it’s doable with all these guidelines in place.
          1. Dodge: Big picture, this works for the teams that are willing and able. It can also move us toward some kind of regional competition that feeds into a Hong Kong Keuppens concept/playoff. It’s all friendlies and open but we’re playing rugby. 
          2. Young: We’re basically going to call this Stage 4+ as a stepping stone to Stage 5. 
          3. Tate: Correct, this is a specific waiver process including the Stage 4 restrictions and if you can meet the waiver criteria as well demonstrate the responsibility of providing all the required information, you can possibly play rugby.
        14. Dodge: Are we going to allow clubs from different states to play?
          1. Tate: I don’t see how we can avoid it, if we don’t let Shreveport, Oklahoma or Little Rock to cross state lines and we’ve excluded those clubs from playing in our Union. 
          2. Dodge: I agree, I just wanted to have it in the discussion.
          3. Young: So would this allow a Texas club to travel to an outside state?
          4. Dodge: Yes, the Trauma Service Area is just a guideline, not a requirement.
          5. Young: Got it, thank you.
          6. Hiller: One step further, what about college kids that are visiting from out of state and want to play in a match?
          7. Dodge: I mean is that really different from someone who travels for work and picks up a match on the weekend?
          8. Tomsak: If they were CIPP’d, they should be fine, right?
          9. Tate: Yes. We know that people are traveling for work/life and this may come up. If they are CIPP’d with USA Rugby, they are good to go. It does fall on the clubs to accept those players and the risk associated with it.
          10. Dodge: Really it’s both clubs accepting the risk because a possible exposure would cause a shutdown for 10 days. So if someone is playing another club that has a traveling player, that should be disclosed.
        15. Dodge: Do we want to say anything about after match socials?
          1. Tate: I don’t want the Union to get into the business of policing after match activities. If the social happening right after the match, it’s going to be indistinguishable from a contact tracing standpoint. Either way clubs would be risking exposures and being shut down for 10 days if there is a positive COVID test. 
        16. Roche: Ok, what about clubs from outside the Union?
          1. Tate: I think we need to get through the next few weeks with this waiver process. We need to reduce any additional wild cards if possible. We will review that in next month’s meeting. 
          2. Dodge: Yes, I agree. There are going to be bumps in this waiver process, so keeping it simple with our Union teams is a must.
      14. Roche: I make a motion that we approve the amendment of our Stage 4 guidelines including adjusted COVID protocols and the waiver process for friendly matches as presented by Dodge’s proposal.
        1. Tate: Second?
          1. Hiller: Second.
          2. Dodge: Second.
          3. Tate: Any questions or further discussion? Any objections? None. APPROVED. Please note that we do have a quorum and it was a unanimous vote.
            1. Young: Ok, so when do we think we can get this up on the website and available for applications?
            2. Tate: That’s a good question, we still have some pieces to polish up.
            3. Dodge: I can dedicate some time this weekend to finish up all the policies. From our survey we did last month, almost no one is training with full lineouts (and they aren’t allowed to scrum). So we still need to allow for clubs time to get to full training.
            4. Tate: We’ll be publishing full guidelines in the next 7-10 days. We won’t be approving any waivers for matches before March 13. Details to come shortly.
              1. Tate: I also wanted to take a second and thank Dodge, Wendy and Kat for their work on this. It’s been a long journey but I think it’s going to be great for our members.
  4. TRU Dues
    1. Tate: Did we get Sportlomo updated to the discounted dues?
    2. Roche: Yes, Sportlomo is configured for this now.
    3. Tate: And the members who already paid are getting that back as a credit?
    4. Roche: I have that list and will be able to provide those individuals discount codes when they register NEXT YEAR, I will streamline that process in August and September when it comes time to re-register.
    5. Young: To confirm, that is a credit?
    6. Tate: Yes, a credit IF they paid full dues, not just the training dues. Can we get an announcement up on the website?
    7. Roche: Yes.
  5. AGM
    1. Tate: I’d like to hold the AGM once we have the Stage 4+ guidelines and the new waiver process available. So the earliest we could do the AGM would be March 7 or March 14. I’m not sure we need to worry about Spring Break this year?
    2. Young: I’d be more inclined with March 14 to allow for the first few waivers so we can review and have questions ready?
    3. Dodge: Or do we want to have the meeting before the matches occur?
    4. Tate: I could argue it either way I guess!
    5. Dodge: From the front end process, I think having it on March 7 makes more sense. That way we can answer questions before the first matches would theoretically take place. 
    6. Young: That makes sense. 
    7. Tate: Anyone have any objections? None. APPROVED.
  6. RRRC Special Meeting
    1. Dodge: I wanted to let this group know that we’re having a RRRC special meeting on March 1 to continue talking about a competitive season. From our last call, the tenor of the group does seem to be NOT having a competitive season but providing some kind of framework for matches.
  7. HOF
    1. Young: Paul Mabry and I had a chat last week and he would like to propose we hold the HOF in late October or early November. We would have loved to have it this summer but with the lag with vaccines, it’s just not smart.
    2. Tate: Yes, most of that group is over 55…
    3. Young: It’s also the 50th anniversary of the TRU so we want to try and make it a pretty big event. 
    4. Roche: When we were planning this initially we were looking at COTA. While the price was right, there was concern with the targeted demographic that they might want something a little less modern. 
    5. Tate: Sure, we can check with the group and see if it’s a desirable location.
    6. Young: Paul and I did talk about that and he mentioned that they like it being a hotel because they can use a conference room for HOF meetings and they always do breakfast the morning after.
    7. Tate: And we may run into events at COTA or ACL so we may need to think about that. Dates are all up in the air with the pandemic, but things to think about. 
  8. 50th Anniversary Shirts
    1. Young: We’re ordering Board polos but should we offer them up to the members as well? We’d have to do a minimum order to cover costs.
    2. Tate: Yes, let’s put that up on social media and see if there is interest.
    3. Dodge: We can also send it out with the AGM invite.
  9. TX SOS
    1. Tate: No update at this time.
  10. Elections
    1. Young: We probably have some elections coming up, I’ll double check and provide an update.
  11. New Business
    1. Sportlomo
      1. Tate: I’ve been added to a group that is working with USAR and Sportlomo. Our goal will be to continue working on the partnership and features for the members.
  12. Meeting Adjournment (9:40 PM)