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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 4/12/21

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. Kolberg
    3. Roche
    4. Dale
    5. Kurylas
    6. Dodge
    7. Hughes
    8. Watson
      1. Regrets
        1. Leming
        2. Keuppens
        3. Tolar
        4. Fosco
  2. Waiver Process
    1. # of Clubs approved: 20 TRU / 2 Non-TRU
    2. # of pending Clubs: 8 TRU / 4 Non-TRU 
    3. # of matches played: 16 & 1 Women’s Tournament
    4. # of matches approved that are still yet to be played: 24 & 6 Women’s Tournaments
    5. # of matches requested, but for which approval has not yet been granted: 5
      1. Young: Several teams have been approved but haven’t submitted match forms yet but have told me they should be coming in soon.
      2. Dodge: I’m very encouraged by the waiver process and how many teams have made it through the process. Note we are counting by clubs above, not counting individual men and women’s teams. Bottom line it looks like most of the clubs are or will be taking advantage of the shortened season and the waiver process. Hopefully this will help us springboard into summer 7s and through to the fall.
    6. Women’s tournament program
      1. Apr 10 North – Hosted by DRFC; Attending teams: Denton, DRFC, Dames, Valks
      2. Apr 17 South/Central – Hosted by Austin; Attending teams: Austin, Quins (working on #s)
      3. Apr 24 North – Bids from DRFC, Grand Prairie, Denton
      4. 5/1 South/Central – Bids: Austin,
      5. 5/8 North – Bids: Denton, DRFC
      6. 5/15 South/Central – Bids: McAllan, Austin
      7. 5/22 All Team Tournament – Bids: Austin, 
        1. Dodge: We started a 7 week tournament schedule for the women’s where it’s show up and play tournaments. The teams agree on a format on the day and then follow it for the entire day. We hosted the first event and it was really great. The season for the women will end in a 15s tournament on 5/22 in a TBD location. 
        2. Roche: I refereed HS 7’s, the women’s tournament at Lake Highlands, and a D1 men’s match this weekend and I had the most fun at the women’s tournament this weekend. The teams were positive and were slugging it out. It was a great experience for everyone involved.
        3. Kurylas: Is it normal 7s or modified like we did with the WD3 last year?
        4. Roche: It was modified with a smaller pitch. It really makes sure there is continuity because the speedsters can’t just run the length of the pitch.
        5. Kurylas: Yes, it really encourages more ball skills.
        6. Roche: It was uncontested scrums, no lineouts and no conversions. It really promotes ball in hand and movement. As time goes on, I can imagine that we can start building in more set pieces.
        7. Dodge: We may need to start spreading the word that we want the 5/22 tournament to be full on 15s with scrums, lineouts and such.
        8. Young: We can do that! 
    7. Participation of collegiate players on club sides
      1. Dodge: Several of the collegiate sides aren’t playing at all this season. What they’ve been doing is registering with whatever club they want to play with. That is fine with us and there is no penalty in regards to eligibility due to COVID. If you know of any colleges that are interested in playing, send them to one of our existing clubs. 
        1. Roche: I do have a question, have we put any restrictions on players that are under 18?
        2. Dodge: There is an existing provision in the eligibility for this and a waiver is required. 
        3. Roche: Do we know if that is being checked?
        4. Dodge: I don’t know, we’ve requested it in the past for DRFC but not during COVID. 
        5. Young: I don’t know if Sportlomo has a flag for this? I assume it would because they have to put their DOB and have a guardian complete the documents.
        6. Dodge: We have a player who is 18 so I can ask them.
  3. 7s 
    1. Nationals
      1. Dodge: Fil may be traveling today, but my understanding is that we are being told there will be no nationals, which will mean an extended TOLA competition.
      2. Young: News to me, I haven’t heard anything formal through the USAR Competitions Committee. 
      3. Dodge: Ok, it may be unofficial but that’s a rumor I’ve heard. So in talking with Fil we’ve provisionally talked about doing a beefed up TOLA. Since we’ve been doing the Hong Kong format, we can essentially keep that format and keep using it.
        1. Dodge: I also think we have an opportunity to court clubs from outside the TRU. 
        2. Roche: I agree, I don’t know that we need to advertise, I think teams will want to play in our tournaments. 
    2. TRU covering refs for 7s, and how to structure a discount on entry fees for TRU clubs
      1. Dodge: On our last TRU call we discussed the TRU covering the costs of referees for all 7s tournaments this summer. Historically the TRU has subsidized referees for the tournament qualifiers only. The host was responsible for compensating the referees for the other brackets. My reservation about that is that the way that is going to get funded through registration fees. In the past, clubs would have an entrance fee and pay for referee fees out of that. If the TRU subsidizes that cost, the clubs are pretty much double dipping and it’s coming out of players pockets.
        1. Watson: What is the fee for a referee for 7s?
        2. Roche: It’s $200 a day per referee. We try to keep the maximum number of matches at 6 per referee. Especially in the Texas summer, we just get as fatigued running around in 100 degree heat.
        3. Dodge: So you can see the problem I’m trying to highlight, if the TRU subsidizes this, how do we track this? Also in the past we’ve had non-TRU clubs participate and we’ve charged them an extra fee.
        4. Kolberg: Can we offer a discount if a team’s roster has TRU players only? Isn’t it that simple?
        5. Dodge: For single clubs it can be, but think about multiple clubs. Bloodfest is a good example, they have several brackets with different costs already and then we add in our discounts? That is a nightmare?
          1. Dodge: Maybe we give a discount if a club is playing under a TRU banner?
          2. Roche: I like that, it helps with accountability as well. If teams play under a TRU Club banner, then that club is held responsible for those actions – so you don’t really get a benefit from letting whoever jump in without a little background digging.
          3. Dodge: Ok, this has to go through the TRU. But our proposal will be that if you’re playing under a TRU approved club, the 7s host will have to give a discount of X%. If not playing under a TRU approved club then the 7s host can charge their normal registration fee.
          4. Roche: The TRU would then hypothetically provide all the referee costs…even for Bloodfest? 
          5. Dodge: Good point, if there are non-TRU clubs signing up then that extra fee goes to the TRU and not the club to help offset referee costs.
          6. Roche: That’s kind of what I was wondering. Would that non-TRU fee come back to the TRU or could it go back into our clubs? It builds the entire Union and promotes teams wanting to host tournaments and benefit from them.
          7. Dodge: I think the overarching goal is to have more people playing more rugby, particularly coming out of the pandemic. I think we do want to spend some money to facilitate that. I do think we also want to find some sort of formula for going forward as it’s a pain in the butt for all of the arrangements we have to do. 
          8. Roche: I can crunch some numbers on my side as well.
          9. Young: I think we can also give Kirk a heads up and he can crunch the registration #s as well.
          10. Dodge: Maybe another way to look at this is to ask 7s hosts to lower their entrance fees by % and then the referee bill is subsidized by that same % by the TRU. We want to make sure this is a benefit to the attending teams because we want them to return to play.
          11. Kolberg: Would this be a 1 year deal? 
          12. Dodge: It is intended to be a 1 year deal right now. If we could make it work going forward like this, that may be ideal.
    3. Adaptation of the COVID protocols for 7s tournaments
      1. Dodge: The above discussion starts me thinking about if we need to adapt our existing COVID protocols for 7s? 
      2. Young: I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, I think we need to determine what our threshold for Stage 5 is and work backwards from there. Is it the number of vaccinations per county or for Texas? Where do we start?
      3. Dodge: Do we know if the State is tracking vaccinations?
      4. Young: The State might be but the most reliable sources I’ve seen is the Texas Tribune and NY Times. NY Times does all states as well. Oh, I found a map of vaccinations per county for Texas on Texas Health and Human Services.
      5. Dodge: We can also look at USA Rugby’s latest update for RTP.
      6. Dale: Like we’ve said before, we can’t rely on USAR on this. We need to keep looking at the available data and making a determination.
      7. Dodge: I agree, we’re currently using hospitalization rates and I’d like to use something similar to look at Stage 5.
      8. Dale: I think we could look at vaccination vs hospitalizations and use that as a starting point.
      9. Watson; Are we saying that vaccinations would be a prerequisite for play?
      10. Dodge: No.
      11. Dale: No, I don’t think we can do that.
      12. Watson: If we’re basing our determination on vaccinations then we have to enforce it?
      13. Dale: No, the vaccination rate is a community thing, we don’t have to force anyone to get vaccinated but if certain areas have high vaccination rates it would point to lower cases and hospitalizations. It’s an indication that the virus is being held at bay.
      14. Kolberg: The problem with that is that if we tie it to the total infection rate but if we look at the demographic population it is rising exponentially compared to everyone else’s.
      15. Young: Are you referencing the 20-30 age group?
      16. Kolberg: Yes, that age group is skyrocketing with cases right now.
      17. Dodge: My objection about asking people individually about vaccinations is NOT based on the idea that we shouldn’t be asking people to get vaccinated. Mine it’s more of an administrative thing. 
      18. Dale: We can always put out a statement that the TRU encourages you to get vaccinated to protect the rugby community and their family.
      19. Kolberg: I agree, I think we make it clear that we’re playing because the infection rate is going down, do your part and get vaccinated. If it rises again we have to pull it back.
      20. Roche: I think the way that Kolberg just recommended getting vaccinated is going to be the best message. That’s the way to get a positive message out there.
      21. Dodge: Ok, let’s get back to tournaments. I do think we need a point of contact for each attending team but I don’t know that they need to do the WR certifications. The tournament host does have to do those hoops. 
      22. Dale: Each of the teams has to have a COVID officer already. All they have to do is sign up with their paperwork and the host team can take that. 
      23. Dodge: I’m thinking more of the out of TRU teams. 
      24. Young: That’s my concern.
      25. Dodge: It’s quite a bit of legwork for a non-TRU team. While they should have a COVID officer, have a book but do we think they need to do the WR certification process? OK, I’ll look at our protocols and make a recommendation in the next few weeks.
  4. New Business
    1. None.
  5. Meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM