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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 4/19/21

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. Young
      2. Roche
      3. Kurylas
      4. Hiller
      5. Tate
      6. Dodge
      7. Tomsak
      8. Wilson
        1. Regrets
          1. None
    2. RTP 
      1. Waiver Applications
        1. # of Clubs approved: 19 men & 8 women TRU / 3 men Non-TRU
        2. # of pending Clubs: 4 men & 5 women TRU / 2 men Non-TRU 
        3. # of matches played: 22 & 1 Women’s Tournament
        4. # of matches approved that are still yet to be played: 22 & 5 Women’s Tournaments
        5. # of matches requested, but for which approval has not yet been granted: 3 men
          1. Tate: We’ve got 30 clubs approved, a few are in progress and over 20 matches have been played. We have a similar number still to come but it’s good that we’re moving forward.
      2. 14 day change fee
        1. Tate: We did get some feedback on this from one club. Their sentiment was that clubs are doing their best but even the 14 day deadline could be burdensome. They asked that we reconsider this. We could consider during COVID times adjusting it to be the fee is only applied for changes/adds under 7 days?
        2. Roche: I would like to counter that if you add a match under 14 days the fee is applied but changes like KO times, locations (as long as it’s not city to city) I would be OK with under 7 days. This is during COVID.
        3. Young: I’m inclined to be empathetic but we’ve had 22 matches that haven’t had issues with the 14 days..but as Roche says, changes aren’t really the issue, it’s the late adds that cause the behind the scenes rush.
        4. Tate: Ok and we don’t want to assess a fee for a change that is enforced because of a positive COVID case or anything like that. 
          1. Young: Totally. We wouldn’t charge for that.
          2. Dodge: That was going to be my question.
          3. Tate: It’s like we don’t charge a fee for acts of God, like if a hurricane comes through town.
        5. Roche: An example would be we just received a match add form for 5/1, we wouldn’t assess a fee from them even though one of the teams hasn’t started their paperwork yet. We’re aware of the match with enough time so we won’t assess the fee.
        6. Tate: Right, I think that makes sense.
        7. Wilson: I was asked about this earlier today if it was 7 or 14 days. I indicated it was 14, so glad we’re having this conversation. Shreveport women are putting together a side and so we’re hoping to go down there to play them. 
        8. Tate: So what I’m hearing is that the Board would be agreeable to waiving the fee for changes but adding NEW matches 14 days out would still incur the fee.
          1. Roche: I’m in favor.
          2. Kurylas: I’m good.
          3. Tate: Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
            1. Young: Ok, I’ll update the website and indicate this is for COVID times.
      3. Women’s Events
        1. Past
          1. 4/10 – Dallas RFC
          2. 4/17 – Austin (postponed)
        2. Coming Up
          1. 4/24 – Grand Prairie hosting and Denton, DARC, GP, Valks and Dallas signed up.
          2. 5/1 – Bids from Valks, HARC
          3. 5/8 – Bids from Denton, Dallas
          4. 5/15 – Bids from Valks, McAllen
          5. 5/22 XVs All Teams Tournament – Bids from Valks, HARC
            1. Young: The ad hoc selection committee is already looking at making selections for May! 
            2. Dodge: Wendy, can you confirm that they are making selections for the rest of May?
            3. Young: Yes, the ad hoc committee is looking at making choices for the rest of the tournaments. I will send another notice to the teams about the 5/22 All Teams Tournament since there are only 2 bids there.
            4. Tate: Yes, let’s try to get some more bids for the 5/22 event.
      4. Stage 5 RTP
        1. Vaccine or other threshold (previously discussed on RRRC call)
          1. Tate: Looking at #s, not just around the country but in our four states, cases are up in 3 of the 4 states and in all of our metropolitan areas. I’m by no means advocating for tightening things down but I’m in no hurry to abandon protocols at this stage. Clubs are moving through the approval process and games are happening. My inclination right now is to carry on as we are and keep our eye on the conditions. As far as determining a threshold, vaccinations are in the low 20% for two doses in all four states and mid 30% for one dose. The demographics of that are skewing to the older folks and most of our rugby playing population was just eligible for vaccinations just recently.
          2. Young: We talked about this a bit on the RRRC call and wanted to discuss it with this group. Dodge was going to look at a few things, did you have time to do that?
          3. Dodge: I haven’t. We talked about herd immunity a bit but we’re nowhere close to that. We could also look at natural immunity plus vaccination but not sure if those numbers are out there.
          4. Tate: Yes, it’s unconfirmed but it’s believed that 30% have natural immunity but even combining that with current vaccinations doesn’t get us close to herd immunity.
          5. Dodge: We had an exposure last week and followed all of the protocols as recommended. But it did raise a question around adding an exemption to the 10-day quarantine time period of people that can demonstrate immunity in the past?
          6. Tate: That’s an interesting question, would we treat someone that has had COVID like someone who has been vaccinated? I’m inclined to say yes, but what constitutes proving that you’ve had COVID?
          7. Dodge: I would say it’s a documented positive test. Not that you felt odd or had a random fever.
          8. Tomsak: You could also do an antibody test. 
          9. Tate: Yes, I would take that as a positive COVID test after the fact.
          10. Dodge: Do we want to put any sort of timeline on it? Like 6 months?
          11. Young: From what I’ve read the antibodies can fade? Risk of reinfection is low, we know that.
          12. Dodge: From what I’ve read it depends on the severity of the COVID you had but I believe it’s 6-7 months that antibodies would show up.
          13. Tate: I’m inclined to say the documentation would have to indicate a positive case in the last 6 months. If that’s a problem for someone who had COVID last spring, they could go get an antibody test. 
            1. Young: You can also give blood through the Red Cross and they test all blood for COVID antibodies.
          14. Tate: Ok, the amendment to the policy would be a person who can demonstrate that they’ve had a positive COVID or positive antibody test and if so, they would be treated like they’ve been vaccinated.
            1. Young: Are we concerned at all that that statement indicates we aren’t encouraging vaccination? 
            2. Tate: I understand the thought behind that question but I don’t think that this would tip someone off to not being vaccinated. They would more than likely already be thinking they wouldn’t get vaccinated. To be clear, we are very in favor of ALL members getting vaccinated as it will only speed up our return to playing rugby faster.
          15. Tate: Any other discussion? None. APPROVED.
            1. Dodge: I’ll put something together on this and send it to Wendy and Kat.
            2. Young: Great, thanks!
    3. 7s
      1. Referee Budget
        1. Tate: RRRC discussed this last week and we received some feedback on social media. The feedback was about the discussion around changing the fee structure for tournaments. Did anyone from the RRRC have any comments on that feedback?
        2. Roche: I had a call from this individual and they indicated that they were opening registration but wouldn’t be making any changes to their structure at this time. 
        3. Tate: What about this…we’re sitting her in the middle of April and we only have three 7s tournament requests. Wouldn’t we have more than that in a normal year?
        4. Dodge: There have been more informal requests but not using the tournament request form. I think part of that is we were also waiting for notice from the USAR Competitions Committee on if there would be USAR 7s Championships. It doesn’t sound like we’re going to have that this year.
          1. Dodge: Do we think that doing something that would lessen the costs of clubs attending 7s tournaments will materially increase the number of people that would participate in 7s tournaments? Or do we feel like we’re far enough along now with the waiver program that there is sufficient demand?
          2. Tate: I’m kind of thinking there will be sufficient demand and if things stay on a positive trajectory we could have even more demand. We’re going to talk about it later in the agenda, but USAR has just rolled out a temporary membership option. I’m not sure that a modest discount on an entry fee is going to affect attendance at this point.
          3. Dodge: Right, we’ve already reduced our registration fees. There are several college men’s players that are registering with men’s clubs as well. That in the past has been a burden because they’ve had to pay college and TRU dues. I think there’s two ways we can do it. 
            1. We can have a rebate program for teams that are signed up as TRU clubs, if not a TRU club, no rebate
            2. Or the host club discounts it up front, 15 teams show up, 12 were TRU and 3 weren’t
          4. Tate: Rather than having the host clubs discount it up front, I’m leaning towards your first proposal.
          5. Roche: The only issue I have with that is that sometimes a team is just 10 women and they all chip in 20 bucks. So the team hasn’t put in a club but we’re playing under their banner?
          6. Dodge: Right, the first option is administratively cumbersome for sure. 
          7. Young: I don’t know that that is super common anymore but I think it happens. Looking at our current registration numbers, they have really picked up this month. Where before we were seeing 4-5 registrations a month, now it’s 8-10. 
          8. Tate: Ok, so if we feel like participation is where we want it to be and it’s growing…let’s leave it as is for 7s. 
          9. Dodge: I’ve been texting with Fil about this summer, he’ll have a proposal for an expanded TOLA series out soon.
          10. Tate: Great.
      2. Requested Tournaments
        1. 6/19 – Bloodfest 7s, Austin, TX
        2. 7/3 – West TX Freedom Festival 7s, Abilene, TX
        3. 7/31 – 7s by the Sea, Corpus Christi, TX
        4. 8/14 – Horseshoe 7s, Shreveport, LA
    4. New Clubs
      1. Round Rock Rage (Round Rock)
      2. Countdown City Elites (San Antonio)
      3. Celina Rugby Club (rebranding North TX Barbarians)
        1. Tate: So we have two clubs that are working on putting their applications together. I haven’t chatted with Kris from Round Rock but I have had a fair bit of conversation with Jeff from San Antonio. He did have a question around adding the TRU logo to their jerseys. I didn’t think we’d have a problem with that once they were an approved club. Anyone object to that?
          1. Young: We have a brand page that has all the files, if they are approved, go for it!
        2. Young: I’ve had long conversations with Kris about Round Rock. He did have questions around if the viability fee is applicable for 7s? 
        3. Dodge: I would think that entry tournament fees would be the substitute for that.
        4. Young: Good, that’s what I said! I indicated 2-3 tournament participation would work. I did make some changes to the Application page and broke it out for XVs and 7s, I’ll make that more clean now. I’ve also had discussions with Mark of Celina Rugby Club. The previously approved North TX Barbarians are dissolving and being rebranded as the Celina Rugby Club. Mark will be sending in all the normal paperwork and they will be looking to participate in 7s this summer.
    5. Temporary Membership
      1. Tate: We received notice of this a few hours ago and have little to no information other than what is in the press release. It sounds like this covers old boys/girls matches, scrimmages, events like that. We’re not sure how this logistically works yet but we’ll try to get those details.
      2. Tomsak: I think this takes away from our referee development as these members won’t be paying TRU dues. I’d like to propose tacking a $5 on top of this.
      3. Roche: As far as I know, the clubs that hold old boy events already pay referees directly. So we’re not really fixing that…
      4. Dodge: This could inspire some people to never register with the TRU because they are only going to pay a few matches.
      5. Tate: Yes, that’s where this could be an issue.
      6. Roche: The question is do they pay club dues?
      7. Dodge: We require them but it doesn’t always happen. Every year we have players register with USAR and pay club dues but then don’t participate the entire season. 
      8. Tate: This could also work the other way because it could encourage players to try rugby but then they upgrade and become a member of a club.
      9. Young: That’s what I was hoping it would do. This has been asked of USAR for a long time. It’s another tool in the tool box for clubs to use.
      10. Roche: Yes, it’s like the training membership where it let players try the sport out.
      11. Tate: I say we keep an eye on it and see what the impact is before we make any changes for 2021-2022.
      12. Dodge: I do think we need to say that this level of membership isn’t applicable for league play.
      13. Tate: Yes, if you’re going to be playing competitive rugby, they need the full membership.
      14. Young: So for 7s this summer, they can use this membership? 
        1. Tate: Yes, but they would have to register for each tournament because it expires after 72 hours. It would probably be wise to do it once and then go ahead and register with a club.
      15. Roche: Do we know if this is applicable for referees? Probably not because of the background check requirement.
      16. Tate: I don’t know but I think you’re right because of the required background check.
    6. Elections
      1. President – Sep 2023 (3 year term)
      2. Vice President – Sep 2022 (3 year term)
      3. DI M Rep – Sep 2022 (3 year term)
      4. W Rep – Sep 2022 (3 year term)
      5. DII M Rep – Sep 2021 (3 year term)
      6. DIII M Rep – Sep 2021 (3 year term)
        1. Tate: We have two reps up for election this summer, that would be Zachary Hiller and John Kurylas. I don’t know if either of you are looking at running again but I would be happy with both of you doing so. We typically put up an announcement in June and then share nominated folks in late July. Typically in August we have the AGM where nominees can speak and members can ask questions. Then electronic voting occurs directly after the AGM closes. We want representatives seated by September when our fiscal year starts. Wendy will keep this on our agenda so we don’t forget about it.
    7. HOF
      1. Young: HOF Nominations are open until May 6! We’ve also announced that we’ll be having a ceremony in a TBD location towards the end of year. 
      2. Tate: Please remind your constituents that nominations are open. We’re hoping to have a big shebang this fall to celebrate the already announced 2020 and to be nominated 2021 classes as well as our 50th Anniversary.
    8. Summit
      1. Young: We’ll also be hoping to have our annual Summit Conference towards the end of year. More details to come if signs all keep moving in a positive direction.
    9. 50th Anniversary
      1. Tate: We’re celebrating 50 years in 2021! 
      2. Young: We asked the teams how we should celebrate 50 years and one of the suggestions was that we could hold a 50 teams tournament. I think this sounds really fun, a ton of work but could be great. It could be youth teams, old boys/girls really anything could be done here. 
      3. Tate: That is very interesting, do we want to put together an ad hoc committee to look at this?
      4. Young: Yes! 
      5. Roche: Yes. 
      6. Kurylas: I’m game.
      7. Hiller: Yes.
      8. Wilson: Yes.
      9. Tomsak: I’ll be the swing vote.
        1. Young: Ok, I’ll get us going!
    10. Women’s All Stars
      1. Tate: We hopefully can make a return to women’s All Stars this winter. We’ve done an annual event every Winter that has been really well received and quite popular.
      2. Young: Yes, I’ve had interest from Capital and Mid-America already and I’ve let them know we’re planning for December. So really I’m looking at a fall calendar including:
        1. Sep/Oct – 50th Anniversary 50 Teams Tournament
        2. Nov – Summit/HOF
        3. Dec – Women’s All Stars
    11. TX SOS
      1. Tate: We’re still waiting on the state. 
    12. New Business
      1. New Insurance Program
        1. Dodge: I’m exploring an elective insurance program that would cover the gap between liability and players that don’t have health insurance. 
        2. Tate: Kind of like rugby Aflac?
        3. Dodge: Yes. I’m trying to get a discounted rate if we get enough people.
    13. Meeting Adjournment (9:35 PM)