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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 5/10/21

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. Keuppens
    3. Tolar
    4. Dodge
    5. Roche
    6. Kolberg
    7. Leming
    8. Kurylas
    9. Fosco
    10. Hughes
      1. Regrets
        1. Dale
        2. Watson
  2. Waiver Process
    1. # of Clubs approved: 23 TRU / 4 Non-TRU
    2. # of pending Clubs: 7 TRU / 2 Non-TRU 
    3. # of matches played: 28 & 3 Women’s Tournament
    4. # of matches approved that are still yet to be played: 16 & 2 Women’s Tournaments
    5. # of matches requested, but for which approval has not yet been granted: 0
      1. Young: Waiver requests have slowed down significantly, I think we’re pretty close to getting everyone. Some clubs are in progress but haven’t submitted match requests yet so I’m not pestering them.
  3. 7s
    1. TOLA+
      1. Keuppens: There will not be a traditional USA Rugby National Club Championship 7s this year. There will be some type of Invitational event like Rugbytown or CRC. The core teams that are historically qualifying for Nationals will get invites and then teams that want to attend can make a case for themselves based on Regional performance. The RRRC 7s committee has been looking at potential tournaments for a TOLA+ if you will. So far we’ve received requests for 10 tournaments and so far we’ve been able to work with hosts on keeping events on different weekends. We don’t expect teams to play in all of these tournaments but the general idea is to take the top four results for a team and that is their overall standing. This allows teams to miss tournaments if needed or if there is a quarantine/injury situation. 
        1. Keuppens: Note that 7s by the Sea wouldn’t be a true TOLA tournament as it’s on the beach on smaller pitches with no conversions. But still a fun time!
      2. Dodge: Cherrybone has asked to swap weekends with River City 7s (Austin). Austin is considering this request.
      3. Kolberg: What if we gave the TOLA winner an automatic berth from the RRRC to the USAR event?
      4. Keuppens: Yes, I think that is a great idea but if it’s dependent on the results of Horseshoe 7s (which is usually the TOLA Championship) that gives them a week to book flights. We also don’t have any control over the teams that are invited, it will be up to a to be named committee. 
      5. Young: We approved the 7s proposal that came through the USA Rugby Competitions Committee yesterday. Note that they are indicating there would be an entry fee to cover referee costs, administration, awards and such. I don’t know what the actual entry fee amount is at this point.
        1. Dodge: Kat, how does this schedule fit for you this summer?
        2. Roche: It’s a lot of tournaments. The weekend of July 31 is problematic with a tournament in OKC and in Corpus and it’s also the MLR finals weekend.
          1. Roche: One thing I really want to make clear this year to tournament hosts is that more fields isn’t always the solution. More fields means more referees because each field is a bare minimum of three referees. Three fields over a shorter day is still more referees than one field for a longer day. 
        3. Keuppens: We talk about this every year but is there any chance for development of referees this summer?
        4. Roche: Yes, Tim O’Gara is an educator now and so it’s easier to do camps. We do have lots of referees in the development pipeline but they are a very young crop (under 16). They will be ready in a few years! We of course have a very strong contingent of 7s referees that are ready today but it will be a long summer.
        5. Young: What about West TX 7s in Abilene on the 4th of July weekend?
        6. Roche: Yes, there is also a HS tournament in Little Rock that weekend and that is a high performance opportunity.
        7. Keuppens: Yes and we have a bit more control over schedules so we’ll work closely with the tournament hosts and TRRA to try and make each event work as smoothly as possible. 
      6. Keuppens: Ok, if everyone is OK with the concept we can write up a formal proposal and share it with the clubs. TOLA has always been about inclusion and growing rather than strict rules. We aren’t looking to make adjustments to those rules as we believe it will be a perfect fit for this year. I make a motion that TOLA+ final standings are the top four tournament results from a team. So if a team attends 4 out of 6 tournaments, we take their top overall performance. We won’t be punishing teams for quarantine or travel restrictions. Other than that all other TOLA rules and guidelines would remain the same. 
        1. Dodge: The aggregate points of your top four tournaments will be your standings at the end of the season?
        2. Keuppens: Yes and we could have a few tie breakers so we would need to make sure those are clear. We would want to avoid things like head to head as that’s not always available post tournament and teams drop/don’t finish sometimes.
        3. Young: Yes, the current TOLA Guidelines don’t include tie breakers. We may also want to look at “1 bonus point awarded for each TOLA tournament entered.”
        4. Keuppens: I think we’re OK with that one because we’re taking the top four results, so everyone would get four points? Right?
        5. Young: Ah, yes. 
      7. Young: I second the motion. 
        1. Dodge: Any objections to the schedule on the website and the COVID-related rules modifications that Fil has mentioned? None. APPROVED.
          1. Leming: Not an objection but do we have any knowledge on what other regions are doing?
          2. Keuppens: We’re the only region that has had a two tier system like we have had over the last few years. I think we may be one of the only areas that is actually playing rugby currently.
          3. Young: The Midwest has announced their 7s format. Haven’t heard about anyone else…
    2. COVID protocols
      1. Dodge: Out of all the host requests we’ve received, have all of the teams completed our COVID protocols? 
      2. Young: The only host that hasn’t completed it is OKC Tribe. They requested an event in July so things could change by then.
      3. Dodge: OK, we will require hosts to at the minimum collect rosters of all teams. This would assist in confirming registration and help with any contact tracing that may be needed.
    3. Monetary Awards
      1. Young: Tomsak on the TRU Board has thrown out an idea around monetary awards. This is just awareness for this committee as that would be a TRU discussion since it involves funds.
      2. Keuppens: Cool!
  4. Vaccinations
    1. Dodge: I know this may be a politically touchy subject but I’d like to see the TRU to encourage our members to get vaccinated. The faster we can get everyone vaccinated, the faster we can stop doing COVID protocols. It could be as simple as sharing links on the TRU social media about how/when you can get vaccinated. To be clear I’m not suggesting that we require but encourage.
    2. Young: We briefly talked about it on the last TRU call but didn’t activate on it yet.
    3. Kolberg: I agree, if we can get our members vaccinated, everything gets easier as far as COVID protocols. It also makes sure that we can have a competitive season for XVs.
    4. Dodge: Yes, I’d very much like to have a regular XVs season next year.
    5. Kolberg: Right, so maybe we message that to achieve that we need to get herd immunity as a Union.
    6. Dodge: Ok, we’ll talk more about this on the next TRU call.
      1. Kolberg: What if we hosted vaccination events?
      2. Young: That’s interesting actually. We’re about to have 10 TOLA tournaments coming up! 
        1. Young: Update 5/12 – Texas announced the launch of the State Mobile Vaccination initiative. We’re looking into using this for TOLA tournaments but Clubs can request a visit from a state mobile vaccine team to vaccinate their members at practices or other events. “To qualify for a visit, a business or civic organization must have 10 or more employees, visitors, or members who voluntarily choose to be vaccinated.”
      3. Dodge: Ok, keep the ideas coming, we’ll raise it on the TRU Board call next week.
  5. Women’s Tournament
    1. Dodge: The tournaments in the North have been doing really well. Denton this past weekend had 7 teams and 10 matches. Kurylas, did they still play 7s?
    2. Kurylas: Yes, they played 7s. But it was 7 teams and it was a great event.
    3. Young: Every tournament has had more teams, loving it!
    4. This weekend looks like it will be Austin, HARC and BARC. They all have at least 15 players and are going to try and play 10s if not XVs this weekend. 
    5. Dodge: Ok, good. That’s where I was going, we have the All Women’s Tournament in Austin on 5/22 and it was meant to be a XVs tournament. 
    6. Young: Yes, but I think we just adjust and play 10s or whatever we can do for 5/22. The goal was to play XVs but if they want to play, we’ll play. 
  6. New Business
    1. RTP Survey
      1. Dodge: I’m thinking after Bloodfest that we need to send out another RTP survey asking about divisions so we can begin planning for fall XVs. How do we think timing is for that?
      2. Young: We can send out a survey in June and then again in August?
      3. Leming: Typically we have a draft schedule in July and send it out in August. So if we survey again in August we would be behind the ball.
      4. Young: Ah yes, good call. 
      5. Leming: I think we should send it now and start planning based off of that. We do always get a few new clubs and they need to have their items all in by July as well.
        1. Young: We do have requests from 1 new women’s side and 1 men’s. They haven’t made much progress though.
      6. Young: What if we send it now?
      7. Kolberg: I think so, it gets teams thinking about XVs.
      8. Leming: I agree, 7s doesn’t really have an effect on most XVs sides.
      9. Dodge: Ok, let’s go ahead and send it out.
        1. Young: Great, I’ll make a draft and share it out.
  7. Meeting Adjournment (9:05 PM)