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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 8/16/21

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. Tomsak
      3. Martin
      4. Kurylas
      5. Wilson
      6. Dodge
      7. Tate
      8. Hiller
      9. Roche
        1. Regrets
          1. None
    2. USA Rugby National Club 7s
      1. ARPTC – 3rd
      2. Austin Huns – 5th
      3. Rugby HTX – 15th
      4. Dallas RFC – 17th
      5. Grand Prairie – 19th
      6. Dallas RFC 2 – 27th
        1. Tate: Our teams attended the USA Rugby National Club 7s this weekend in Seattle, WA. Great job by all!
        2. Roche: We also had 5 referees attend and many of them did QFs or SFs. Great work to those match officials.
      7. Playoff Awards (Grant)
        1. Tate: I know that we did grants to Dallas and Huns for the Cup bracket, ARPTC did not apply but should get a grant. Usually their grant is a minimum amount since they are a 7s only club. One thing we didn’t talk about was if we would give grants for teams that participated in the Silver cup, there has never been a second bracket at 7s Nationals in the past. I’d like to raise the question if we wanted to extend grants to Rugby HTX, Grand Prairie and Dallas RFC 2. This is an award that the TRU provides.
        2. Tomsak: I think we should. They should be treated like everyone else.
        3. Roche: I agree. They had to choose to go there and this shows their commitment.
          1. Dodge: Is that a per side thing?
          2. Tate: My thought is that we apply the same formula in the past. For example, Dallas got half their dues in the first round and the second side would get the other half. My other concern is what the future of the playoffs is going to look like. Moving forward if we have more divisions or more invitational formats like this, I don’t know that our budget can sustain it without a corresponding increase. I think with it being a weird year and with COVID that we can do it. I would caution us looking forward if we wanted to continue something like this. So this is potentially a one time deal.
          3. Dodge: Yes, I think that is prudent.
        4. Tate: Ok, if there are no objections we will do a one year grant for Dallas 2, Rugby HTX and Grand Prairie.
          1. Roche: I will pull those numbers and send them over.
          2. Young: Do teams have to apply for these grants?
          3. Tate: No, but Reds and Huns are used to getting them so they reached out. I just wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anyone.
          4. Young: Ok, wanted to confirm as we haven’t asked teams to “apply” in the past. This has always kind of been an automatic thing to support the clubs.
          5. Tate: Absolutely, this is an award to help clubs that want to play higher level competitive rugby and rewards clubs that are registering lots of players.
    3. COVID
      1. Tate: I’ve given some thought to where we’re at. I’m sure everyone can’t escape the news either. Since the 7s season has wrapped up and since we won’t really have any league play until October…is that correct?
      2. Dodge: Yes, that is the plan. There may be some women’s matches that may be earlier?
      3. Roche: Correct, some of the WD1 may play early in October.
      4. Tate: Ok, so I was going to propose that we have a six week pause from now until October 1st. So we would tell everyone to go touch only with masks and social distance. These six weeks would be to help our community to be in a place where we hopefully don’t have to miss rugby in the fall. This doesn’t cost us anything and will keep COVID precautions front of mind. We can continue to push vaccinations in the meantime.
      5. Roche: I am concerned how that will affect the women’s D1 teams who are playing Colorado teams. The Colorado teams may be starting earlier and I don’t want our women to be behind the ball.
      6. Tate: When would the first matches be?
      7. Young: October 16 & 23 are the first matches, Colorado teams are visiting Austin and Houston. 
      8. Tate: Ok, so a pause until October 1 would still allow a 2 week buildup for them. Or we could go to a 30 day pause which would allow for a month.
      9. Roche: If we’re talking about everyone in the country then I totally agree but we may be the only region that is considering a pause.
      10. Tate: Right, but the exact same thing happens to these teams when they come off the snow season and have to ramp up quickly.
      11. Roche: I’m concerned that this pause would really affect the WD1 teams. 
      12. Tate: I understand that but this is about the safety of all of our members. We’re not trying to do something that only affects the WD1. We could still do a 30 day pause and that would allow a 1 month ramp up. We would of course evaluate as we got closer to the end of the 30 day period.
      13. Dodge: Do we know where we’re at right now with the hospitalization? 
      14. Young: The Texas Tribune has the best charts for the majority of our cities. Looking at our large metro areas, Austin only has 9 ICU beds, San Antonio has 44 and Dallas has 79 left. Louisiana is also reporting reduced capacity in ICUs as well as Oklahoma. In some cities we’ve exceeded our previous COVID guidelines around hospital capacity and other cities are very close or are OK.
      15. Dodge: I think it’s important to point to the data in any announcement we make. If we’re triggering the previous COVID guidelines we put forth then we need to roll back. What if a team can show that they are fully vaccinated? Would we allow a waiver of some sort?
      16. Tate: That’s an interesting idea. I would be willing to look at exemptions for vaccination.
      17. Young: Because we will get asked, what about COVID antibodies, does that pass for a vaccination?
      18. Dodge: That is the point of the vaccine to make COVID antibodies, so I’m not opposed to that.
      19. Tate: I’m not opposed to that but they’d have to do a test. They’d have to meet the threshold
      20. Young: Do we know what that threshold is?
      21. Tate: I would be comfortable that if someone can show a positive COVID antibodies in a recent test it could pass. We need to do a bit of research on what level it should be. There is probably CDC or government documentation.
        1. Dodge: I will volunteer to look that up.
      22. Tate: OK, looking at everything we’ve discussed, I would propose that we impose a 4 week moratorium on contact rugby unless a club can show vaccination or a test result of positive COVID antibodies (based on the threshold that Dodge is able to determine). On principle, do we have any objections to this? None. So unless Dodge finds anything unworkable in his research then this is APPROVED. We will re-evaluate at our September 13 meeting.
    4. XVs Schedule from RRRC
      1. Tate: Dodge, you’re waiting on a schedule from Travis Hughes? 
      2. Dodge: Yes, correct.
      3. Young: Hughes does the first pass and then Kat starts working on the men’s schedule so we can match up as many games as possible. I also talked briefly with Nick James about college and they will probably be doing 7s this fall. 
      4. Dodge: We should see a draft this week and after RRRC reviews, we will share with the clubs for their normal review period. 
    5. Registration Cycle (Sep to Sep annually)
      1. Tate: Early registration is open. Wendy or Kat, did you get an email from Jess Dombroski about setting the fees?
      2. Roche: No.
      3. Young: No.
      4. Roche: I checked Friday to enter fees because I noticed 10 people who have already registered. I panicked a bit and updated them to what we had before the COVID discount. 
      5. Tate: Yes, there is some loophole that allows folks to sneak through, we’ve seen it across the country. Sportlomo is looking into it. Anyways, dues are below but as always, you will only pay the most expensive role, that remains the same. A few adjustments but overall registration fees will be what was paid before COVID. We’re assuming that we will have a league season, National Championships and provide everything we have in the past. The training membership is also still available for players that want to try out our sport. One addition is an improvement to the included USA Rugby insurance, it’s a HUGE decrease in deductible for players that don’t have primary insurance and a small decrease for those that do have primary insurance.
        1. Dodge: I’ll put together a small writeup on this and we can post it on the website.
        2. Tate: Yes, there is a misconception out there that the USA Rugby insurance is worthless. This is a positive and a win for the players. Also, thank you to Dodge who was on this sub-committee and was instrumental in helping them understand the options on the way to these improvements.
        3. TRU Dues
          1. Player: $50
          2. Coaches $50
          3. Administrators: $35
        4. USA Rugby Dues
          1. Player: $35 + $15 Club Council fee
          2. Coaches: $65 + $15 Club Council fee
          3. Administrator: $35 + $15 Club Council fee
        5. Total
          1. Player: $100
          2. Coaches: $130
          3. Administrator: $85
      6. Wilson: Is the weekend registration still available?
      7. Tate: It exists! 
      8. Dodge: It was set up for all of the 7s tournaments after Bloodfest. It’s for special events that have to be set up beforehand. 
      9. Tate: Correct, it has to be a sanctioned event through USA Rugby and then they will set up a registration link for the weekend.
      10. Roche: One last thing, we did have a handful of registrations last year that didn’t get the COVID discount. I have a running list and will be reaching out to Club Admins to get updated contact information for each individual and will provide a discount code directly to those individuals to take $25 off their registrations this year.
      11. Tate: Ok, let’s make sure we can keep track of that.
      12. Roche: We can do several things like one-time codes and such. I’ll take care of it.
      13. Tate: Excellent!
    6. Sportlomo
      1. Young: Please note that the majority of discussion is above.
      2. Dodge: I did want to mention that we will be using CMS this year but there is a small problem with the API and linking rosters to Sportlomo. But we can add schedules and such without issues. Shouldn’t really affect us as it’s expected to be fixed before we start.
      3. Tate: They will also be passing along more administrative rights in CMS to GU Admins and such.
      4. Young: Yes! I’ve been begging for more control so we can set up competitions and such without USAR intervention. Amazing.
    7. World Rugby Global Trials
      1. Young: USA Rugby is adopting the World Rugby Global Trials and has shared several resources. We’ve included all of that information on our website. There has been a call for more education around this because it’s some pretty big changes. I know there was some discussion on the RRRC call last week.
      2. Roche: Yes, Gordon Hanlon and I are spearheading this effort. I will handle the referees and Gordon will do the same for TRU coaches. We’re focusing on making sure referees and coaches are both prepared before the season starts. 
      3. Tate: Amazing. I can also check with Jamie McGregor on what other resources are available to us.
    8. Summit
      1. Young: We’re getting closer to opening registration courses for November 5-6 at our Summit Conference. We’re expecting to have Coach L200 & L300, Strength and Conditioning 1, Referee L1, L2, CMO and a few others. This event always sells out so make sure you sign up quickly once available. Please note that ALL courses do require masks per World Rugby. If that changes before the events we will let everyone know.
      2. Tate: I’ve contacted the Houston and Austin MLR teams about being involved in the Summit. I know that Paul Mabry has mentioned it to the MLR Commissioner as well. I also think we had an agreement with Houston with their participation in the MD1 league?
      3. Dodge: Yes, it’s a statement of intent.
      4. Tate: Great, we know they just finished their season so they are in the postseason. I’m not concerned that we haven’t heard from them yet. I will continue to follow up with them.
      5. Young: Along with requiring masks, World Rugby is also requiring a COVID monitor in each course. We will probably want to talk about incentives to fulfill these roles.
      6. Tate: Sure, we can handle COVID monitors. I think we could incentivize clubs to find people to do this for us. 
      7. Young: USAR has also mentioned that we may see more out of town folks than normal because courses haven’t been able to be hosted due to COVID. So we will want to be pushing registration and EARLY!
      8. Tate: That’s a good point, maybe we think about doing a TRU presale that isn’t open to the public?
      9. Young: Yes, I think that will be important and we can definitely do that.
    9. HOF
      1. Young: We’ve been selling HOF tickets for a few weeks and have sold over 200 already! We are capped at 250 seats so if you want to come you need to get tickets ASAP! We’ve also secured Austinite & Olympian Jillion Potter as the featured speaker and so this won’t be an evening to miss.
      2. Tate: How exciting! 
      3. Young: The hotel has mentioned that if COVID continues on this path (we all hope it won’t) that we will have to be flexible on attendees and other things. This includes the Summit Conference.
    10. Summer/Winter AGM
      1. Tate: We have two elections this year and they are usually tied to the AGM so the nominees can speak. Looking at the calendar, the best weekends are probably August 28 or 29 or September 11 or 12? Is the August weekend too fast?
      2. Young: I would prefer August 28. It is a bit fast but I don’t think we have anything really wild to talk about.
      3. Roche: Isn’t that your birthday? These things always fall on your bday!
      4. Young: I will ask my wife if she is planning anything…
      5. Tate: Ok, let us know what Traci says. We will shoot for August 28 at 10am unless Wendy or Kat tells us otherwise. This will be a virtual meeting. We will cover the usual topics, State of the Union, Financials, Competitive Structures, nominations for DII & DIII Men’s reps and a few other topics.
      6. Young: Update, nothing planned for my birthday. 🙁 We’re good for the virtual AGM on August 28 at 10am.
    11. 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: As mentioned above, we have two elections this year. Zachary Hiller DII and John Kurylas DIII are up. We hope both of you are considering continuing in your service.
        2. Young: Yes, we will get nominations opened this week. We will endeavor to have the nomination process done before the AGM so the nominees can speak and answer any questions at the AGM.
        3. Tate: We will want to get with Dodge and make sure we have all of the club divisions confirmed. For example, Grand Prairie has moved up to MD1 but John would potentially run for the MDIII seat. 
        4. Tomsak: Is that allowed?
        5. Tate: Yes, any registered member can run for any seat. The clubs can only vote for the highest division they play in, so Grand Prairie would not be able to vote for John but if nominated he could accept the nomination. 
    12. New Business
      1. Maccabi USA Rugby Team
        1. Hiller: I’m the manager of Maccabi and we will be hosting a men’s tryout in Houston at Aveva Stadium on September 17-19. This is for XVs and 7s. Traditionally we take a combined squad and share them across formats.
        2. Tate: If you have any flyers or anything, we’re happy to post! We’ve had a few players from the TRU participate in the past including Bill Taute as a Gold medalist.
        3. Young: Is there going to be a women’s side this year? I’d heard a rumor that there was.
        4. Hiller: Yes! There will be a U18 men and a women’s side. Anyone interested can reach out to me for more details.
        5. Young: Very cool.
        6. Hiller: I will send along some flyers.
    13. Meeting Adjournment (9:35 PM)