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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 10/11/21

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. Roche
    2. Kurylas
    3. Martin
    4. Keuppens
    5. Hanlon
    6. Dale
    7. Fosco
    8. Dodge
    9. Regrets
      1. Leming
      2. Young
      3. Kolberg
      4. Hughes
  2. COVID #s
    1. Dodge: Austin, San Antonio and Houston are all good. They’re under 15% for longer than 7 days. Abilene, DFW and Galveston are getting there. A few >15% days are resetting those clocks. I had committed to tweak the COVID policy on the last TRU Board call to add language reflecting the exceptions that would allow for play, even if the COVID numbers are higher than otherwise allowed for play.  I am still working on that, but expect to have it finished by the TRU call next Monday night.  Again, this will just integrate the exceptions approved by the TRU last month into the overall, existing policy. Our numbers however are looking good to be able to open play in all regions.  Louisiana and Arkansas are still within acceptable limits, but Oklahoma is still at 85% ICU capacity (the relevant metric there).  That’s down from 87% a month ago, but still in the red.
  3. WD1 Matches
    1. Roche: Houston definitely rescheduled their October match with Denver and I can check with the Valks to see if they rescheduled their Denver match. We have not gotten confirmation that Quins have scheduled either match.
    2. Dodge: John have you heard anything from the Quins women about their scheduling?
    3. Dale: I knew they were in talks with Denver and Colorado about doing a double-header weekend so the Lady Quins only have to take one trip to Colorado, but I will follow up with them.
  4. CMS Status
    1. Roche: We are waiting on Erik Geib to activate this.
    2. Dodge: So Sportlomo has been linked to CMS, and regions around the country are definitely active on it, but we don’t have access to upload our own schedules yet.
    3. Young Oct 14: I received CMS access late last night and have added the first few matches. We’ll get the rest added soon! Club logins are the same as last year.
  5. Finalization of NCS Pathway
    1. Dodge: The competition structure that has us playing to the East was approved in a relatively close vote at the Senior Club Council (“SCC”) Competitions Committee. So now we have to work out with the Southern Competitive region (Florida, GA, Southeast, True South) who advances from that “super region” and how. The clubs that advance from there would travel to the semifinal / final which will be played on one weekend. My proposal for consideration by this Committee is that the Southern Regions produce their champions (D2 men, D3 men, D2 women), and we produce ours, as we have done in years past.  Then our champions would play their champions in the Round of 8 weekend. So this year and next year we swap venues on who hosts. Then we can entertain additional ideas in the years moving forward.
    2. Roche: Would Life Men (ARP) be participating as the single D1 men seed from the South?
    3. Dodge: No, I believe they play in the Northeast along with the other ARP teams.  I’m also not sure the ARP teams will be competing in the MD1 pathway.  I know they had elected not to in the 2019-20 season before it was cut short by COVID.
    4. Roche: And the Women’s D1 sides participate in MARR which is also not in the South.
    5. Dodge: Yes so just the Men’s D2 and D3 and Women’s D2 would travel/host.
    6. Roche: Would we run travel grants for this?
    7. Dodge: I would think so. What  I don’t like is that the approved proposal is supposed to be better on travel expenses, but it’s really not, as anyone advancing beyond the Round of 8 is still taking two trips, but instead of playing just one final match, they are playing on Sat. and Sun.
    8. Hanlon: What other alternatives are there?
    9. Dodge: I don’t think there really are any. Since we’ve already made our schedule, we can’t really make extra room for anything bigger.  Presumably the Southern Region is in the same position, as they play during the same time of year as we do.
    10. Hanlon: Would it be better to try to have them come here first?
    11. Dodge: We just are proposing ideas, which we will then approach the South region with. I just wanted to run it through this committee so we had something to go to them with.
    12. Hanlon: I’m not hearing any alternatives.
    13. Kurylas: Where do they usually host them?
    14. Dodge: My recollection is they usually move it around. But we would prefer something central with a large airport.
    15. Hanlon: The last one was in Knoxville.
    16. Dodge: Are there any objections to this proposal? None. APPROVED.
  6. NTX Barbarians
    1. Dodge: They are a Men’s D3 North team, currently playing in that schedule. They will not be able to field a side this year. I do not want to leave a big hole in the D3 north schedule this year, since they were light on matches as it was. A few clubs were interested in picking up the bye weekends as friendlies so other clubs had enough rugby throughout the season. I figure we can just put it out to the other D3 clubs in the North to see if they are interested in picking up any of the matches.
    2. Kurylas: That only leaves 4 clubs in that bracket and I’m concerned no one is going to be willing to travel to OKC in a friendly. 
    3. Dodge: This is also a great opportunity for some of our stronger D4 clubs. If we have more than one or two clubs interested in picking up the matches, we can just do a lottery and whatever game you pick you play.  What we can’t do is just have teams pick up NTX’s home matches, and leave their away matches empty.  John can you put it out to the D3 north teams and see their thoughts?
    4. Kurylas: Absolutely, I think clubs will be open to this.
    5. Dodge: When is their first match?
    6. Kurylas: Nov 20th at Shreveport. It seems like everyone starts that weekend so it might be a big weekend.
    7. Martin: If we can avoid matches on the 20th, we have a camp in Atlanta for some of our premier referees, and are going to short 6-8 referees.
    8. Hanlon: I know Shreveport is coming to DARC to open the pitch, and requested a return fixture, we can do that and it would cover Shreveport’s missing 11/20 game.
    9. Dodge: Let’s put the offer out to the clubs and see who steps up and how many we will need covered.
  7. Committee Event Calendar
    1. Dodge: I knew at the last meeting we had a group step up for this.
    2. Kurylas: Yep we have a list working at the moment, I can send out what we have right now.
    3. Dodge: I’d like to have something finalized by the next meeting. Can we put a deadline on it and have time to take comments so we can vote on something at the next meeting?
    4. Kurylas: Yep we can do that.
  8. Eligibility Rules:
    1. Changes for 7s
      1. Dodge: There were some tweaks to the eligibility rules for 7’s that came up last week, I just want to circulate that around for everyone. I think these have already been approved by the SCC Eligibility Committee, but I’m not 100% sure. If you have any questions please let me know and I can forward on to the Eligibility Committee.
    2. Player Movement
      1. Dodge: We talked a bit about this last meeting, the SCC Eligibility Committee changed Rule 3.5(b).  Prior to the change, no one rostered to start in an upper division match could play in a lower division match the same weekend. There were also limits on how many lower division players who could be reserves on the upper division roster on the same weekend. They changed that this year to allow player movement across the divisions “except where prohibited,” but removed the limitations that existed in the prior years’ versions of the rule. So, theoretically, under the new Rule 3.5(b), this could allow unlimited upper division starters to play in the lower divisions the same weekend, or vice versa. I didn’t think this was fair, especially in TX where we have so many multiple-sided clubs. So I propose that we return to the old rule 3.5(b) that allows limited upper division players playing down and no upper division starters to play down the same weekend. I think this is the best solution for several reasons.  Under the new league structure, virtually all MD1 league matches are on the same days as lower division matches, so the potential for an “Upper Division” player playing in a “Lower Division” match is greatly diminished.  Returning to the old Rule 3.5(b) also allows for development of LD players by allowing them some UD playing time, incentivizes recruiting to make sure you have sufficient number of players to fill out all Club sides, rather than relying on same 25-30 players to try to fill 2 sides, and protects player welfare.  I’m opening the floor to discussion and thoughts on the proposal that we go back to the old Rule 3.5(b).
      2. Dale: I agree with you David, I don’t think it makes sense to allow that.
      3. Keuppens: I agree as well. I discussed with Kolberg before the meeting, we think the movement rule should stay the same. We don’t think the new rule helps grow the game.
      4. Hanlon: In Germany, if you start in Division 1, you can’t play Division 2 until your D1 club plays again. It’s simple. In New Zealand you register a squad of 25, and your D1 players cannot play D2 at all unless they are coming back from a serious injury. It created a more fair area for lower division players that didn’t feel like they were playing ringers.
      5. Roche: I think it’s entering dangerous territory to require players to show proof of “serious injury”. There’s a host of issues that could require players to take time off and they could theoretically return as a D1 athlete but have other dilemmas taking away their rugby time or drive.
      6. Hanlon: You can swap players in and out though.
      7. Keuppens: Wouldn’t that just create the ability to have a second roster?
      8. Dodge: Anyone else have other thoughts or want to make a motion?
      9. Hanlon: So you say it’s capped at 4, but I found an example with five players, it might be an error on CMS.  I know Travis mentioned an issue of McAllen not wanting to play the Blacks D3 early in the season because of the potential for facing upper division players.
      10. Dodge: I’m hopeful that the new league structure will handle issues like those raised by Travis.  Whether an LD player listed as a reserve for the UD side ever sees the field in the UD match is often a function of how close the LD and UD matches are, and the health / fitness status of the reserve and player he/she is replacing.   Just because someone is listed as a reserve does not mean they always get into the match.   Also, under my proposal, no one rostered as a UD starter can play in the LD match.  But, I’d be interested in seeing what you’ve put together from years past.
      11. Keuppens: I move that we leave it as the Old Rule 3.5(b).
        1. Dale seconded.
        2. No opposition. APPROVED
      12. Old Rule 3.5(b) is adopted as operative in the Red River / TRU this season:
        1. Movement of players between Lower Divisions and Upper Divisions of the same Club is allowed except where specifically prohibited.
        2. Players who play as starters in Upper Division Qualifying Matches may not play in Lower Division Qualifying Matches played on the same weekend.
        3. Players who play in a Lower Division Qualifying Match may play in Upper Division Qualifying Matches played on the same weekend during the Regular League Season only when the Lower Division Qualifying Match is played before the Upper Division
        4. Qualifying Match, subject to the following restrictions:
          1. Up to three (3) players who played in a Lower Division Qualifying Match may be listed as RESERVE PLAYERS for the Upper Division Qualifying Match(es); or
          2. Up to four (4) players who played in a Lower Division Qualifying Match may be listed as RESERVE PLAYERS for the Upper DivisionQualifying Match(es), if at least one of those players is a front row specialist.
    3. Publication of 2021-22 Eligibility Rules to Teams
      1. Dodge:  Please send these to your constituent Clubs and tell them to read the new rules carefully, as there are a number of changes: **2021-22 Adult Eligibility Regulations (usarugby.org)
    4. Keuppens: Is there any way to put in a waiver request for extraneous circumstances. I’m concerned about players getting excluded from play due to some sort of error. I know it would be difficult to track, but I’ve seen players get left out due to manager error and not being able to play anymore.
    5. Dodge: Can you give me an example?
    6. Keuppens: The 50% rule. Say a team has both tightheads injured at the same time and the D2 tighthead has to cover for those matches, then cannot drop back down once the D1 players return. I know it’s complicated but I’d like to see a conversation around that.
    7. Dodge: Let me address a few things. As an approved governing body we can make rules that are more restrictive than the National Eligibility Rules, but not less. I don’t think we have the ability to make rules that are less restrictive than the National rules. The 50% rule has changed and there is now more flexibility. There is still a 50% rule (3.5(g)), but it’s only when a player hasn’t played enough matches to meet the 66% rule (3.5(d) & (e)). Also, the player match minimum is now down to 2 matches from 3.  Finally, there is also a waiver application process in the rules, with the waiver being decided by the SCC Eligibility Committee.  So, I think there’s more flexibility there than you might think.  
  9. TRU 50th Anniversary Tournament
    1. Dodge: We went back out and encouraged people to fill out the survey; less than 50% of the clubs responded.  I will raise this at TRU Board Meeting, but it does not appear there is sufficient interest.  6 Nos, 5 Yeses, and 3 Maybes.  Not 50% of TRU Clubs responded.  TRU 50th Anniversary Tournament Interest Form (Responses).  It doesn’t seem like we are going to get the desired participation we were hoping for, which would open the December 4th weekend up for other matches, if we have enough referees to support that.  There will still be the women’s high performance tournament. 
    2. Roche:  There are conversations about the possibility of moving the tournament location should we not be able to find a venue in Houston. 
    3. Dale: Kat is there any news on tryouts for that?
    4. Roche: Not yet, I believe we have the interest form for coaches out and usually when we get the coaching staff we see what dates work best for them.
  10. Application to SCC Elig. Committee to Consider HTX and CXO matches as “Qualified Matches”
    1. Dodge: I would like to apply to the SCC Eligibility Committee to have the HTX and CXO matches considered “qualifying matches” for MD1, to give more players an opportunity to qualify to play in nationals. I think it won’t be an issue considering the level, but is there any opposition to that?  NONE.  Approved.
  11. New Business
    1. Summit
      1. Young Oct 14: Registrations are a bit lower than we’d expect but maybe since it is during a different time of year it’s not to be unexpected. We have to make final choices on the number of rooms and instructor travel by Friday, October 15. If we don’t get more sign-ups, we will be reducing the number of courses available. Registration will close completely on Friday, October 22.
    2. Separate venues for D2/D3/D1 Matches
      1. Kurylas: Where did we land on the Huns/Blacks visits to Grand Prairie/Ft Worth/Quins/DARC where they have separate venues for the D2/D3/D1 matches?
      2. Dodge: I have spoken to you and JP Rodriguez from FTW, and I understand both clubs have agreed to give up one of their home matches to ensure that when they host the Huns and Blacks that all matches can be played at a single venue.  Just need to get you guys together to decide which of the Austin clubs you each want to host.   The Quins and DARC have not been amenable to play at a single location, so we need to adjust match times to make sure players, referees and coaches all have time to get from one venue to the other.  We don’t have to play matches in 3, 2, 1 order any longer, so that will help.   
      3. Martin:  When all matches are at the same venue it’s easier for the referees to cover.
      4. Roche: I know it wasn’t just for referees, but for coaches, athletic trainers and general camaraderie of supporting your team. Perhaps if we can have the D2 play first at the across town venue and then move to the second pitch for the D3/D1 double-header.
      5. Dale: We do have flexibility with the lights at Glencoe which would allow the teams more time to travel during the day.
      6. Dodge: Let me do some offline communication with the teams and Bean. The best thing might be getting everyone on a call to discuss.
  12. Adjourn 
    1. Dodge: I move to adjourn.
    2. Roche: Second! I like when Wendy takes notes. This is tiring. (Says the girl who came back from vacation.)
      1. Young: Note taking is harder than it looks!
    3. Meeting adjourned 9:05pm