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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 1/10/22

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. Martin
    3. Dodge
    4. Fosco
    5. Kurylas
    6. Dale
    7. Leming
    8. Kolberg
    9. Hanlon
    10. Hughes
      1. Regrets
        1. Keuppens
        2. Roche
  2. League Season
    1. Compliance
      1. Young: Quick update on compliance, I realized yesterday that the method I was using to check compliance was flawed and allowed duplicate players to be counted. In the past I was able to easily pull a report that allowed this to be a much simpler process. Sportlomo has complicated it quite a bit to where I was having to use their public roster tool and that took an annoying amount of time and wasn’t an accurate count. I spent some time in Sportlomo this morning and cobbled together a better method. I can now pull a member report and do just a little bit of manipulation to get what I need and it’s actually accurate. I’ve done that reconciliation this morning and we do have a few teams that have quite a few players less than we thought. I will share these numbers with this committee and the TRU Board for consideration.
    2. Reschedules
      1. Young: I’m not listing out all the reschedules but rather these are ones that could potentially come to the RRRC for help. 
      2. Dodge: Are we tracking all the postponed matches somewhere?
      3. Young: Yes, in the CMS tracking sheet Kat is tracking it. Looks like there are 8 postponements and 2 have reschedule dates already.
      4. Dodge: Ok, so we need to get on those other ones and make sure they get done. Can we put a deadline of next week for them to finalize those? 
      5. Young: Yes, I’ll get with Kat.
        1. 1/15 Blacks vs Huns – all division matches will be rescheduled
          1. Young: We were alerted of this postponement earlier this afternoon. Dodge is already working with the teams and they are looking at March 19. 
          2. Martin: 3/19 is a bit tough because there are two MLR matches that day, Austin and Dallas. 
          3. Dodge: Ok, the Huns haven’t agreed on that date yet but we will note that. 
          4. Young: Kat is going to add all of the MLR matches to the calendar so it’s clear when those are.
          5. Dodge: Really I wanted to discuss this to make sure that everyone on this committee has reviewed the new COVID reschedule policy. It’s very similar to the weather rescheduling policy we made a few years ago. 
        2. 1/15 Round Rock vs BARC W – working on a reschedule date
          1. Young: These teams also reached out to me today, they are still amicably discussing a reschedule date but it may come to this committee if they can’t agree. I’ve outlined their options and given them a deadline.
          2. Dodge: Great, we want to help but it’s always better if teams can come to an agreement on their own. 
      6. Kolberg: Looking at the number of COVID reschedules we’ve already had and anticipating that they will continue to be issued…what’s the plan?
      7. Dodge: The new policy indicates that if the match is not able to be played before April 16 it does go down as an unplayed forfeit.
      8. Fosco: If a team is asking for a COVID change, are we requiring documentation?
      9. Dodge: This is all covered in the COVID rescheduling policy. Short answer is yes, a club can request that documentation. I would urge this committee to review that document as they may be getting questions from their constituents.
      10. Leming: Has there been any musings from the TRU on reversing back into a level 4? Or is TRU or USA Rugby saying this is the policy going forward?
      11. Dodge: To be candid, USA Rugby punted these decisions to the GUs very early in the pandemic. The TRU has struggled, debated and eventually tried to balance our policies so we could complete a season. The most recent policy is one that is geared towards completing the season and not back into a level 4 or something like that.
      12. Young: I have gotten some inquiries about if we will really be able to have Red River Championships. Are we thinking of parachute plans? Of course I hope we will complete a season but we should be thinking about alternate plans.
      13. Dodge: I hear you and I’m also hopeful we’ll be able to complete our season. Let’s talk about this more under post play.
    3. Combining MD3 into MD2 for Division 2b Sides 
      1. Agreement of Clubs 
        1. Leming: Woodlands, HARC, HURT, San Antonio & W. Houston all met last Sunday to discuss relatively low registration numbers given the need to field 2 sides. After discussion, Clubs agreed to play only MD2 competitively, and drop their competitive MD3 sides, with B-Side friendlies (maybe 15s, 12s, 10s, etc.). Teams have unanimously agreed to this. So this is a proposal I would put forward on behalf of those Clubs.
        2. Kolberg: So you’re talking about playing in D2 as a regular team? Forget D3? The teams would still be playing for the D2 Championship and to advance?
        3. Leming: Correct. One of the other things we also talked about was staying committed to any referee commitments. So the B-Side match would have a referee even if it was 12s, 10s or 7s. We want it to feel like a match and be an opportunity for everyone to play. We understand that we go down to the bottom of the priority list. 
        4. Kolberg: If you could turn back the clock in the old days, the Cup game would be played and then have a 3rd half. It was open subs but it meant that everyone got to play.
        5. Leming: Yes, we could do that as well. Each club has committed to hosting and playing a B-Side match, it’s flexible as to what that really ends up being.
        6. Young: I really like this. It’s like the WD3 in that it’s all about flexibility and allowing game-like matches that have referees so that players can keep learning the game.
        7. Dodge: Could this be an opportunity for some referee development? 
        8. Martin: Absolutely!
        9. Dodge: Anymore discussion?
          1. Young: I motion to approve. 
          2. Kolberg: Second.
          3. Dodge: Any other discussion? Any opposition? NONE. APPROVED.
            1. Young: I will get with Kat to change to all the matches for D3 for Woodlands, HARC, HURT, San Antonio & W. Houston to friendlies in WTR and CMS.
      2. Adjustment to MD3 Wild Card Round
        1. Martin: With the above approved motion, I’m scanning the schedule and am wondering what happens to MD3 teams in other regions?
        2. Leming: They are all in their own subgroup/regions so are relatively untouched by this decision.
        3. Dodge: Yes, this leaves us with four “loose” D3 geographic divisions. I only say loose because they are semi based on geographic divisions with some caveats.
        4. Hanlon: So this simplifies the D3 playoff picture? Do the four group winners go through to the semi-finals?
        5. Dodge: I’d like to keep the wild card round because of the attrition we’ve seen. It may not be two rounds like we’ve had before. When we had 5 sub-divisions this was an 8 team playoff. I think with four subdivisions, the four winners and the highest second place teams based on weighted standings points (overall 5th, 6th and 7th). 4v7, 5×6 and the winners play for the fourth spot. That’s one thought. I’d like to hear other ideas.
        6. Kurylas: That’s similar to what we’ve done in the past. But we only have one wild card round I think.
        7. Dodge: So then would you just take the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th teams by weighted average standing points? 
        8. Kurylas: You’re top two division winners would get a bye, then 3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th.
        9. Dodge: The weighting only comes in when you’re determining 5th and 6th?
        10. Kurylas: Correct or if there needs to be a tie breaker. I don’t think we’ve ever had to apply those before. 
        11. Hanlon: The wild card rounds were brought in because of the number of subdivisions. But we’ve heard that teams want to move away from double on the weekend, like at Red River Championships? Is there any way we can get away with that?
        12. Dodge: Teams will continue to play twice on a weekend in most divisions in post play at USA Rugby Championships. Beyond that I think we don’t have enough weekends to have multiple weekends. I think it’s something we could look at for next year.
        13. Hanlon: Wild card is on 4/9 and RRRC Championships are 4/23-24?
        14. Dodge: Correct.
        15. Hanlon: We could do something wild like 1v8 wildcard weekend and then a weekend for the semi-final and final? Better teams would be even more prepared for Championships and beyond.
        16. Dodge: It’s something we could look at for the future. My main concern is that divisions that are having attrition get the most matches they can and that teams are prepared for post play. Why don’t we have the D3 reps on the call and Gordon if you want to join…bring us a proposal? We need to stick with the schedule we have, so whatever you want to propose, make it fit…
          1. Hughes: Sure, that sounds good.
          2. Kurylas: Yes, happy to do that.
        17. Leming: I’m not sure where this falls but I’m wondering if we need to have any thresholds on multi-side clubs? We have these for new clubs but nothing really for existing clubs. We can’t really continue taking the club’s word for it. 
        18. Dodge: I do think this is something that is unique to COVID because we haven’t had these problems in the past. I don’t disagree that we could look at adopting thresholds to help with these situations.
  3. CMS Cleanup
    1. Dodge: We’ve got a lot of matches in CMS from teams that have withdrawn from competition. Can we get those cleaned up?
    2. Young: Yes, I will ask Kat to look at that!
  4. Divisional Placement of OKC Crusaders
    1. Dodge: The TRU has provisionally accepted the OKC Crusaders into our Union. The provision part is because we’re waiting on a release from Mid-America (they meet on the 16th). We need to decide where they fit in our competition. They have agreed to take over Abilene’s MD4 schedule if we would like. Any discussion or thoughts? If agreed, that would make the MD4 Lost Souls, OKC Crusaders and Dallas IV. 
      1. Leming: I approve the motion.
      2. Kurylas: Second.
      3. Fosco: Second.
      4. Dodge: Any discussion? Any opposition? NONE. APPROVED.
    2. Young: Note that OKC Tribe got registered and has reached compliance as far as registering players. So we have no worries around them as far as compliance and remaining in D3.
    3. Dodge: Great news.
  5. RRRC/TRU Championships
    1. Request hosts?
      1. Young: 4/23-4/24/22 are TRU / RRRC Championships. Need to post on a website and decide on a host location. Do we need any special considerations for COVID, such as a backup venue?
      2. Kolberg: Not a bad idea to have a backup.  
      3. Young: It’s something we’ve talked about before but have never done before. I think we should start selecting backups!
      4. Dodge: As a practical matter we’d have to make a call on that a couple of weeks beforehand.
      5. Young; Totally agree, usually we award in early February. Are we confident if we pick a host that it could be played in that area?
      6. Dodge: We are in the fourth wave of COVID, but we need to plan regardless.
      7. Fosco: So do we pick a host and provisionally award. Then everything will be confirmed 30 days out?
      8. Dodge: I think that makes sense, we choose a primary and then a backup. Then we confirm 14-30 days out?
      9. Fosco: I think we have to do that.
      10. Hanlon: Do we look at splitting up divisions to help with COVID? Hate for one team to cause a super spreader event and affect a team at a different division going to nationals.
      11. Dodge: The regional playoffs already won’t include D1 because they are the winner taking all competition. Point taken on D2 and D3 though. Generally these clubs share coaching staff though.
      12. Young: It’s not a bad idea, but it makes things like referees and broadcasting really difficult.
      13. Dodge: Great, so we’re ok with the TRU putting out bid requests. We will look to approve a primary and a backup. As always, we encourage clubs to apply!
    2. Confirm USAR Pathways
      1. MD1 Seeding
        1. Dodge: Our Champion should go straight through the SFs (May 21-22). What we don’t know yet is who we will be playing. It could be the Champion from the East, Midwest or California. Historically we’ve played California but we’ve been realigned and may face the East.
      2. WD1 Seeding
        1. Young: The top four teams will advance to the Red River/Rocky Mountain playoffs to determine the top two seeds for our region. At the end of the regular season, the first place Red River team will host the Rocky Mountain second place team, and the Rocky Mountain first place team will host the Red River second place team on April 23. The winners of those matches will advance to the USA Rugby National Playoffs (Final Four) on May 21. If teams win their final four match, they will advance to the USA Rugby Championship match on May 21. Like MD1, we don’t know the seeding yet.
      3. Negotiations over MD2, MD3 and WD2 Playoff Rounds 
        1. Dodge: I’ve had some discussions with the President of the Florida and True South Unions about how we want to handle the Round of 8. We had originally wanted to send our Champions for MD2, MD3 and WD2 to them for a single match weekend. Florida and True South are having some internal disagreements though. They want to crown their own Champions and then have a Saturday/Sunday tournament. Do we care that much about a 2 match weekend (Round of 16/Round of 8) or do we want to continue to push for a single match weekend? 
        2. Young: This is still looking at a 2 year agreement? So they would come to us in 2023?
        3. Dodge: Correct.
        4. Hanlon: We’re going to them, so I think we should ask for a single weekend.
        5. Dodge: So your thought is that they crown all of their Champions and then we only play one game.
        6. Hanlon: Yes.
        7. Young: I agree. 
        8. Leming: 2 day weekends are always so tough. Plus loser loser matches aren’t really helpful. 
        9. Dodge: Oh, I hadn’t even thought about loser bracket matches. 
        10. Dodge: I don’t have an issue with sending all of our Champions to play a Saturday/Sunday. It is one more hotel night but the airline doesn’t vary.
        11. Kolberg: The problem with the two match weekends is the lack of recovery time. Matches need to be early so players can get back at a reasonable time. We will get to one winner and they should get to their winners.
        12. Hanlon: It’s also easier to send one team per division all the way to Florida or the South and vice versa, when they have to come to us…one team is a lot cheaper. 
        13. Kolberg: Agree.
        14. Dodge: Ok, I will keep talking with them and report back.
  6. Competitions tab on website
    1. Young: It’s time for our annual update to the competitions tab on the website. Each rep should review their section and send me updates.
    2. Dodge: Let’s assign some names and a deadline of 1/21:
      1. WD1 – Young
      2. MD1 – Kolberg
      3. WD2 – Fosco
      4. MD2 – Hanlon
      5. WD3 – Marie Wilson
      6. MD3 – Kurylas
      7. MD4 – Dodge
      8. Women’s College – Young
  7. RRRC/TRU Calendar
    1. Dodge: Defer to next month, I’m still reviewing. One thing Kirk and I have been kicking around is using the fall as a Counties/All Star window. We’re also thinking of including an alongside B-Side competition. I bring this up because we’ve historically had some men’s matches in the fall. 
    2. Hanlon: I sent in a proposal with Bloo back in 2020 for this. Happy to send it again. Shows how it would work and aligns with the current divisions. How to tie in with Coach, Ref and Admin development is key, it has all of that on it. 
    3. Young: Our women’s All Star coaches heard about this and were trying to think of ways that we could participate as well. We obviously don’t have as many numbers but we could do an adapted version.
    4. Dodge: Yes, we should get as much economy of scale that we can. The biggest issue will be getting the MLR clubs to participate. 
  8. U23 NASCs Tournament
    1. Young; USA Rugby has announced that the women’s U23 NASCs (All Stars) tournament is returning. We’ve formally played as the West but we have been renamed as Central South. Our grouping is with Mid-America now. I’ve already begun conversations with Mid-America and representatives in Oklahoma about our partnership and those are looking positive. USAR is requiring applications to participate and we have applied. More to come soon!
  9. World Rugby Community Law Variations
    1. Young: WR and USAR are now allowing Unions to have some leniency around law variations. This is an FYI because we’re already doing this for WD3 and such.
  10. New Business
    1. None.
  11. Meeting Adjournment (9:28 PM)