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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 8/15/22

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. Martin
    3. Tate
    4. Kurylas
    5. Wilson
    6. Hiller
    7. Tomsak
      1. Regrets
        1. Roche
        2. Dodge
      2. Guests
        1. HURT – Nevin Whalley – President
  2. Fines
    1. Alamo City – Outstanding
      1. Young: They were notified again today that this fine is still outstanding.
      2. Tate; I also saw that they were notified that the RRRC declined their appeal but they did not choose to further appeal to this body. So they’ve accepted the decision of the RRRC but are not in good standing until that fine is paid.
  3. Appeals
    1. Alamo City – declined to appeal RRRC decision nor contest fine
    2. HURT MD3 – appealing RRRC decision to not allow admittance into MD3 South
      1. Tate: HURT sent in an appeal and Dodge provided a bit of context from their previous emails. HURT requested to enter a second side in MD3 and normally that would be a slam dunk. The request was late after the normal timelines to enter a new side and at the time the RRRC met and discussed felt they were lacking information from HURT. They have since provided information on team numbers, scheduling and organizational support. So they are appealing to the TRU Board to be allowed to enter another side.
      2. Whalley: First of all, thank you for letting me join so I can provide more information on our appeal. When it comes down to it we’re asking to be able to return to where we were operating previously. I do understand it was submitted a bit late due to ongoing discussions around playoffs. We were going to have less teams than the D1b and there was an opening in MD3 South. This was also due to the D2b going away and so we asked to have our D3 squad brought back in. We have a genuine interest from our members because they want more games. At the end of last season we had 57 members and that would meet the criteria for multiple sides and we have an accredited coach. If we remain with one squad we’re concerned that we will lose players because they don’t have matches.
      3. Tate: A couple of questions, we have some provisions that we normally apply to new clubs and not clubs adding a side. Given a request to add a side after the normal deadlines there are some of those provisions to new clubs that we might want HURT to follow as well. One of those would be ensuring that you have 47 players registered by October 1. Players like to register the Friday before their first match but we have to make the schedule a lot earlier than that, so having players registering early and tracking in the right direction is a really good indicator for us. Do you think you’ll be able to muster your players to register in the next 5-6 weeks?
      4. Whalley: Yes, I think so. I looked at the numbers from last season (because I love numbers) and post COVID we have 37 players registered in early October. That was a really positive sign for us because we weren’t sure what we were going to get after the shutdown. 
      5. Tate: Ok, if we accepted this appeal we would really encourage your players to register. Then you can use this as leverage to help get your players registered early. We’d also like to see a couple of pre-season friendlies on your calendar. This shows us that the players are actual players and will play on a Saturday.
      6. Whalley: Yes, that is our intent. We always like to meet competition before the season but we can treat it as a way to have registered players get on the pitch. 
      7. Tate: Yes and this will give them an incentive to register so they can play. Sounds like you’re OK with those two caveats?
      8. Whalley: Yes, we’re OK with the Oct 1 registration and we will try to have a few matches on the calendar by Nov 1.
      9. Tate: Yes, and that second caveat is a bit more flexible because it depends on an opponent agreeing to play you. We know you don’t control all of those aspects. If at all possible we’d like the pre-season games to be played by Nov 1. 
      10. Kurylas: We appreciate you joining the call Nevin. I like what you’ve laid out.
      11. Tate: Any concerns with referee coverage Shawn?
      12. Martin: No, not in Houston.
      13. Tate: You emailed that you will have a few folks taking advantage of the Summit at the end of the month. You had mentioned coaches but we’d really encourage you to see if you could get a few people to sign up for the referee course. Houston has a strong contingent of referees but we can always use more.
      14. Young: Want to make sure you know that courses are closing on August 22. Make sure they get signed up before that. Thanks!
      15. Whalley: Yes, thank you for the reminder. I did want to bring one more thing up, if the schedule dictates that MD2 and MD3 have to play in different locations, we will do it. We don’t have a problem with that. When we emailed about this previously it is obviously easier to keep our team together but we know it’s not always possible.
      16. Tate: We hear you. It really comes down to the numbers, you mentioned that you had 57 players before COVID. If you have that many players then you can split your squads without an issue. It’s when you have less that you have to borrow from one to fill out the other. So the magic is in the number of available registered players you have. I’m a numbers nerd like you and we’ve been tracking this for a long time now. Multiple side clubs have to have at least 25 players x 2 or 3 based on how many sides you have. The biggest things we don’t want to see are forfeits and MD2 players playing twice as many matches to where they are covering both divisions.
      17. Whalley: Totally agree, our goal is always to try and get 60 players for two sides. We want to get the numbers and finish our schedule. I appreciate your time and enjoy your evening.
        1. Tate: Whalley has left, we can continue our discussion. Zach, would like your opinion here. 
        2. Hiller: I took a quick look at their roster over the weekend and of the 57 there are only two that might not play this season. One thing I did notice was there were a lot of higher level players that took the season off or were playing with HTX. Some of them have expressed interest in coming back once we have two sides again. I think that 57 is a little light and we may get more than we expect. We also have at least two certified coaches and three if I don’t play. 
        3. Kurylas: It sounds like they have everything together. COVID caused havoc on all the clubs. The real problem seemed to be their late entry and lack of response when they were building the league structures.
        4. Tate: Yes, Dodge confirmed that it was merely the late entry and Travis has indicated that it won’t cause problems with the schedule.
        5. Wilson: I agree with John and was going to say the same thing! If Travis doesn’t have any issues then I’m good as well.
        6. Tomsak: Would they be in D1c/D1b or D3?
        7. Tate: My understanding is that they would be in D3 South. In theory it could be added to either. That is something that we would leave up to the RRRC.
        8. Young: We were talking about D3 South being the best place for them on our previous call.
        9. Martin: I don’t see any major impact on referees, so no concerns on our side.
        10. Tate: So the motion in effect would be to approve the appeal and allow HURT to be placed in the MD3 competition. Per Dodge’s email recommendation they would be subject to meeting the minimum player registration deadline of October 1 and having a few friendlies by November 1. That would allow us to rejig the schedule if there needed to be upheaval. 
        11. Tomsak: Does this mean that MD3 will be unbalanced?
        12. Tate: It could but we’ve had that before and have systems in place to ensure fairness. This isn’t unusual for the D3 competition. 
        13. Tomsak: My vote would depend on which division they would be in. I am of the understanding that the D3 teams wanted to try and keep single side clubs together and multiple sides in their own spot.
        14. Tate: Yes, that is my recollection that we want the multi-side clubs playing together as much as possible. It isn’t perfect but we’re trying. I would defer to persons on this call that are on the RRRC. 
        15. Young: If I recall correctly the RRRC was leaning towards placing them in D3 South. There is an open spot there and then they could continue to travel with their other side when the schedule allowed.
        16. Tate: Any other discussion? At this point a YES vote would mean we’re accepting them in and we would leave it to the RRRC to place them in the appropriate division. If this motion is voted down then we could talk further about what would make it work. I think I’d like to get a poll of where we stand.
          1. Martin: Yes
          2. Kurylas: Yes
          3. Wilson: Yes
          4. Tomsak: Yes
          5. Hiller: Abstain
          6. Tate: Yes
            1. Tate: APPROVED. We will count that as the official vote as HURT has been accepted into MD3. We will let them know that the RRRC will take the Board’s decision and then place them in the appropriate division and schedule.
  4. Grants
    1. 7s
      1. Dallas
      2. sHARCs
        1. Tate: These don’t require a vote as it is a standing policy. This is an administrative task to check the rosters and determine the correct amount. $25 per player on their roster is the grant. I believe Dallas has already paid their grant so this is only for sHARCs. 
        2. Young: I am seeing 51 players on their roster but I recall that they had some players register under the men. They were trying to get that resolved but USAR was having issues. I will send that to HARC and Dave for payment.
  5. 7s
    1. Recap
      1. Dallas won the Bowl
      2. sHARCs knocked out in the Bowl QFs
        1. Tate: National 7s just finished up and the first thing I’d like to say is that Fil Keuppens did a fantastic job. He was the new chair of the 7s Competition Committee and he had many hurdles. This was a huge task to get the qualifying process nailed down and hosting a great event. He pulled off some big wins at the 11th hour through no fault of his own. The Club Council was late in getting him appointed so he started off behind the ball. 
          1. Tate: Our teams did well, Dallas went 1-2 on Saturday and finished 9th out of 16th. sHARCs didn’t make the Cup Quarterfinals and fell out in the Bowl Quarter Finals. They didn;t play out the Shield so we aren’t sure of their final standing. The men’s bracket was much more balanced than the women who had lots of lopsided scores. In this event both Champions were Academy side teams with NAV and Scion. 
          2. Young: Scion won their second title in a row, domination.
          3. Tate: So a really good event and we broke into a new city that we’ve never played rugby in before. Three gorgeous fields that were full rugby pitches and generally in the center of the country. I do know that the two National Competitions Committee are looking to nail down the next 2-3 venues so that Unions will know when and where those tournaments will be well in advance.
  6. Reminder about Perpetual Trophies, Plaques and Medals
    1. Young: We had a situation in Shreveport where beforehand we knew the men and women’s winner of RRRC but we didn’t know the TOLA yet. We had to wait until the tournament was completed to order awards for those winners. I had sent trophy name plates for the perpetual trophy, medals and a plaque for RRRC. So then when the TOLA winners were awarded the teams only received medals. A reminder that we made this change in 2019 because we wanted to have large trophies that could be displayed and shared at various events. Happy to review this and make changes if this isn’t what our members want. We could go back to trophies or stick with plaques but don’t customize them with the clubs name.
    2. Tomsak: Yes, this was unpleasant and I was getting yelled at when trying to give out awards. 
    3. Tate: I am happy to reconsider or tweak the policy but we have some time to figure this out.
    4. Young: I totally understand Grand Prairie women’s concern, they had never won a tournament like this and they wanted the big trophy. 
    5. Tate: I see the problem and have experienced it myself, every trophy presentation earlier this year was a little awkward. We have time to think on this and I think we can make it right. 
    6. Kurylas: Every tournament that teams win receive a generic trophy.
    7. Tate: Right but they get to take it with them. 
    8. Kurylas: I think we have generic awards and that solves it.
    9. Tate: I’m thinking we could go back to handing out trophies…I want to think about it.
    10. Young: At RRRC XVs, I did poll many of the clubs but it was very informal. It was 50/50 for plaque and trophy…every club was a little different in what they would have liked. Some clubs have clubhouses and want to nail a plaque to their wall, others have a trophy case and want to add to it.
    11. Tate: We could even consider letting clubs take the perpetual trophy home but then we risk not seeing it again. Let’s think about it and we can make a decision early in 2023 before our Championships. We may want to poll the clubs some more as well. Awards aren’t such a huge expense that we don’t want to be concerned about it financially.
    12. Young: There is a bit of overhead right now as I’m having to keep track of what I’ve sent vs what I still need to order. I’d like it to be simpler administratively AND make the clubs happy.
  7. Rugby Xplorer
    1. Tate: Good news, Sportlomo is going away! We are moving to a new system called Rugby Xplorer. This system was developed by the Australia Rugby Union. USAR went through a very thorough vetting process than previous decisions. I was included on a committee that vetted several different systems including testing. Multiple Union Administrators were given a chance to test and play with it including the TRU. Wendy and Dodge were given an opportunity to provide feedback before the final contract was signed. Honestly it just works better, it’s better designed and will be a better fit for our Unions. Sportlomo is Irish based and it just didn’t fit how we play rugby in the USA. So we will all be getting new accounts, new logins and access to the system shortly. It will do competitions management as well, so we will move from USARugbystats to Rugby Xplorer. All registrations, competitions and disciplinary will all be in one place.
    2. Young: Yes, we’ve got payment settings completed and we’re now waiting for USAR to load our clubs. Once that’s done we’ll have a bit more administrative work to do on our side and then we can open for registrations.
    3. Tate: They are prioritizing Unions that begin play in the next few weeks like Midwest and Capital. So registration may open a little later than normal but that is to be expected.
  8. XVs Schedule
    1. Young: I just wanted to just drop it in here that the RRRC is working on the schedule. We will have a draft in the next few weeks and clubs will have their normal review period. 
    2. Tomsak: When will the RRRC vote on where HURT plays?
    3. Tate: We’ll notify them tonight and Dodge will put it to that committee.
    4. Young: I think it will be an email vote because we’ve already discussed this quite a bit. Any member can call for a special meeting if they feel the need.
    5. Tomsak: I’ll call Dodge to talk through what we discussed on D3 South vs other divisions.
    6. Tate: Yes, we can email him and if you want to call that is OK as well.
  9. HOF
    1. Young: We’ve sold 150+ tickets and are expecting to hit 200. Ticket sales close Aug 22 and the hotel block has closed. There are still rooms available but they will be at their standard rate. We also announced late last week that the guest speaker will be Olympian and SaberCat Danny Barrett!
    2. Tate: We’re doing great on this event, really excited for the guest speaker in Danny Barrett. We’re honoring the 2001 Woodlands RFC, a small class of 3 new members and a new category of awards for Distinguished Service Awards. Those are for individuals that could eventually become Hall of Famers as there is no exclusion but it’s a way to honor folks outside the HOF itself. The DSA’s will receive names and the first is the Alan Sharpley Memorial Award. We’ve also started receiving donations on behalf of the HOF and that meets our goal of making this goal a revenue neutral or positive event.
  10. Summit
    1. Young: Courses are filling up but we still have room in the Coaching L2, Referee L1 and S&C L1. Registrations close Aug 22 and the hotel block has already closed. There are still rooms available but they will be at their standard rate.
    2. Tate: I know at one point we were a little worried about the referee courses. Have we met the minimums for that?
    3. Young: We haven’t met those minimums yet but I am hearing that there will be more signups in the next few days. 
    4. Tate: Ok, so it’s only the referee courses that we’re in danger of canceling?
    5. Young: Correct, the other courses have enough folks signed up. Refere is where we need to make a major push or we’re going to have to cancel.
    6. Martin: Did I see social media go out for referees?
    7. Young: Yes, the referee course went out today and it’s seeing good engagement but we need sign ups! The other courses will be getting love over the next few days.
  11. Elections
    1. Young: We’ve posted a notice to our members that we’re accepting nominations for open TRU Board and RRRC Competitions Committee positions. Nominations close Sep 1 and will be announced no later than Sep 20. A reminder to our members that the Board deals with governance and budget. The RRRC handles competitions.
    2. Tate: We’ve put out notice about elections…but there is a lot of noise out there with the upcoming Summit/HOF, Rugby Xplorer, incoming schedule…etc. Please reach out to your constituents to push this as we want members to see these two notices and put up nominations.
  12. Summer AGM
    1. Young: We posted an announcement last month that our Summer AGM will be separate from the Summit. It will be Sunday, September 11 It will be virtual. 
    2. Tate: At the AGM we’ll cover all the normal things but will include a forum for nominations for the TRU Board and RRRC positions as well.
  13. Union Shirt Contest
    1. Young: We had a few submissions and we left it up to the Board to vote! Which one are you feeling?
    2. Tate: OK, can you collect the images and share them via email? That way we can do a vote as a Board and let the members know. This will be a pre-order and the minimum would be 24 shirts before we print.
    3. Young: Correct, we’ll use our local printer and they have a minimum of 24 before we order. I will send it to the Board. Thanks to everyone who took time to put forth a design for consideration.
  14. 501c3
    1. Tate: Still waiting on the Government, expect it to be 6-9 months at this point.
  15. New Business
    1. OKC Motley Tournament
      1. Wilson: OKC reached out that they will want to host a tournament this fall.
      2. Young: Yes, exciting! She can send that to Travis and myself and we’ll get that in the right place.
      3. Tate: Yes and they should hold a referee course the night before and then the newly certified referees can get games at the tournament. This is a great opportunity to get them game time in a lower pressure situation.
      4. Wilson: Yes, I will mention that to her. An excellent idea.
  16. Meeting Adjournment (9:40 PM)