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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 9/19/22

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. Roche
    3. Wilson
    4. Tate
    5. Kurylas
    6. Hiller
    7. Tomsak
    8. Dodge
    9. Martin
      1. Regrets
        1. None.
  2. RX
    1. Compliance
      1. Tate: How are we looking, Wendy?
      2. Young: We’re doing pretty good, 29 out of 45 clubs are registered with USA Rugby. We have 313 individuals registered as well. We don’t have games for a few weeks but we are looking for clubs to start ramping things up as far as registrations.
      3. Tomsak: I wanted to check on Certificate of Insurance (COI), is it registered with USA Rugby, has a L1 Coach and 10 players registered?
      4. Tate: I think you’re close, I believe it’s 15 players?
      5. Dodge: I think so as well.
      6. Tate: We can go ahead and escalate this with USAR but I think that may be what’s holding you back. Just a reminder that if clubs are having issues, please reach out to us so we can try and help.
    2. Competitions System
      1. Dodge: Do we have any plans to hold training sessions on the new competitions system?
      2. Young: Who is we? USA Rugby or the TRU?
      3. Dodge: I’m thinking TRU. 
      4. Young: Happy to do a training but having only seen it once not sure we’re the experts here. There is a training video.
      5. Tate: Ok, let’s send out that link and ask Club admins to review but really continue focusing on registering their players. They will use the competition system to record match data (at the field on mobile) or they can input it later.
      6. Young: Yes, we will want to put a little bit of documentation together as well, there are a few steps teams have to do before they can use the Match Day App.
    3. Schedule
      1. Roche: I’m trying to load the schedule in RX but I believe the Clubs need to add their Teams. 
      2. Young: From the beta test we did I believe we had to add the Teams? 
      3. Tate: If we can do that, we can also control the nomenclature and all that as well.
      4. Roche: Testing…ok that looks like it will work. Will make sure that the naming convention is uniform and pretty. I’m loading the schedule into RX this week and then it will go into WTR as well.
  3. TRU/RRRC Elections
    1. Tate: We have two elections that didn’t receive a quorum and so we will need to reopen for votes. We had a few elections that were decided and a few that tied. The ties will be broken by the RRRC Chair and TRU President per the guidelines.
    2. Dodge; Are we doing another round or extending the vote?
    3. Tate: I say we extend the voting period. We will indicate who hasn’t voted and who isn’t registered (has to be both) and give them X amount of days to vote. I think this may be an understanding gap, for example we have clubs that voted for their divisional rep but then didn’t vote for TRU Vice President. It’s not that they aren’t responding or it’s the wrong contact, they voted for one thing and not all of the things they could have voted in.
    4. Young: Also I sent individual ballots, learning the lesson that I could have done one big ballot for TRU and one for RRRC. We’ve never had this much interest in the committees before! Good problem to have.
    5. Tate: Ok, if we communicate by tomorrow via the website and by email, we could have voting reopened until Friday at 5pm?
    6. Young: That sounds fine.
    7. Dodge: For Men’s D2, there was a tie between two candidates; we had a few clubs not respond and some voted for the third candidate. I went to the Men’s D2 clubs and we decided that the best decision would be to extend the vote for the clubs who did not vote and the club who voted for the third candidate not part of the tie. That deadline will also be Friday.
    8. Tate: The other tie was TRU MD1 where all six clubs voted. A runoff would have likely had the same results so I broke the tie. I have already spoken with Alex and we’re going to get him involved and allow him to bring his perspective and voice to what we’re doing.
      1. TRU
        1. Vice President – did NOT meet quorum; will reopen till Friday
        2. Women’s – did NOT meet quorum; will reopen till Friday
        3. MD1 – Tied, TRU President broke tie; Dodge winner
      2. RRRC
        1. Women’s – Kiana “KC” Curl winner
        2. MD1 – Michael Norton winner
        3. MD2 – Tied; Dodge requesting teams that didn’t participate to vote by Friday
        4. MD3 – Travis Hughes wins
  4. Fines
    1. Alamo City – paid 8/25
      1. Tate: Ok, so we’re all settled on fines?
      2. Young: Correct, no outstanding fines at this time.
  5. Appeals
    1. Alamo City Appeal of 3/28 Red Card
      1. Tate: We have an appeal from Alamo City and per the Disciplinary regulations this should go to an appellate and not the TRU Board. Unless there is an objection from the Board I will reach out to a few individuals and form a three person panel. We did have a pool but it’s a bit stale and is from before 2019. The goal is to have an 8-10 person pool that we could pull from that is diverse in regards to regions and divisions. We will need to rebuild that pool.
        1. Martin: Could that appellate panel include referees?
        2. Tate: We would love that, please send me any information you have on folks that want to be included.
        3. Martin: Will do.
        4. Tate: Any objections on putting together a panel for this as well as a pool? None. APPROVED.
  6. Grants
    1. Jeff Wegman – Lone Survivor Tournament
      1. Tate: Ok, we’ve received a grant request from Jeff Wegman and the Lone Survivor Tournament. This event is used as a training venue for new referees since it is usually the first tournament after the Summit. Last year they were able to give referees gas money and this year he’d like to provide the referees with a match fee and/or a gift bag.
      2. Martin: I do want to note that TRRA has waived all referee fees for this event. I will mention that word has gotten out that this event gets free referees and we’ve had inquiries from other clubs to allow their events to be used as such.
      3. Tate: I know that TRRA has done deals with Lone Survivor in the past on referee fees if they would make their tournament available as a referee training opportunity. This is not unprecedented.
      4. Martin: It is a social tournament that has no bearing on standings, so it is staffed with brand new referees.
      5. Tate: So the request from BARC is $500 and our understanding is that those funds would be going towards referees and additional incentives above and beyond his tournament getting referee services for free.
      6. Young: Do you give the referee any match fees? Or do they understand they are working for free?
      7. Martin: We haven’t paid them match fees in the past. There has sometimes been an arrangement that BARC would pay them a small fee.
      8. Dodge: Who provides their food for the day?
      9. Martin: BARC provides food.
      10. Roche: I think it is a dangerous precedent to ever offer a referee for free. 
      11. Tate: I hear what you’re saying but I think that is a TRRA matter. Let’s look at this request from BARC and their request to help subsidize the tournament and that the TRU would be helping the training of new referees.
      12. Roche: Do we know how much they are charging for teams?
      13. Tomsak: I don’t know but I know they donate all proceeds to the Lone Survivor Foundation for Wounded Veterans.
      14. Roche: So this grant is really a donation?
      15. Tate: Yes, they are raising money for this charity, allowing teams to knock off the rust and train new referees. I think the precedent we have to be concerned with is other tournaments asking for the same thing. We want to be careful about setting anything like this.
      16. Kurylas: I agree that this could be a slippery slope. I do think the referees should get reimbursed for travel (if incurred).
      17. Tate: I’d feel better about giving a grant to a referee rather than a tournament host.
      18. Dodge: I agree, can we remove the middle man? 
      19. Tomsak: Agree.
      20. Wilson: I’m in the same line as John. I think that if we start now giving to the host then it can snowball. I do believe the referees need to be paid even if they are new.
      21. Hiller: Leaning towards deny…
      22. Tate: I’m inclined to deny this grant but leave open the possibility that TRRA or referees that are attending could request grants.
      23. Martin: Would that request go through the same form?
      24. Tate: I think the form is flexible enough that it can work in this case. If we’re going to do this I’d like to cut out the middleman and give it to people that are going to become new referees. If we give it to a tournament host it can be asked for by other hosts. I see a return in investment to our members by giving funds to new referees rather than tournament hosts.
        1. Tate: We have a grant request for $500 to subsidize their tournament which is being used in part for referee development. Do we have any votes to APPROVE that grant?
          1. Martin: Abstain.
            1. Tate: No votes in favor from anyone else. DENIED.
            2. Tate: I motion that Shawn and I add new referee development to the agenda of our discussion for the 2022-23 referee agreement. Any objections? None. APPROVED. Referee development has always been lumped into our agreement but it’s always worth reviewing if we’re doing enough to get new referees in the game.
            3. Young: I will notify Jeff of the discussion and decision.
  7. All Stars
    1. Young: We’ve announced the Women’s All Star Coaching staff and development and selection camps. The coaching staff is frankly amazing this year with Head Coach Mary Swanstrom returning, Holly Iker returning, Elaine Vassie returning and the addition of Megan Barrett (formally Megan Bonny) who was a USA Eagle 7s star and mental skills specialist Mattison Grey. The “Texas Toast” will be looking to improve on their second place finish in last year’s Mary Graham All Stars.
    2. Tate: Holy cow, that’s a great team. Not the first female coaching staff but it’s been awhile.
    3. Young: We’ve set up a club in RX called “TRU All Stars” where College players can register if they want to participate. This is due to them leaving the TRU and joining NCR. We absolutely want to offer players that are over 18 (as of Dec 1, 2022) but they need to be properly registered with USA Rugby. Do we want to have them pay TRU dues or can we waive as we’ve done in the past with the “At Large” registration?
    4. Tate: USA Rugby has to charge their dues, it is up to us if we want to charge TRU dues. USA won’t charge them twice to be a college or a Senior player and should only charge the highest rate. Frankly we need them to pay TRU dues as we’re providing a service to a non-member otherwise.
    5. Dodge: Yes, I think there could be pushback from the USAR Council on if we’re subsidizing this. How many are we talking about?
    6. Young: I think there were 7 college players last year. 
    7. Tate: Ok, so this is specifically for college players that are registering with NCR and for them to participate in a USAR event they must be a member. Likewise if they want to participate in a TRU event they need to be registered. 
    8. Young: Correct. Could we look at charging half the TRU dues since they would only be participating in one event? 
    9. Tate: That’s a possibility. I haven’t thought about it. I believe we could give a discount code in RX and it could apply to any events that we wanted. We also want these players to matriculate into Senior rugby. The best we could do is a discount in the TRU dues otherwise our hands are pretty tied. Let’s take some time to think about this. When do you need to know?
    10. Young; The first tryout is October 9 and we would ask that they are properly registered with USA and the TRU.
    11. Tate: Ok, let me think on this a bit and will share a proposal.
  8. 2023 Summit/HOF
    1. August 26-27, 2023 – we will now have the Summit & HOF annually on the last weekend of August.
      1. Tate: Wendy and I talked about this while we were sitting around the registration table at the Summit. We’ve tried doing it earlier and we’ve tried doing it earlier and this seems to be the best weekend.
      2. Young: Birthday drinks for me every time!
      3. Tate: Location is intended to be in the DFW area for 2023, Austin 2024 and back to Houston 2025. That is of course dependent on hotel availability but we’ve generally had good luck. We are also going to be doing some brainstorming on the courses that we’re offering. We’ve noticed declining registrations in some areas; we’ve held the same core courses for 7 years now. 
  9. Operating Procedures Review
    1. Tate: Wendy and I also talked about reviewing the TRU OP’s while we were at the Summit. These are old and most are pre-pandemic. There has also been drift as we’ve added new things to them and they’ve become a hodgepodge of different revisions. This won’t be changing individual policies but a cleaning up and rearranging so clubs can find what they need. This is actually something that I spoke to Alex Rees about and he mentioned this was an area of interest for him. I may bring him in to help with this unless there is an outcry? Obviously if there is a policy change required that would be run by the right committee.
    2. Dodge: Is there a way when searching the site to exclude the news and minutes that we generate on a monthly basis.
    3. Young: There are some google tricks but not directly on the site. 
    4. Tate: We could look at putting tags on things. Then you could search for a specific tag or hashtag and it would come up without all the extraneous information.
    5. Young: The other thing that needs to be done is a cleanup of our archives and redirecting it to the right place. In the past we used the article function to push out policy changes. Those are now going directly into the Operating Procedures. 
    6. Tate: We could also remove the historical documents and place them in our Google Drive. That way we don’t lose them but they are still available in our archives. Any objections on including Alex on this cleanup effort? None. APPROVED, I will confirm he is interested.
  10. Potential Sponsor
    1. Tate: We have a potential Union sponsor through Brad DuLong. Early on it would be the company attending matches or events and giving away their product. They would tag us on social media and we would reciprocate. We wouldn’t have to do anything other than generate the views they want and then if we meet the formula they provide they provide cash. We talked about them as a potential cash sponsor for MG All Stars, Championships and such. They do not have a conflict with any other beverage providers as they are an energy drink provider. They would not go to a club’s match if they already had a conflicting sponsor. I’m reviewing a document that Brad has sent and I will also share it with the Board. Right now I don’t see a big downside and if we don’t generate the engagement that they are looking for then they don’t give us anything.
    2. Young: What are the returns?
    3. Tate: It’s provided in the document that I’ll share. They are also looking for influencers… 
  11. 501c3
    1. Tate: Still waiting on the government.
  12. New Business
    1. Sep/Oct availability
      1. Roche: Since I’ll be at the RWC from Sept 23-November 1, I will be available but the time zones are not friendly. 
      2. Young: I will also be at the RWC from October 20-31 and will generally not be available.
      3. Tate: I will be in Argentina and Uruguay September 27-October 9 on vacation.
      4. Young: Just wanted to put those dates out there. League matches start November 19 so we should be OK as far as the season starting.
  13. Meeting Adjournment (9:49 PM)