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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 10/10/22

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. Dodge
    3. Hanlon
    4. Keuppens
    5. Martin
    6. Fosco
    7. Norton
    8. Curl
    9. Horn
    10. Buckner (Guest)
    11. Dale
    12. McPhail (Guest)
    13. Kurylas
    14. Hughes
      1. Regrets
        1. Roche
  2. Committee Election Results / Welcome
    1. Dodge: First off, I want to welcome our new members to the committee. Mike Norton comes in as MD1 rep replacing Jeff Kolberg, Blake Horn as MD2 taking over for Marcus Leming, and KC Curl taking over for Wendy Young. We appreciate Marcus, Kolberg and Wendy for their service to this Committee and the Union over the years. At the same time, it is great to have new folks on the committee as well.
  3. New Chair Election
    1. Dave Mcphail
    2. Sallie Buckner
      1. Dodge: Our first task is to select the new Chair of this committee. The process for how we will do it was previously sent out to the committee. Sallie will go first and Dave will go into a breakout room, then we will reverse.
      2. Buckner: Thanks Dave, I’ll keep this short and sweet. The reason I want to  join this committee is that I want to keep rugby at a very high standard. The TRU and RRRC is already held in high regard and I want to be a part of that and maintain that standard. I’ve been in administration for quite a while with HARC in various roles from administrator to President. Professionally, I work in administrative compliance in the HR and Legal departments. From my rugby administrative experience and my professional resume I feel very confident that I can take on this leadership role.Any questions I can answer?
      3. Dodge: You recently took on the President of HARC, a growing club. How do you feel about taking on additional responsibilities in addition to that role?
      4. Buckner: I’ve always had a large role with HARC so the step up to PResident isn’t very different as far as a time commitment. I do recognize that I would need to continue delegating in both roles so the load remains manageable. I would focus on communication and leadership as my main roles.
      5. Hanlon: Three years from now what would a healthy competition look like for you throughout all the divisions?
      6. Buckner: A healthy competition for me is one where we are growing and the communication has been set and flowing bottom up to RRRC and down. We would all also all have the same goal in mind as far as competitions.
      7. Hughes: What do you think we;re doing well and what could we be doing better on the RRRC?
      8. Buckner: The administrative side of the RRRC is very good. An example is the WD1 and our written guidelines as we have a cross-over league with Frontier. The RRRC has very clear policies and procedures. However, I still see struggles with all clubs following all of our policies and procedures.
      9. Hughes: What do you think we can do to address that shortfall?
      10. Buckner: I think one way could be to look at using Apps to facilitate contact between the clubs. The door is always open to RRRC, Wendy, etc but it should be a push and pull rather than just a pull.
      11. Dodge: Any additional questions?
      12. Buckner: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. 
      13. Dodge: Ok, we’ll move on to Dave McPhail. Thanks for waiting in the breakout room.
      14. McPhail: First of all, thank you for having me on your call and giving me a few minutes. I want to thank Dodge for the nomination. I’ve worked with many of you over the years and I look forward to working with you if I’m selected. You’ve seen my resume, I’ve been in rugby administration and competitions for many years. I’ve worked at regional and national events over many years. Most recently I have been helping FIl Keuppens with the RRRC 7s and also helped him with the most recent USA Rugby National 7s Championships. You are the boots on the ground and I would very much run this committee from your input.
      15. Dodge: I’ll ask the same question as I asked Sallie re bandwidth.
      16. McPhail: Professionally I work from home and I am a recent empty nester with my girls going off to college. My only rugby commitments are RRRC 7s and with the USA Rugby National 7s Club Championships. I also continue helping Atlantis 7s but that is ad hoc. I have no affiliations with any clubs or any other roles in rugby. 
      17. Hughes: I will ask the same one I asked Sallie. What are our strengths and weaknesses?
      18. McPhail: From working with Fil, Dodge and Wendy that we are the model for USA Rugby. It is well run from the bottom up and top down. Being able to help work the Championship event for XVs showed us that we had a great venue, great administrative support. The fact that it is one of the most recognized organizations is an honor to even be considered. I think we can raise the bar for Championship events and do even better than we have in the past.
      19. Hanlon: Same for me, if we look three years into the future what does a healthy competition look like?
      20. McPhail: I think this comes from the committee and what you think is healthy. It also comes down to administration, field venues, cost of production is going up…partnership with TRRA is key. It’s not what I think it should look like but rather what you and the members want. I would continue to build on the good work of the committee. 
      21. Dodge: Any other questions? Any closing remarks?
      22. McPhail: I think I’m a great candidate and believe Sallie is as well. I look forward to working with the committee and would like the comm to maintain and grow our status as the top organization in the USA. I look forward to the challenge.
      23. Dodge: Ok, Sallie and Dave are back in the room. The committee had extensive discussion and a vote; I would like to thank both of our candidates, but congratulate Dave McPhail as he has been elected as the new Chair. 
      24. McPhail: Thank you.
      25. Buckner: Thank you, have a great night.
  4. Upcoming Season
    1. Compliance
      1. Young: We’re looking better and better. 37 of 44 clubs are registered, but several do not have L200 coaches registered because they have not completed the required certifications (Safe Sport, concussion awareness). We will continue our weekly checks to ensure compliance and send notes to clubs if they are missing anything.
    2. Schedule – RX and WTR
      1. Dodge: Everything has been loaded into WTR and RX, right?
      2. Young: Almost, waiting on a few things for WD1. 
    3. Draft Playoffs Pathways
      1. Dodge: We’ve completed the pathways, when do you think that will be live on the site Wendy?
      2. Young: I’m hoping to put it up tomorrow.
      3. Dodge:  Will the standings tables and schedules from RX be up on the TRU website as well.
      4. Young:  Yes, shortly.
        1. Young: UPDATE 10/12 These have been updated on the website. We are seeing an intermittent problem where the standings table (RX calls it a Ladder) isn’t being displayed properly but want to wait until we start matches to see if it resolves itself. We will keep an eye on this feature.
    4. USA Rugby Championships
      1. Dodge: After a rather contentious USAR SCC call, Nationals will be the June 2-4 weekend, rather than the weekend before Memorial Day as they were last year.  So there is a gap in our season as we were planning for the third week of May. 1.  Because our MD2, MD3, and WD2 teams will still play in the Super Regional (which will be somewhere in the Southern Conference this season), this change really only has an adverse impact on the MD1 Champion, that will have a 6-week break between the Red River / TRU Championship match and the finals weekend.  I’d suggest that the MD1 reps see if they can get an agreement among the MD1 Clubs such that, whoever wins, will host some team from outside the Club competition on the Super Regional weekend to give the MD1 team a meaningful match during that 6 week period.   Maybe someone like Glendale or a touring side from Canada?  You’d have to get the commitment from the MD1 Clubs to get the date and opponent set, however.
      2. How did they justify changing the date with other Unions having already started playing?
      3. Dodge: This suggestion came from the California Unions and was purportedly based on weather concerns. They were able to get a majority of the other Unions to side with them and outvoted us. 
      4. Hughes: You think you’d have to make a motion at least a year out…
      5. Dodge: I think that will be the first weekend in June will be the date going forward so we need to plan on that when making the 7s schedule, and in future 15s schedules. There was a claim that last year was an aberration, a one time thing.
      6. Young: That is BS, I was on the committee and we chose the date to be for multiple years.
    5. Playoff Location Bid Review Sub-committee:
      1. Young: We’ve typically assigned a sub-committee to review the bids. Do we want to continue that practice?
      2. Dodge: Yes, any volunteers?
      3. Young: I’d like to volunteer.
      4. Kurylas: I’ll volunteer. 
      5. Fosco: Me as well.
      6. Norton: Me. 
      7. Hanlon: Me.
      8. Young; Great.
      9. Dodge: Wendy, can you also send out reminders on social media that the bids are open and will close Nov. 1?
      10. Young: Will do!
  5. Eligibility Rules Changes Memo
    1. Redlined
    2. Proposed
      1. Dodge: Major changes are around rules around movement from professional rugby to club. Previously the rule was that if you played in 4 MLR matches you couldn’t play anymore D1. 3 for D2 and 1 for D3 also applied. They’ve eliminated the matches played cap for MD1 entirely, but caps for MD2 and MD3 are still in place. Under another new rule, a D1 team can have up to 5 “professional players” on any one roster, similar to the cap for non-resident players.   “Professional Players” are those who have played in any professional competition during the current or preceding year, but does not include academy play.  “Homegrown players” – those who have been developed by a Club, but have advanced to the point of playing professionally, can also obtain a waiver of the professional player designation on application to the Eligibility Committee.
      2. Keuppens: A quick note that this covers MLR and Premier Rugby 7s and both are considered professional. 
      3. Dodge: Are you working on eligibility rules for 7s? Or are these additional changes for XVs?
      4. Keuppens: I am not sure about more XVs changes but I believe the definition of a professional player has changed.
      5. Dodge: Even from what is posted on the website?
      6. Keuppens: Yes. We are working on it now.
      7. Dodge: More broadly my question is that if there is another iteration of the rules coming out that will apply to XVs, and if so, when will that be available? Some leagues have already started play and we’re about to start.
      8. Keuppens: I’m not sure, I just know we’re working on it.
      9. Dodge: I’ll follow up with Tam.  Some other changes include:  (a) a 60 month waiver for non-residents is similar to the 36 month rule; (b) an in-season transfer is possible now but you must be going to a higher division club and meet the traditional requirement for an in-season transfer; and (c) Club match minimums are back.
      10. Young: I like the one around in-season transfers to higher rugby clubs.
      11. Dodge: That is definitely a big change.  But, it still includes the club checks to ensure that there are no disciplinary concerns or financial obligations for the club that you’re moving from.
      12. Young: Of course.
      13. Dodge: As I mentioned, match minimums are back in but they are very low requirements.
      14. Young: Really, those are back in? 
      15. Dodge: Yes, but it is 6 league matches for all divisions other than WD2, which is  and 4.  Our schedules meet those requirements for all divisions. 
      16. Young: Normally we send a memo on the Eligibility Rules out to our members but it sounds like there are still revisions going on?
      17. Dodge: Correct, we would normally share these out. Let me check with Tam on if there are any other changes coming before we do that.
  6. New Proposed National Policies for NCS Matches:
    1. Forfeit Policy
    2. Overtime Policy
      1. Dodge: Here are a couple of new draft policies and they are mainly focused on the Super Regional and later NCS rounds. I think we should look at adopting at least the overtime policy because our current overtime policy can add quite a bit of time to a match. The forfeit policy has seen some pushback as Unions don’t want to be responsible if a club doesn’t show up. Neither of these have been approved by the SCC yet but are in discussion. Included in the forfeit policy is a “declaration of participation” that is also garnering quite a bit of discussion at the National level.
      2. Hughes: Yes the wording around the declaration of participation is very confusing, as it suggests the Union has to name its advancing teams by April 1, and we won’t have decided who is advancing by that time.
      3. Dodge: Yes, I’ve noted that to Tam, and she said the intent was to just have the Union specify the divisions that would participate in the NCS rounds, not the specific advancing teams.
  7. USA Rugby Senior Club Council Competitions Chair Opening
    1. Dodge: There is an opening for the XVs USAR CCC Chair and certain committee spots. Tam Breckenridge has been the interim Chair so the committee is continuing their work.  Last I heard, nominations for those spots would open at the next SCC call on 10/19.  If you know of anyone interested in any of these positions, please have them contact Kirk Tate.
  8. New Business
    1. None.
  9. Meeting Adjournment (9:16 PM)