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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 12/12/22

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. Kurylas
    3. Keuppens
    4. Dale
    5. Norton
    6. McPhail
    7. Martin
    8. Fosco
    9. Curl
    10. Dodge
    11. Hanlon
      1. Regrets
        1. Horn
  2. RX
    1. Registration Numbers
      1. Young: Registrations are still looking strong, we have 1,571 as of this morning. That is 515 behind last year’s but we did have W College included. Minus that we are 326 behind the curve and we normally see a big jump in the spring. I’ll be updating this information in the compliance report at the end of each month.
    2. Transfers
      1. Young: We’re received 10-15 emails, texts, or phone calls about transfers (domestic clearances is what RX calls them). This is much higher than normal and somewhat expected due to the new software. However, we are receiving requests on Friday afternoon and are being asked to expedite. Unfortunately most of these are not waiting on the Union but rather other Clubs or other Unions. We put up a website post and sent an email to all@texasrugbyunion.com to try and explain and it also includes helpful links. 
      2. McPhail: Yes, clubs and players should endeavor to get these requests in place as quickly as possible. Many of us have multiple roles and these can be easily overlooked.
      3. Young: I also discovered that USA Rugby is no longer checking individual player eligibility during the season. They are only checking closer to USAR playoffs. I’m not as clear on these rules or guidelines and we probably need to write something up. Or does that exist already?
      4. Keuppens: I can provide some clarity here, Tam Breckenridge is still the USA Rugby Eligibility Chair and expecting to review appeals and things like that. If the RRRC wants to use her as a resource I am sure we could. What do you think Dodge?
      5. Dodge: I think she is more in an advisory capacity than before. As I understand it most of the transfer requests are signed off on by the local Union and the Club. If there is an appeal they are still working out how that would be dealt with. Tam will really kick in when we reach the NCS rounds. There is also a new transfer rule around “rugby-related transfer” where a player can transfer up to a higher division. That is documented in the 2022-23 Eligibility Regulations section 7.5.2.E
      6. Keuppens: In other words, if a player is playing D2 they can move up to D1?
      7. Dodge: I’m not sure how it works for multi-side clubs? It seems it wouldn’t work that well for multi-side. If they have participated in a multi-side club does that preclude them from transferring?
      8. Keuppens: I think if someone is moving from Austin to Dallas or the other way it’s a geographical question. 
      9. McPhail: Do you mind getting a hold of Tam and sharing the document? We can figure out if this is a RRRC or TRU process? 
      10. Young: It’s just the new eligibility rules right? 
      11. Keuppens: Yes. There is a redline one as well.
      12. McPhail: Ok, I’ll get with Kirk and we can make a process or borrow if there is already one out there.
      13. Young: Awesome, thanks.
    3. Issues/Feature Requests
      1. Front Row, non-resident or “professional” player designation / Print roster
        1. McPhail: Do we need to remind clubs to be sure they are printing the front row waiver and putting their designations on some sort of roster?
        2. Martin: I would like something because Matchday isn’t providing this information yet.
        3. Keuppens: Would it be too much for clubs to email a link to a Google sheet so it can be tracked? This would allow it to be a mobile change if needed. I don’t think that is too much for the clubs?
        4. Norton: Working on the name withheld thing, that is turning into quite a bit of work. Not everyone has the same technical expertise. What you’re describing may be easy for some but not all. 
        5. Young: Not to mention some clubs only have one administrator and they are also the captain and only sub. 
        6. Norton: It sounds like we are asking clubs to create something additional that should be in the app already.
        7. Keuppens: Do we just require clubs to submit something?
        8. McPhail: Shawn do you have a preference if this is digital or paper?
        9. Martin: I think digital would be fine. 
        10. Young: I wonder if we can use RX as it exists…it seems like you can go to your Club’s RX page (https://xplorer.rugby/texas/clubs) and use the player lineup? I’ll get with Kat and see if we can make this manageable.
      2. How to track eligibility?
        1. Young: We have received a few requests for bugs or feature improvements for RX. I thought as GU Admins we were going to get insight into the list that was being worked on but it hasn’t come to light. I can check with Jamie because some of this might be on the list.
        2. Norton: I believe some of this is available within RX (eligibility). There is a report ‘Player & Team Official History Report’ that is available and appears to have most of the data that we want.
        3. Hanlon: We tracked this in a spreadsheet last year and there were still issues. The only way to confirm this would be to have game footage available for all.
        4. Young: I really don’t want to have to update another spreadsheet if there is already something available. What if we use this report and add it to the compliance sheet?
        5. Norton: I think that would be a good first step. 
        6. Young: Cool, I’ve gone ahead and added it to our compliance page quickly. Will you just choose the columns and then I can copy your template?
        7. Norton: Sure.
      3. Name Withheld
        1. Young: We know this is on the fix list for RX but we don’t know the priority or how long the fix will take. How’s it been going Norton?
        2. Norton: I’ve been going through the rosters and generally I’m starting with the larger clubs because they have more rosters to deal with. This past week there was only one club that didn’t have an issue…everyone else had issues and we have one club that never entered a roster.
          1. Norton: Alliance never entered a roster, do we have a policy to enforce that?
          2. Young: No, it is a new policy and the TRU didn’t include enforcement in their announcement. I can put it on the agenda for the TRU to discuss next week, I think there are two parts here, clubs aren’t doing their roster and/or allowing name withheld on their roster.
        3. Norton: I won’t be available this Friday and need someone to take this on this week.
        4. Keuppens: I’m free.
        5. Young: I think one problem is that the clubs don’t know where you are seeing ‘name withheld’. Clubs put their squad list in RX and it doesn’t withhold the name there. They should then go view their public roster either in the Matchday app or on their RX Club website (https://xplorer.rugby/texas/clubs) to see any issues. They will then need to have those players adjust their settings and then the administrator should remove and re-add to the squad list in RX. 
  3. OKC Tribe v Alliance 12/10
    1. Kurylas: I spoke with Rod of OKC Tribe yesterday about this incident. In a nutshell OKC Tribe did everything they did to make the field playable, the referee agreed that the field was acceptable but Alliance refused to play.
    2. Martin: The Tribe proactively moved the match from their pitch to the OKC Crusaders field due to inclement weather (heavy rains). The referee was halfway to OKC and was informed that the field was unplayable in it’s current condition. The Tribe spent 90 minutes removing water with brooms, leaf blowers and buckets. Even though the referee felt that their efforts made the field safe, Alliance disagreed and the referee didn’t feel that he could compel Alliance to play.
    3. McPhail: What made the referee feel comfortable that the pitch was suitable?
    4. Martin: I would say that the referee felt comfortable from the start but was trying to be accommodating to the club’s concerns.
    5. Norton: Do we have a policy that says that if the referee deems it safe…teams should play?
    6. McPhail: I read through everything I could find and the World Rugby laws and it implies that the referee is the neutral party and is in charge of the safety of the players…they can make the call. Nothing I found explicitly said “you shall play” if the referee says so.
    7. Young: This appears to be covered in World Rugby Law 1.12. I agree with McPhail that it only implies that the referee can deem the pitch is safe though.
    8. Martin: Is there a policy that indicates a team can protest?
    9. Young: Yes, that is included in WR Law 1 and we include it in the RRRC Book Check policy that you can play a match under protest but that is normally due to eligibility concerns or things like that…there is a small part indicating that “the only acceptable reason not to play a match would be for player safety reasons. This is the only “ruling” that the referee will make outside their normal match day procedures.”
    10. Dale: I also interpret WR Law 1 to indicate that if the referee deemed it safe then it is playable.
    11. Fosco: Did the referee deem it safe as a former rugby player or from a perspective from a referee and player safety concerns?
    12. Martin: Looking at the referee’s report, he indicates that the pitch was firm and there was some water but it was not deep or unsafe.
    13. Dale: We also didn’t hear from Alliance on why they protested.
    14. Hanlon: Is it odd that they didn’t put in a roster and then this happens?
    15. Young: That’s what I was thinking….always want to be of good intention but…
    16. Kurylas: Rod shared a photo of a match played a couple of years ago with standing water at the same pitch. In 2019, we hosted a D3 wildcard match in similar conditions and Alliance played in that game. 
    17. McPhail: The Cape Town 7s SFs and Finals had monsoon conditions this weekend and they played on. The grass was probably in better condition than most pitches. 
    18. Young: Did we try and get a report from Alliance?
    19. Kurylas: I haven’t yet but will reach out now.
    20. McPhail: Let’s put a 48 hours response timeline on that and try to get this resolved as quickly as possible.
    21. Young: The TRU has a call next week so I appreciate the timeliness. 
  4. W college players eligible to play XVs? (Round Rock Rage)
    1. Young: This was a question from RR around if college players can dual register and participate in XVs matches. I know we were quite flexible with this in the past and/or with COVID but wanted to check where we are now. The NCR clubs will be playing 7s this Spring.
    2. Fosco: We have had college players on our roster before but it was mostly because they only played 7s in the North (not XVs).
    3. Dodge: They would need to register with USAR and the TRU and pay the required dues. This would be an additional cost to them as NCR is non-affiliated with USAR.
    4. McPhail: Agree. I think this is fine but will review the eligibility regulations as well. Generally does anyone have an issue with allowing this as long as the player is registered and the eligibility regulations allow it?
    5. Dodge: One point of clarification, will they be playing at the same time?
    6. Fosco: In the past they played 7s in the Fall and so they would be done by the time we started XVs in December. 
    7. Young: This time around the women’s colleges are playing XVs in the Fall and 7s in the Spring. Most of our matches are in the Spring this season. I don’t see a conflict but wanted to confirm with the group.
    8. McPhail: Yes and I don’t see a detriment, we want more people playing rugby.
    9. Dodge: I just did a quick search of the regs and I didn’t see anything on college transfers.
    10. Young: I don’t think you can “transfer” anymore, it’s going to be a new registration. That makes it quite clean then.
  5. WD2
    1. Young: The women’s reps (Monique, Whitney, Kat and Wendy) have been having lots of discussions around the WD2 division. First we had concerns around the San Antonio Riveters as they don’t have a compliant coach and had very few registered players. We have gotten ahold of them and they had an administrative change and are getting their feet under them. We will be keeping a close eye on them as their first match is January 21. We also heard from the Valkyries that they also are struggling and have had a coach and administrative turnover as well. They have 30+ players registered but only have 10-12 players coming to training. They are committed to their WD1 and WD2 matches but have requested a few adjustments to their D2 schedule to try and help with numbers at matches and overall schedule.
    2. Martin: What game is being rescheduled or dropped?
    3. Young: This weekend at Little Rock is being rescheduled and they are looking at dropping the 2/4/23 match. 
    4. Dodge: How many matches do you think they are rescheduling?
    5. Young: 2 matches in all.
    6. McPhail: Are we ok as far as playoffs and such?
    7. Young: Yes, because WD2 this year includes all the clubs so this would only potentially affect seeding. 
    8. McPhail: Playing devil’s advocate, if these matches don’t happen then we are looking at unplayed forfeits?
    9. Young: Yes and the Valks are aware. We have precedent for this as it has happened with MD1 and MD2 or MD3 multi-side clubs that don’t quite have the numbers. Think of the Quins in the years past when they struggled to fill out all their multi-side matches when they were low on numbers. We worked with them each match to find guest players and such. We also kept the referees in the loop so we weren’t wasting resources.
    10. Dodge: This is also something we can look at for promotion and relegation. Clubs that forfeit can be automatically relegated.
  6. RRRC Championships 4/22-23
    1. Young: I wanted to share with the committee that the TRU affirmed the recommendation of the sub-committee of the Austin Huns.
    2. McPhail: Do we need to be working with the Huns to make sure they are making the right preparations?
    3. Young: I have an event host spreadsheet that I will share with them and I’ll track it. We can provide updates on this call as well.
  7. Gulf Coast Super Regionals 5/6-7
    1. McPhail: I’ve talked with Kerri a bit and she continues to try and find a venue. Orlando is looking probable but not yet confirmed. The host must confirm the Gulf Coast venue by Feb 15.
  8. USA Rugby 
    1. Championships 6/2-4
      1. Young: Leaving this in here so clubs know the date.
    2. SCC Proposals
      1. Rolling Replacements
      2. NCS Overtime Policy
      3. NCS Forfeiture Policy
        1. Young: We discussed these at the last meeting, any movement Dodge?
        2. Dodge: Overtime and forfeiture policy were approved. I believe rolling replacements are still in review with the committee.
        3. Young: We received quite a few comments on social media around the rolling replacements. Fil, what about the 7s eligibility?
        4. Keuppens: It has been approved, the major changes are around PR7s, MLR, etc waiver options and what tournaments count towards eligibility. Tournaments have to be agreed upon by the 7s Governing Body before they can count towards eligibility. That committee formation is still in the works.
  9. Mary Graham All Stars
    1. Recap
      1. Young: We had the MG All Stars this past weekend and it was a smashing success. We had 8 GU All Star teams for the first time. Midwest Green won Tier 1 and South Panthers won Tier 2. The TRU won on Sunday to remain in Tier 1 for next year. 
    2. USAR SCC Proposal
      1. Young: Has this gotten on the agenda yet?
      2. Dodge: Not yet, I will try to get it on the SCC agenda on 12/21.
      3. Young: Great, thanks!
  10. 7s
    1. McPhail: Now that we’ve got the XVs Championship settled we can start looking at 7s. Kolberg volunteered to help earlier in the year so I pass that over to Keuppens to do with it as he would like.
    2. Young: Are we ready to put in a call for hosts?
    3. Keuppens: I think we could but there are some USAR things at play and we won’t have an answer until January. We may have Super Regional Qualifier events like we had in the West previously. Essentially we have four governing groups and they manage competitions within those groups. The objective is to have those governing groups evolve into a competition group. Our region would be Texas all the way up to the Midwest. We could put out bids but it may not be the same format as before. We still need a South, Central and North location.
    4. McPhail: Do you want to look at the old announcement and adjust accordingly?
    5. Keuppens: Yes, I can do that.
    6. Young: So a North location could be somewhere in the Midwest?
    7. Keuppens: Yes. Theoretically it would be RRRC hosts one, KC and then Chicago as examples. We’re then proposing that teams would have to play in 2 of 3 qualifiers and the average result would be used as their standings. This takes a bit of burden off the clubs as far as travel. 
    8. Young: What happens to our other 7s tournaments like Lonestar or Bloodfest?
    9. Keuppens: They become TOLA but we can apply to the 7s governing body to have those tournaments count for eligibility and/or qualification.
    10. Young: Sounds interesting!
  11. New Business
    1. None
  12. Meeting Adjournment (9:55 PM)