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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 1/16/23

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. Martin
    4. Kurylas
    5. Dodge
    6. Tate
    7. Hiller
    8. McPhail
    9. Tomsak
    10. Ohmann-Wilson
      1. Regrets
        1. None.
  2. 12/10 OKC Tribe v Alliance
    1. Tate: When we discussed this in December it was my impression that the match had been rescheduled by the two clubs and that while everybody was unhappy about it, I was not aware that OKC Tribe was specifically requesting that the TRU Board would declare the match a forfeit. We have since received emails from Rod Puentes and from John White that they believe that the match should be declared a forfeit. My understanding is that they have already rescheduled the match. So the first thing I’d like to confirm is that we have the rescheduled match on schedule and if a referee is scheduled.
    2. Roche: I recall receiving the request but am double checking. We received a reschedule for Jan 28. There isn’t a referee assigned yet.
    3. Tate: After receiving these emails I went and reviewed our reschedule policy which is heavily focused on weather. It does not currently cover what happens if a team doesn’t want to play. It does cover the home team securing a fit pitch, weather issues and what happens if a match has to be rescheduled. As we discussed a month ago we don’t have precedence and the regulations are silent on this particular case. One way to look at it would be to treat it in the same way as HURT that even though the team was there it was in effect a refusal to play without sufficient notice to the required parties. That would fall into the category of an unplayed forfeit. The other way to view it would be that if the concerns about the pitch were reasonable then you could say it was an act of God and due to weather it should be rescheduled. To me these are the only outcomes I can see. That’s my perception, what does everyone else think?
    4. Kurylas: I’ve spoken to OKC and received emails from Alliance about the situation. Alliance’s coaches deemed the field unplayable even after OKC worked on it. They felt that it was unsafe for their players to play on the field.
    5. Tomsak: Did they say why?
    6. Kurylas: They felt that 60% of the field was unplayable with large amounts of water.
    7. Dodge: Before OKC said they wanted it to be a forfeit they went ahead and rescheduled?
    8. Kurylas: They initiated the reschedule right away but would also like it to be considered a forfeit. I can see what OKC is saying but this feels like a slippery slope. This all started because the referee deemed the original field as unplayable.
    9. Tate: I don’t want to create a situation where we are penalizing a club for proactively rescheduling a match just in case TRU doesn’t deem it a forfeit. We talk about wanting teams to be proactive and we preach that.
    10. Dodge: Was that the timing or was the reschedule agreed upon verbally at the field?
    11. Kurylas: Let me look through my notes, I’m not sure.
    12. Roche: I also don’t think we should put referees under the gun like this. I do understand that we have a duty to judge field safety but it can put a referee under an insane pressure. One team is claiming that their players could be unsafe and another is fine with it…we don’t need to go down that road.
    13. Kurylas: I can’t recall if there was a verbal agreement between the teams on a reschedule as the conversations were a few weeks ago.
    14. Tate: Right, so we have a situation where the referee did deem the original field as unplayable when the teams and referee arrived. OKC worked for a period of time to attempt to make the field playable to address the field conditions. At some point, an hour or two…right John?
    15. Kurylas: Yes, it was at least 90 minutes to improve the field.
    16. Tate: OKC postponed the kick-off for over an hour and they worked to address the field conditions. Eventually the Alliance coach deemed the field to still be unplayable and they refused to play. Is that correct with your conversations that you had with OKC and Alliance? Dave, does that match your interactions with teams?
    17. McPhail: I wasn’t directly involved with the teams but notifications came afterwards. This was mainly handled by the reps.
    18. Tate; Got it. Shawn, anything additional from the referee side?
    19. Martin: Everything I’ve heard is accurate to what was shared with me by the referees.
    20. Tate: After OKC had worked on the field did he feel comfortable with the work that had been done?
    21. Martin: He felt the field was playable but did not want to tell a team that felt unsafe that they had to play.
    22. Tate: OK, at this point unless we had a good reason to believe that Alliance’s coach was being unreasonable that this is a weather cancellation. Does anyone have any evidence that Alliance to the contrary?
    23. Tomsak: I don’t know about that but could we require that Alliance bring the exact roster? They traveled short and could have an advantage of a full roster due to the reschedule.
    24. Tate: That is an interesting question but I don’t think we have any precedence for this. Dodge?
    25. Dodge: The only match I can think of was the Reds v Black match but it was in progress so we continued with the same rosters.
    26. Roche: I was thinking the same thing but that match also had weirdness in the roster because of availability of players due to Easter, but an effort was made to ensure both teams had as many available players as possible to make the game as fair as possible.
    27. Tate: So if no one feels that we have sufficient evidence to say that Alliance’s coach was trying to game the system. This means the field concerns were legitimate (they certainly were when the referee arrived). I don’t think we can call this a forfeit, does anyone disagree? None.
      1. Tate: OK, so the reschedule will stand. As we talked about last meeting we need to review our policies and contemplate this situation. We need to provide clarity for our teams if something like this comes up again. Typically the RRRC would give input on this and the TRU Board would ratify those recommendations. Are you comfortable with handling this?
      2. McPhail: Of course. Do you have a timeline in mind?
      3. Tate: Sooner than later is better so we can reassure our members that this is being addressed.
      4. McPhail: Agree.
      5. Tate: Generally we don’t make changes to policies during the competitive season but this is big enough we would like to move quickly.
      6. McPhail: OK, I’ll address this with the RRRC.
      7. Tomsak: Is one of the team’s going to cover the referee’s expenses? Since we will be sending a referee twice for this match?
      8. Tate: No, not for weather reschedule. This is considered part of doing business and we will cover the cost of the referee.
      9. Dodge: Do we know how much communication there was beforehand about the weather? My recollection is that it was expected to rain but it was more severe and fast moving than anticipated.
      10. Martin: There was some discussion because Tribe moved the match from their field since it was unplayable to the Crusader’s field.
      11. Tate: To your point, the weather came in fast and the host team made other plans proactively. 
  3. Reschedules
    1. 11/19 HARC vs Woodlands M
    2. 12/17 Little Rock vs Austin 2 W
      1. Roche: We are still awaiting for the following teams to reschedule these matches.
  4. Forfeits
    1. 12/17 Little Rock vs Denton M – Denton played forfeit
      1. Tate: No issues here as they notified ahead of time and it was a played forfeit. As always, we encourage clubs to have played forfeits when at all possible. Please just notify your opponent, TRU (admin@texasrugbyunion.com) and TRRA (admin@texasrugbyref.com) as soon as you can so we can help support.
    2. 1/14 – Huns III vs HURT II M – HURT unplayed forfeit with late notification
      1. Tate: Denton is good here since they played. We are concerned about HURT though?
      2. McPhail: Yes, I’ve been talking with them and we’re a bit concerned they may not be able to finish out the season with their D3 side. Talking with them more and they are following all eligibility rules but are trying to keep the rosters as separate as possible. Even with merging the rosters they still didn’t have enough for this trip. They are concerned about the rest of the season but I will be having a conversation with Blake Horn tomorrow about this.
      3. Tate: My understanding was that their D2 team didn’t have a match?
      4. McPhail: Correct.
      5. Tate: The policy doesn’t assess fines for played forfeit but we can for unplayed. Are they aware of that?
      6. McPhail: Yes, they were reminded of this and I also highly recommended they play to avoid any penalties. That was taken under consideration but after further consideration they chose not to attend. I also let them know that this could impact their club going forward for multiside matches.
      7. Tate: The original notifications as Friday evening?
      8. McPhail: The initial was Thursday evening and I’ve been talking with them all weekend. It was after the published deadline of Wednesday though.
      9. Tate: Ok, so this is a non-played forfeit with an untimely notification. According to our policies, this is a first offense on a non-played forfeit without adequate notification is $150 + referee costs. The $150 would go to the Huns and the rest would cover referee fees since they canceled late.
      10. McPhail: I concur.
      11. Tate: Any objections? None. APPROVED.
        1. Tate: I want to make sure this is clear, if it had been a played forfeit with less than 15 players or guest players then there would be no fine. If it was an unplayed forfeit BUT they provided notification there is no automatic fine. The difference here is that it was an unplayed forfeit AND the notification was late….that is why a fine has been assessed in this instance. The late notification is to help the host team, referees, etc who may have already bought food and such.
        2. Dodge: One more point, when HURT’s second side was put into the competition, I believe Travis purposely scheduled their matches so they wouldn’t have both of their sides playing away matches at the same time.
        3. McPhail: Travis did confirm that via email at some point on Friday.
    3. 1/14 Corpus Christi vs ORC M – ORC unplayed forfeit with late notification (Friday afternoon)
      1. Tate: We will apply the policy consistent with our application to HURT above. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
  5. Roster Requirements – Fines begin Jan 28th
    1. 1/14 Alliance vs LR M – LR roster had issues
    2. 1/14 BARC vs Rage W – Rage had issues
    3. 1/14 Ft Hood vs McAllen M – Ft Hood had issues
    4. 1/14 Arrows vs Galveston M – Galveston was late
    5. etc…
      1. Tate: We had mentioned that we are giving clubs a grace period so that they could get used to the new software and processes. We know that every year clubs have administrative turnover as well. We want to give clubs an opportunity to get acclimated. We’re going to start assessing for reporting violations (which we have always done) effective the weekend of the 28th. This weekend coming up is the last grace period or practice weekend to have all of this dialed in. 
      2. Young: As an example we would fine the above clubs $25 and any others that weren’t in compliance.
      3. Roche: I want to clarify that we aren’t assessing fines for names withheld?
      4. Young: We are.
      5. Tate: Agree, they need to make sure their roster is all set including no name withheld issues.
      6. Roche: I want to clarify…if we really will assess fines then the list is much longer. The above list is impartial. My concern is that we generally only fine clubs for something they didn’t do. This is something that is almost out of their hands.
      7. Tate: I disagree. Clubs have always had the obligation to provide rosters to their opponents that affirmatively identify their players. Even when we had to print it out and highlight names, etc. This is an obligation to inform the referee of who is playing so that we can assess discipline and that things are doing fairly. We cannot under any circumstances exempt these clubs from providing an accurate roster from the Union or the referee. There is no excuse for fielding anonymous players and it’s not acceptable.
      8. McPhail: That is the conversation we had on the RRRC call as well.
      9. Roche: I agree with those statements but I still feel that RX allows that option and it is a burden on the club administrator to check this. If RX gave a warning then it would be a different story.
      10. Dodge: Is there a safe harbor here…if clubs circulate a PDF copy beforehand it can help clear up any issues. This would be a printout from RX so it shows the correct names.
      11. Roche: But we check the rosters on Friday night before the match, and will apply the fines Friday night before the match.
      12. Tate: If the club provides written identification to all parties beforehand while they work on resolving the problem then I think we can waive a fine for a few more weeks. Ultimately these clubs need to fix the roster and that is on them. I agree that if a club says we’re trying to resolve but they can’t do it by Friday night they can proactively share a paper roster to everyone.
      13. Dodge: I don’t know if I agree with that. To Kat’s point you can’t see who’s name is withheld in RX. 
      14. Young: Correct, it’s only on the public roster or on the Matchday app.
      15. Dodge: However, it’s a few steps to get this corrected as you enter the roster, check the public roster/MatchDay, contact that player and then wait for them to correct. You then have to go back to RX once it’s done and remove and re-add the user. It’s quite a few steps.
      16. Tate: The community needs to understand that this will turn into an eligibility nightmare down the road. Someone could claim that the player didn’t play the required number of matches or they are ineligible because they played too many upper level matches or are a professional, etc. An accurate roster stops all of that. The player who chose to withhold their name may be told they aren’t able to play.
      17. Tomsak: Is there any way to remove this issue?
      18. Tate: It’s a change that RX will have to make but it’s an option that must be present for Australian and Europe due to their privacy laws. It is in discussion at the National office but we are unsure of when or if there will be a fix. I agree that that would be the ideal solution.
      19. McPhail: I do want to recognize that Norton and the other RRRC reps are spending their evenings working with clubs to fix this. It’s not from lack of effort from the RRRC members at all.
      20. Tate: Yes, we appreciate that work. To wrap this up, clubs must have their rosters input the evening before the match by 7pm or they will be fined $25. They must also have all of their match data in place by Monday at 5pm or they could be fined $25. They will not be fined twice if they missed their roster and their CMS on the same weekend. We don’t want your money, we want strong data that supports and validates our competitions.
  6. WRCRA Conference
    1. Young: I attended the WRCRA conference this weekend in Virginia. It was very well attended with over 160 people. I was on two panels, the first was an administrative panel where I shared how we work in the TRU with a focus on accountability, communication and transparency with our members. The second panel was around journalism and how we can keep bringing women’s rugby to the forefront. Mary Swanstrom who has moved from Texas but I’m going to keep claiming her…she organized and presented in the Player Welfare Symposium on Sunday. On Saturday evening Krista McFarrena and Julia McCoy were honored with Kathy Flores Lifetime Achievement Awards along with 6 others. The TRU was well represented along with attendees from HARC and Texas A&M.
    2. Tate: Fantastic, I am so glad you were asked to participate and were able to go. Congratulations to Krista and Julia and well done Mary on adding the Medical Symposium to the conference.
  7. All Stars
    1. Dodge: This was bumped from this month’s SCC call but I’ve asked it to be placed on the next meeting. I’m working on financial’s and will present to the SCC so it will be a good meeting to review.
    2. Young: Excellent. I had a good conversation with Martha Daines with USAR HP about their U23 tournament. She would like to explore adding a second event and combining it with their U23 event in the summer. It’s early days but I think it’s an interesting idea to explore.
  8. 501c3
    1. Tate: Still waiting on the government. 
  9. New Business
    1. None.
  10. Meeting Adjournment (9:02 PM)