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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 5/8/23

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. Hanlon
      4. Dale
      5. McPhail
      6. Norton
      7. Curl
      8. Martin
      9. Hughes
        1. Regrets
          1. Fosco
          2. Horn
          3. Keuppens
          4. Roche
    2. Forfeits
      1. NEW
        1. 4/22 HARC v Quins W – HARC unplayed, notification on time
        2. 4/29 Utah vs Austin W – Austin forfeit, notified on time
      2. Previously reviewed
        1. 12/17 Little Rock vs Denton M – Denton played forfeit
        2. 1/14 – Huns III vs HURT II M – HURT unplayed forfeit with late notification / TRU fined per policy
        3. 1/21 Grand Prairie vs HURT M – GP unplayed forfeit, notification was done before deadline, no additional sanction
        4. 1/14 Corpus Christi vs ORC M – ORC unplayed forfeit with late notification, TRU fined per policy
        5. 2/4 Shreveport vs Kingwood M – Kingwood unplayed forfeit with Sat morning notification
        6. 2/11 OKC Crusaders vs Denton M – Denton played forfeit
        7. 2/18 Blacks v Grand Prairie MD1 – GP unplayed forfeit by, notification on time
        8. 2/18 Arrows vs Kingwood M – Kingwood played forfeit, notification day of
        9. 3/4 Quins vs Valks W – Valks played forfeit
        10. 3/4 Denton v OKC Tribe M – Denton unplayed forfeit, notification on time
        11. 3/4 Little Rock vs Dallas W – Dallas played forfeit, notification on time
        12. 3/25 Dallas vs Austin Valkyries W – Austin unplayed, notification on time
        13. 3/25 Huns vs Grand Prairie MD1 – GP playfed forfeit, no notification
        14. 3/25 HURT vs Grand Prairie MD3 – GP un-playfed forfeit, notification on time
        15. 4/1 DARC vs Huns MD2 – Huns unplayed forfeit, notification on time
        16. 4/1 Corpus Christi MD3 QF (resolved, see notes below)
        17. 4/15 BARC v HARC W – BARC played forfeit, notification on time
    3. RRRC Championships
      1. Recap
        1. MD1: Austin Blacks
        2. WD1: League matches go until 5/14; overall winner advances to Final Four
        3. MD2: San Antonio
        4. WD2: Little Rock
        5. MD3: Austin Blacks
      2. Hosts
        1. Young: Felt like the Huns and Valkyries did a fantastic job. Beautiful fields and good rugby was played.
        2. McPhail: The only complaint was that it wasn’t easy to identify who was administrative for the Huns. We may want to recommend that the hosts wear easily identifiable shirts or something in the future.
        3. Dale: Yes, I felt like it was a tremendous event, the food was great and there were great crowds. Loved being able to watch the games at home on Sunday.
        4. Norton: Also felt like it was a good event.
      3. Eligibility issues
        1. HTX
          1. Harried Waiver and others
            1. McPhail: Lots of issues with Rugby HTX this year, Harried played for HTX, transferred to West Houston but then still participated in matches with HTX. Clearly HTX knew he transferred and then continued to play him knowing that he had transferred. This also occurred with another player from Chicago who transferred to HTX. We know that RX allows players to be on multiple teams and that is a feature not a bug as it is allowed in Australia. Clearly it is not allowed here and HTXappears to have violated these policies.
            2. Norton: Hard to imagine they didn’t know what they were doing. As it is a new system we did allow for some leeway but this has always been against eligibility policies. 
            3. McPhail: We don’t have a quorum on this call but we need to decide if we want to pursue this. Norton/Kurylas did a ton of work to educate teams and we published tons of information. 
            4. Dale: HTX knew what they were doing, on the RX rosters it also shows that the player has transferred. They decided to do it and ignore the policies. Everyone else has to abide by the rules.
            5. Hanlon: We let a lot of things slide last year as far as multi-side clubs but I don’t think we should punish the player. The club should be punished.
            6. Dale: I agree, the club should be punished. 
            7. Young: Travis is on now so you do have a quorum.
            8. Norton: If we had caught this earlier than these matches would probably have been ruled as a forfeit. Do we have any precedent?
            9. McPhail: I haven’t been on the committee for a few years but from my past experience we can recommend a fine to the TRU, we can mandate that they send representatives to the Summit to take the administrative course or they have to register as a referee. We don’t really want their cash but rather that they understand the issue and get educated.
            10. Kurylas: This is their first year as being a “real” team in MD1. Last year their games didn’t count towards the standings so perhaps they were doing the same thing last year? 
            11. Dale: We need to send notice to the club and get their side of it, what was their reasoning behind this?
            12. McPhail: I did have conversations with their head coach about this and they only mentioned that it wasn’t done intentionally and that they weren’t paying attention to the details.
            13. Dale: I motion that we have HTX send a management team to the Summit and take the Administrative course. I think that would be the best approach.
              1. Norton: Second.
              2. Hughes; We need to define what that really means, how many people do they need to send?
              3. McPhail: I would make a friendly amendment that they send at least one coach and one additional staff member.
              4. Hughes: And they have to take the administrative course?
              5. Norton: I like this, we want them to show that they have skin in the game. It’s like if you get a speeding ticket and you do the 8 hour course. It’s aggravating and maybe you’ll learn something.
              6. Hughes: Ok, so we’re recommending to the TRU that they require that the HTX go to the Summit and attend the Administrative Course?
              7. McPhail: In my eyes it is an either/or, a HTX coach and additional staff member must attend the Administrative course at the 2023 Summit OR the TRU can fine them for the same amount.
              8. Hughes: I motion that we recommend to the TRU that they must send a coach and an additional staff member to the 2023 Summit OR that they issue a fine equivalent to the cost of attending the Summit.
              9. Norton: Second.
              10. McPhail: Any additional discussion? Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
          2. Ft Worth
            1. McPhail: We had another issue with one player for Ft Worth. Poytner registered with Fort Wayne but played with Ft Worth on 3/25 and 4/1. There was no effort made by Ft Worth to notify the RRRC or TRU and they played the player.
            2. Young: The only caveat I would mention is that Ft Worth left the rosters blank in RX and then provided a handwritten copy to the referee. So they felt like they were covering their bases. 
            3. Norton: If it wasn’t in RX, it didn’t happen. Plus we spent MONTHS educating teams about blanks in RX. 
            4. McPhail: I feel like this is less than what HTX did but still should be dealt with. The Summit is in Ft Worth so no travel…so perhaps the same sanction would do?
            5. Norton: I motion that we recommend to the TRU that Fto Worth must send a coach and an additional staff member to the 2023 Summit OR that they issue a fine equivalent to the cost of attending the Summit.
            6. Hughes: Second. 
            7. Dale: The only reason that we’re applying this type of sanction is because this is our first year with RX. There have been some teething issues that we weren’t expecting. The normal way to have dealt with this would have been to declare those matches as forfeits and the teams potentially fined.
            8. McPhail: They also would have missed out on Championships and such per the policy. Any other discussion? Any opposition? None. APPROVED.
          3. OKC Tribe & Ft Hood – no eligibility books at QFs or Championships
            1. McPhail: We had two clubs on the weekend that didn’t have eligibility books. Those matches were played under protest and I asked the clubs to get their information to us within 48 hours. 
              1. McPhail: OKC Tribe didn’t know they had to provide a book and it wasn’t checked at their QF. They claimed that they didn’t know an eligibility book was required. I do find that hard to believe as there were almost 20 emails sent about this topic. We did receive their paperwork by their Sunday kick-off. 
              2. McPhail: Ft Hood felt that since they were all military they didn’t need to prove their citizenship. Further Ft Hood had a tough weekend since their coach was playing but had no sideline support. No one on the sideline had a watch, a pen or the required paperwork. I had to supply them with a pen so they could fill out the replacement cards. 
              3. Hughes: I take partial blame for this, at their QF they didn’t have an eligibility book. I verbally told them that they had to have a book but should have followed it up with an email.
            2. Hughes: Do we want to do a similar thing about requiring the Summit? Both teams were notified that an eligibility book was required. Multiple emails, postings on social, website…they were inundated.
            3. Norton: Yes. 
            4. Hughes: I motion that we recommend to the TRU at OKC Tribe and Ft Hood must attend the 2023 Summit, specifically the Administrative course OR they can be fined an equivalent fine.
            5. Hanlon: Second.
            6. McPhail: Any additional discussion? 
              1. Dale: Is there anything we can do in RX when someone signs up as a Coach or Administrator that would require them to go through the TRU Operating Procedures?
              2. Hughes: I think that is great but someone would have to write the course.
              3. Young: Not it. We could do a form that is required each year during the opening of registration?
              4. McPhail: We used to do something like that before.
              5. Hughes: I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It puts the onus on the club. They would have to sign off that they agreed to it.
              6. McPhail: Does that change the outcome? Do we make the penalty harsher if they sign it?
              7. Hughes: I think it allows us to do that if we choose.
              8. McPhail: Agreed. Do we want to make this a friendly amendment to the above motion? That we recommend annual acknowledgement for all clubs to be in good standing.
              9. Hughes. Yes, I agree with that motion. That way if clubs come back we can point to the acknowledgement.
              10. Norton: Second.
              11. McPhail: Any additional comments? Any opposition? APPROVED.
            7. Remedies going forward
              1. McPhail: I believe we should discuss earlier deadlines for eligibility book checks. Wendy and I were under immense pressure to review them as they were due on Thursday evening.
              2. Norton: I agree with you. But remind me, how much time was there between teams knowing they were qualified and when things were due?
              3. McPhail: Maybe it’s as easy as requiring a book check in early March. That would make sure clubs actually have the data. Before we get to the quarterfinals we should have already checked their books.
              4. Norton: Ok, so we would have a Google Drive folder for each club and they have to do a digital book check.
              5. McPhail: Wendy, this impacts the admin team, what do you think?
              6. Young: I’m not opposed..think it’s the privacy issues for me. 
              7. McPhail: Hasn’t that always been an issue?
              8. Young: Yes, some clubs are better than others. As long as we publish deadlines early and then there has to be teeth in the policy.
              9. McPhail: Anyone have any heartburn about this?
              10. Norton: No, I think it’s good.
              11. Young: The USAR Comp Committee is also working on digitizing everything we require for the clubs. Since I’m making all of them, I’ll make copies for the TRU as well. Happy to share with any other Unions that want them as well (knowing that other Unions read out minutes).
      4. Team Grants
        1. Young: This is a TRU matter as it has to do with monies but we wanted to note that teams that advance beyond Red River will receive a travel grant.
        2. McPhail: This is a fantastic policy that was brought into the TRU a long time ago. We want our clubs that have to travel to be supported. 
      5. 4/22 WD1 Matches
        1. Young: This was dealt with over email…the matches on 4/22 in Colorado were canceled due to weather. The WD1 is a cross-conference with the CO Gray Wolves, Black Ice and Utah and the league uses the RRRC match and cancellation policy. This issue was brought to the committee as the teams were not able to reschedule the matches for the following day. The RRRC decided that the matches should not be rescheduled and recorded them as 0-0 in RX due to the lateness in the season and it would mean an undue burden on the traveling teams. The committee commended both the home and traveling teams for fulfilling their obligations, recognized the financial burden of rescheduling, and acknowledged the unfortunate circumstances that prevented the matches from taking place. If needed, the RRRC tiebreaker rules will be utilized. 
        2. McPhail: Good summary, to expect clubs to turn around and travel 7-10 days later plus Nationals coming quickly this was seen no need to reschedule. The time and costs wouldn’t have benefitted these teams nor changed the table significantly.
    4. Gulf Coast Super Regionals
      1. Recap
        1. McPhail: Congrats to all of the RRRC reps. For LR and SA they both showed up well, played great and made the RRRC proud by their professionalism and play on the field. Austin righted last year’s wrongs and put together two very strong wins despite some rough patches. The ability to overcome those spots proved their worthiness to hoist the trophy.
        2. Norton: I think it went well. There were issues with the balls, they weren’t game quality match balls. Seemed more like they were training balls.
        3. Young: I believe the balls were donated, wonder if they came out of inventory to keep it easy and cheap. On another topic, as someone that watched online the streaming was subpar, video was choppy/laggy and as a result audio was 2-3 seconds behind. It was great to have commentators and I know some of them were doing it for the first time.
      2. 2024
        1. McPhail: Kerri (FL) and I had discussion on Saturday regarding pathway forward on renewal of the GC agreement. No other GU reps attended the event. Plan is to work one on one for the first round of talks. Mainly to “tighten” up certain language / specifics. Once TX and FL have a working agreement, we will share to a wider audience for further input and support. Goal is to complete sooner than later and have agreement in place 30-60 days maximum.
        2. Young: Where does the agreement indicate we will be next year?
        3. McPhail: It should be back in the TRU next year. It would be nice to have this be a few years of agreement but we would need to work through that. Also, consolation matches were brought up, we didn’t play them this year so we are working off of results from past years.
        4. Young: We already have dates in the MOU for location announcements right? They were all just missed?
        5. McPhail: Correct. They also had a venue locked in and had to change it at the last minute.
        6. Dale: Is there anything we can do to consolidate the effort between the two Unions? Could we contract with Nutmeg to do streaming when it’s in either location? I’m just trying to think about if we can make it easier for both Unions. If things were pre-organized that would be great.
        7. McPhail: I like the thought but not all of the Unions are participating fully. So we can’t mandate that they use our streaming partners and such. It could also be a high travel cost…
        8. Dale: We could do a cost sharing type thing…could be interesting.
        9. Young: Nutmeg does venues all over the USA as they are contracted with a few MLS teams. So he has teams all over the place, we would just need to book with them EARLY.
    5. USA Rugby Nationals – Jun 2-4
      1. Young: The USAR Club Competitions Committee has released the Team Packet and it’s on the USA Club RX site. It is a working document meaning that there is lots of information in there but some is still in progress. 
    6. Pitch Protocol and Inspection Form
      1. Dale: I haven’t made any progress, I will pick it up again next month.
    7. AGM – Aug 26 at 3pm
      1. In-person
        1. Young: We will be having an in-person meeting this year as we are in need of a new TRU President and we have a whole slate of elections between the RRRC and TRU. It is scheduled for August 26 at the Summit in Fort Worth. We’ll post for nominations in June along with the TRU.
        2. McPhail: How does this work?
        3. Young: We will post a call for nominations on the website, then confirm with each nominee and request a resume and statement. Those will be posted to the website for review and we will hold an open forum at the AGM for questions. Then voting will open after the AGM.
      2. Elections
        1. Men’s DI – Dale
        2. Men’s D2 – Hanlon
        3. Men’s D3 – Kurylas
        4. Women’s – Fosco
        5. At Large – Roche
    8. HOF – Aug 26 in Ft Worth
      1. Hotel Block
        1. Young: Only a few days left for nominations, please get those in! We have settled on a hotel in Fort Worth and have reserved a block of rooms. The block always fills up so get your reservation in! Booking info is already available on the HOF website.
    9. Summit – Aug 25-27 in Ft Worth
      1. Hotel Block
        1. Young: Same as above, we have a block of rooms reserved for the Summit. Get booked because the block will fill up quickly.
      2. Courses
        1. Young: We’ll be opening registrations soon!
    10. 2023-24 Season
      1. Promotion & Relegation
        1. McPhail: Thanks for putting this together Kurylas. It’s already 9:30 PM, do we want to review this now or start conversations via email? My first thoughts are that we need to look at the clubs that forfeited and had issues this year.
        2. Norton: What’s the process?
        3. Hughes: Kurylas has already done the automatic policy stuff in the spreadsheet. We then put a notice on the website and give clubs time to submit appeals for promotion or relegation. Once we receive all of those we begin discussions on divisional alignments, with the schedule being built in July and released to the clubs in August.
        4. Kurylas: I can start creating the post for the website.
        5. Young: Great, we need to get moving as  clubs have 21 days to respond per the policy
        6. Norton: Have we ever relegated clubs from MD3 to MD4?
        7. Hanlon: No.
        8. McPhail: For some of these clubs that think they can make a season but then 6-8 weeks in they are dropping like flies…do we create a local competition? That way we’re not scrambling at the start of the season to try and keep the season going.
        9. Hughes: It’s hard because it’s case by case due to geographics, numbers, etc. 
        10. McPhail: But if clubs only had to travel within their city, that should help? 
        11. Norton: Right, so maybe not everyone plays home or away?
        12. Hanlon: That’s a discussion I’d like to have in MD2. I think it’s the hardest division for us to have success in the postseason. Could we do a combined season where it’s home or away annually?
        13. Hughes: I think that could work but we would need to make sure that the teams are meeting their match minimums.
        14. Hanlon: Right if we relegate West Houston it means we really only have four single side MD2. They won’t meet the match minimums without playing each other many times.
        15. McPhail: Right so if we create a structure that helps with travel and benefits clubs with extra bonus points? It’s pretty late, why don’t we focus on getting the post up on the website and then we can start dialogue via email or call a special meeting if needed.
      2. New Clubs
        1. McPhail: What have we heard about interest in new clubs?
        2. Hanlon: I heard from Wichita a bit ago but I’ve tried engaging them but haven’t heard back from them.
        3. McPhail: Ok, they are running out of time. This weekend I was approached by New Orleans about their men’s divisions (D1 or D2 and D3) coming back to the TRU.
        4. Young: I was recently approached by a representative from Louisiana inquiring about our women’s divisions as well. I believe there is only one women’s team out there? It hasn’t gone beyond one email.
        5. McPhail: Ok, so anyone that is interested in joining needs to get notice to us ASAP.
        6. Young: They can also directly apply on the website: https://texasrugbyunion.com/administration/apply-to-the-trurrrc/.
    11. New Business
      1. None.
    12. Meeting adjournment (10:00 PM)

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