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TRU Board Meeting Notes – 7/17/23

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. Hansel
    3. Kurylas
    4. Hiller
    5. Ohmann-Wilson
    6. Tate
    7. McPhail
    8. Dodge
    9. Tomsak
      1. Regrets
        1. Martin
  2. Promotion and Relegation Appeal
    1. HURT MD3/MD4 Relegation
      1. Tate: We have only received one appeal from P&R and this is from HURT. McPhail, can you recap this for us?
      2. McPhail: HURT M were in the D3 South/Central last year and there was quite a bit of travel. They requested to be put in the D3 South but I believe the request was late and so they were placed in D3 Central. They played two matches and then forfeited two others. They did have a big roster with ~80 players. Conversations around this team was that they were good on compliance but couldn’t fulfill their matches due to travel. The RRRC’s perception was that if they had to travel again that they wouldn’t participate. The committee feels strongly that there is a viable MD4 that they will be perfect for.
      3. Tate: Can you refresh our memory as to what the MD3 looks without HURT? How does it affect the various divisions?
      4. McPhail: Basically it doesn’t affect the balance too much since they weren’t in the South. We have our new D2 structure and it shouldn’t impact their second side. If they are placed in D4 than that would all be local travel which is one of their sticking points.
      5. Hiller: When I talked to them throughout this whole process it wasn’t that they wouldn’t participate but they originally thought they were going to be playing locally. Their second side is made up of lots of old guys who can’t give up their whole day for travel.
      6. Tate: If I recall correctly, they appealed their relegation last year?
      7. Hiller: During COVID they fell to one side and as the schedules were being finalized, so after we made the league structures they asked to add a second side. They were placed in Central and not South. They assumed they would be placed in the South and so they weren’t expecting to travel.
      8. McPhail: Yes, that is correct and the request came in very very late.
      9. Dodge: Correct, the league structures had already been created and Travis was deep into late drafts of the schedule. 
      10. McPhail: Looking forward to MD3 next year, South would be BARC, Galveston, Houston Arrows, Shreveport is deciding North/South and West Houston. WH is effectively taking the spot that HURT vacated with their forfeits. So there is parity there from year to year.
      11. Tate: If they were placed in MD3 South they would have to travel to Shreveport?
      12. McPhail: Yes AND that would move this division to 10 matches.
      13. Tate: So we are at five teams in each region?
      14. McPhail: Yes, currently all are at five teams except for the North which has four teams. The committee is recommending that West Houston take the vacated spot and we placed HURT in MD4. Those teams so far are HARC II, Kingwood, Woodlands II and HURT II.
      15. Tate: So when they played the other teams that have second slides, they would essentially be double headers. So their two sides would be at the same location. There are no roster locks with D4 so they can move players up and down liberally. This sounds like something that ought to be a lot easier to manage. If we put them in D3 South we have to move to Shreveport and they have to play 10 games.
      16. McPhail: Correct, we feel strongly that the D4 South is the perfect place there and there is lots of synergy with all these second sides. The goal of course is to have a competition for these teams so they can move up to D3 when they are ready. 
      17. Tate: Ok, any word on Space City and what they intend to do?
      18. McPhail: I haven’t heard from them. Wendy or Hansel?
      19. Young: No, I haven’t heard anything specifically. They tend to prefer to play socially.
      20. Hiller: The last I heard they did do some travel and play matches but they prefer to do their own thing. But we should see if they are interested because this is a viable league with local travel, established clubs and is a really good option. We also still have to see where Chupacabras end up.
      21. Tate: Irrespective of HURT’s appeal, I think having a viable D4 South is a good thing for the Union. If we don’t put HURT in this D4 division then it is only three teams and they would just play round robins. I think we now have a good recap of the facts, I’d like to hear from other members of the Board now.
      22. McPhail: One more thing to consider, if Shreveport was moved to the North it would include Alliance, Little Rock, OKC Crusaders, OKC Tribe and Shreveport. 
      23. Tomsak: That would be devastating for Shreveport on travel. 
      24. Tate: Ok, so Shreveport would prefer to play in the Houston bracket?
      25. Tomsak: Yes, even though we’re going to Houston that is much closer than DFW, much less OKC.
      26. Kurylas: I think keeping Shreveport’s travel concerns top of mind, it makes sense to keep them in D3 South. We can make sure that D3 North gets their required 8 matches. If we do have the D4 South I think it makes sense to place HURT II there.
      27. Ohmann-Wilson: Based on what I’ve heard and looking back at their record last year it does seem like they are a good candidate for D4 South. It would allow them to grow their side and play locally.
      28. Dodge: I think having a viable D4 South would be a very nice thing to compliment the D4 North. I don’t know if there has been discussions around a playoff between the winner of the South and North, that would be great. I know that HURT II was very cavalier last year by asking so late and then not fulfilling their matches. I understand there may have been some mitigating circumstances with their players but if things had changed they should have bowed out earlier.
      29. Tate: Talk to mcAllen about tough travel.
      30. Dodge: And talk about Shreveport, how many times have they beat us with 13 players?
      31. Tate: Hansel and Wendy, you don’t get a vote but happy to hear your opinions. 
      32. Young: I agree with where the conversation is going. The facts are that they couldn’t handle a season last year so they need to prove themselves again and D4 South is the right place to do that.
      33. Hansel: I think from a club perspective it’s a good move based on the parameters that HURT II established themselves. I think having two viable D4 regions is awesome and I hope Central can do that soon.
      34. Tate: Dodge, I wanted to answer your question about a playoff between the North and the South. I don’t see any reason we wouldn’t do that. Of course I won’t be the President next spring but I don’t see any reason that the Union wouldn’t want to do that.
      35. McPhail: To be clear, this structure gives us the best pathway to have a local TRU Championship if the clubs desire it. If we don’t have a few regions it wouldn’t be impossible but this makes it easier. 
      36. Kurylas: I motion to deny the appeal and place HURT II in D4 South.
      37. Dodge: Second.
      38. Tate: Any further discussions? Any objections? None. APPEAL DENIED.
        1. Young: Who will notify HURT?
        2. McPhail: I can. Hiller is also on this board and I will share the decision with the RRRC where Blake Horn is a member.
  3. New Clubs
    1. Collin County Copperheads (XVs M) – Application and required documents received 
      1. Tate: If I read this correctly, we have three Men’s XVs clubs and one Women’s 7s club that have checked all the boxes. Is that correct?
      2. Hansel: Yes, that sounds right. 
      3. Tate: Ok, let’s start with Collin County.
      4. Dodge: I motion to approve the Colin County Copperheads.
      5. Kurylas: Second.
      6. Tate: Any discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    2. Dallas Diablos (XVs M asking for readmittance) – Application and required documents received
      1. Tate: Ok, let’s do Dallas Diablos next. They are requesting readmittance as they faltered during COVID.
      2. Dodge: Did anyone talk to the Diablos about crossover between players with the Lost Souls? It doesn’t seem like they had expressed interest in being in D4?
      3. Kurylas: No, I didn’t talk to the Diablos about that. I did inquire if the Lost Souls wanted to be in D4 but never heard back from them.
      4. Tate: I don’t think it’s a big issue, if they both want to be in the competition that could be where we see problems…if they are borrowing players.
      5. Dodge: I motion that we approve their request for readmittance.
      6. Tomsak: Second.
      7. Tate: Any discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    3. Houston Chupacabra (XVs M) – Application but no additional required documents received
      1. Tate: Ok, so we’re waiting for some documents from Chupacabra?
      2. Hansel: Yes. I can follow up on the Constitution and Bylaws, that is all they are missing.
      3. Tate: OK, they don’t have all of their required paperwork in but they have been active this summer and are playing 7s. So they are making an effort and that is what we like to see. 
      4. Dodge: It seems like it would be pretty easy to add the Chupacabras to D4 South? Would it be an issue if they were late with their paperwork?
      5. McPhail: I don’t think it would be an issue. We can easily add them and it’s a spring only competition.
      6. Tate: That would take D4 South to 8 games?
      7. McPhail: Yes, we have talked about 6 being the sweet spot but we feel like 8 is doable since it’s all local travel and we can spread the schedule out.
      8. Dodge: When was the last we heard from them? Are they promising paperwork or have they gone dark?
      9. Hansel: They went semi-dark but they were just at Cherrybone.
      10. Dodge: Can we provisionally accept the Chupacabras based on their fulfillment of their requirements. Is there a date that we’d like to have their info in by for purposes of the schedule?
      11. Kurylas: D4 South is a spring only competition so it will be one of the last pieces to the puzzle.
      12. Dodge: Ok, I move that we provisionally approve them but ask that they submit all of their required paperwork by July 31, 2023.
      13. Tate: Second.
      14. Tate: Any discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
        1. Hansel: I’ll go ahead and let the team know about the deadline and their provisional approval.
    4. Waco Wombats (XVs M) – Out this year. Will work on recruiting to apply in 2024
      1. Tate: Ok, so this team bowed out, so nothing to vote on there. We were excited about the possibility of a team in this area, maybe it will work out.
    5. Hill Country Blues (XVs/7s M Kerrville, TX) – No application received
      1. Tate: Nothing to do here either. They did play a few games last year so maybe we can eventually have a D4 Central.
    6. HEB (7s W asking for readmittance) – Received everything. They are already registered in RX, players transferred/registered and their coach is registered
      1. Tate: Let’s talk about HEB 7s. We discussed them in last month’s meeting with the note that if they were going to be our representative they had to get moving on all of the requirements since they were facing a July 1 deadline. They got everything done, they are playing 7s and we have everything we need from them.
      2. McPhail: To add to that, they have played at all of the RRRC Qualifiers and they are our designated rep at 7s Nationals.
      3. Tate: Ok, so this is a formality at this point? 
      4. McPhail: Yes, I just want to be clear. 🙂
      5. Dodge: I motion that we accept readmittance of HEB 7s W.
      6. Ohmann-Wilson: Second.
      7. Tate: Any discussion? None. Any objections? None. APPROVED.
  4. Clubs not in good standing
    1. ORC – outstanding fines from 2022-23
      1. Tate: We are just keeping them on the list. We hope that they are able to reform but they will have to pay these outstanding fines to be declared in good standing.
    2. HTX – RX dues and Eligibility
      1. Young: The TRU’s portion of the RX dues are paid as of 6/30. I don’t know if they’ve paid their USAR dues yet. As for their sanction, Mike Brown has signed up for the administration course so they are 1/2.
      2. Dodge: I talked with USAR today and they have not received their dues. Wendy, have you talked to Mike Brown?
      3. Young: I think it’s because McPhail went and got a check for us. I haven’t talked to Mike about the USAR dues recently.
      4. Dodge: From our perspective they are NOT IN GOOD standing until they are square with everyone. Is that correct?
      5. Tate: Yes, they are in good standing with the TRU but not with USA. So that means they are not in good standing as we want them to be good with everyone. That means we won’t staff matches and they are in jeopardy of not being included in the schedule.
      6. Young: Funny you mention that, they just requested 5 matches be added to the schedule. Shawn isn’t on the call tonight but I gave him the update that they are not in good standing and referees should not be staffed for these. He agreed.
      7. Tate: That might make them take some action…
      8. McPhail: I talked with Hansel earlier and I can go by the SabreCats again to see if I can get a check.
      9. Young: Hansel, do you mind replying to the match requests and indicating that referees will not be assigned until they are square with all of their dues.
      10. Hansel: Yes, I can do that.
    3. Fort Cavazos Old Skool RFC  – Eligibility
      1. Young: I received an email reply from the first notification but did not see that they registered for the Administration course at the Summit so they are 0/2 people. I’ve had further emails with them and they are trying too hard to meet this requirement but they are struggling a bit. They do have several members that also want to take the coaching courses so they are trying to juggle that. Also note that they are changing their club name from Ft Hood, Cavazos to Old Skool RFC. 
      2. Tate: Good to know about the name change.
      3. McPhail: Do we need to have paperwork on a name change?
      4. Young: I don’t think we need anything formally…but we will need to make sure they are listed correctly in RX.
      5. Tate: Ok, please keep working with them about fulfilling their requirements for the Administration course.
    4. Fort Worth – Eligibility
      1. Young: Mike Sexton has registered for the Administration course so they are 1/2 for required attendees. He has mentioned that they will be sending more folks, they are making arrangements and are confident that they will fulfill their sanction.
    5. OKC Tribe – Eligibility
      1. Young: Rod Puentes has registered for the Administration course so they are 1/2 for required attendees. 
      2. Tate: They did inquire if John White could attend and we reminded them of his sanction that he is not able to hold any position in the TRU for the next three years. He is welcome to attend but it wouldn’t count towards fulfilling their sanction. As we’ve broadly encouraged, we want clubs not to rinse and repeat administrators as John has been an administrator before, but rather they should identify new and young people to take up various roles and fund their attendance at the Summit. The more diverse support that a club has means they will be more successful. 
  5. Grants
    1. Haley Thompson for Central South U23s – Round Rock
    2. Tiara Littleton for RAN WXV Tournament with USA South – Dallas RFC
      1. Young: An email vote approved the requested grants Thompson and Littleton for $250. The Board wishes them luck at their respective events.
    3. Rebecca Carcano – L2 Coaching Course in PA
      1. Young: Rebecca “Chewie” coaches at Texas A&M and is a player for the sHARCs. She is attending the TRU Summit and is registered for the Rugby Knowledge Pathways courses. Before our event she would also like to attend a Coaching L2 Course in PA and that is what she is requesting a grant for. Since she is taking the RKP at our event she is not able to also take the L2 (2-day course) at our event.
      2. Tate: She is already registered for our Summit?
      3. Young: Yes.
      4. Tate: Normally we’re happy to subsidize coaching development for members in our Union. How does the Board feel? I’m inclined to approve. We can afford it and it’s the kind of thing that we’re all about.
      5. Tomsak: I would say that since she’s already registered for the TRU Summit, I’d motion to approve a grant of $250.
      6. Ohmann-Wilson: Second.
      7. Tate: Any discussion? Any objections? None. APPROVED.
    4. 7s Nationals
      1. Dallas M – 157 players= $3,925
      2. Huns M – 160 players= $4,000
      3. HEB W – 14 players= $350
        1. Tate: We have three teams, 2 men and 1 women’s side that have punched their tickets to 7s Nationals. With that in mind, the formula is $25 per player with a 14 player minimum. Since Dallas M and Huns M didn’t have XVs travel grants they are entitled to the full amount. Congratulations to all three sides, go well.
        2. Young: We don’t have to vote on this, right?
        3. Tate: Correct, this is an approved policy and we’re recording it for the record.
        4. Young: Great, I’ll let our Treasurer know.
  6. Disciplinary
    1. Judicial Office Training – Zach Hiller
      1. Hiller: My training was this past weekend, it was very good. I don’t think I knew how little I knew on this subject. We do a lot of things really well in the Union but now I know this is an area that we can improve upon. The goal of these training sessions from USAR is to have uniformity across our Union, USA and World Rugby. Unfortunately there are inconsistent applications of the World Rugby Guidelines. Not really a big surprise but this was a great first step. There are three more trainings coming. I plan to meet with Scot to understand our current processes and then we will make a game plan going forward. I think one of the largest issues is transparency of HOW the process is supposed to work. We had several issues appealed beyond our Union this season and if we apply the WR process we can avoid those. We can make it more streamlined and understandable for our members.
      2. Tate: I want to give some props to Megan Braun who is the Chair of the Club USAR Disciplinary Committee. This was her initiative and she drove it from the start. I don’t recall USAR ever doing this for their community. I’m glad it was a valuable training and I’m glad you attended.
    2. Yellow Card Compound
      1. Young: I emailed with Scot and yellow cards do compound in the 7s season (per DC Chair, Scot), what we have listed on the website is correct.
      2. Tate: Ok, thanks for confirming that. This closes the loop from our meeting last week. Referees should be reporting yellow and red cards.
      3. Hiller: Yes, this is correct. These are included in World Rugby Guidelines as well.
      4. McPhail: Ok, we have the last qualifier this weekend. Good to know.
      5. Tate: Referees should report and the DC will deal with it.
  7. USA Member Dues Update
    1. Dodge: This has been in discussion for months and there have been continued attempts at Due Diligence by the various committees (Youth, College and Club) and USAR National Office. This was discussed at the USAR SCC last meeting where we found out that there had been a Board Meeting where this was proposed. Initially the Youth committee indicated that they would vote to deny approving the dues increase along with Club and College committees until they received more information. Evidently they received that information and it was enough to change their mind. Unfortunately that information was not shared with the other committees. The 3 committees have to be in lockstep and since Youth approved that means a dues increase will pass. Long story short we will have a $10 dues increase per person for this upcoming membership cycle beginning in August 2023 (coach, admin, player, referee, etc).
    2. Tate: The USAR SCC is looking at how to mitigate this adjustment. More to come on that.
  8. Corporation Status
    1. Tate: I still need to review the proposed Bylaws. To summarize:
      1. We want to address ties in elections for Director positions.
      2. Formally authorizing electronic meetings as that was not included in the most recent bylaws and was brought forward because of COVID.
      3. Revising the section on Director of Competitions, the old bylaws say that the President should appoint a Director. That changed when USAR mandated that each Union have a competition committee
      4. We could delete (we don’t have to) a Director for affiliate organizations; this was in the past the Lone Star Conference. Since they left the TRU that position has been vacant for 8 years. We can remove it or leave it.
    2. Tate: Other than that I am just working on clarifying language. Hopefully I will have this out for review in the next few days for this Board to review.. We need to give the members 30 days to review. Any questions on any of that?
    3. Dodge: It goes to clubs 30 days out…is there a discussion period?
    4. Tate: We are reviewing the new Bylaws which the members are myself, David Dodge and Wendy Young. Technically we can review and approve but I would like to treat it as a normal Bylaw process review for our members. We may also want to have a Town Hall call before taking questions.
    5. Dodge: Is there a quorum requirement?
    6. Tate: No. I want this to be as close to a real Bylaws review but we don’t need a quorum. I will begin reaching out to Club Presidents directly so they are aware this will be happening.
  9. 7s
    1. TOLA
      1. McPhail: Dallas M won and there was no women’s bracket at Cherrybone.
    2. RRRC
      1. Men
        1. McPhail: Dallas and the Huns have qualified for Nationals by leading the RRRC and performing well at the 1st Midwest Crossover tournament.
      2. Women
        1. Young: Now that HEB has completed all of their requirements and this Board has approved their readmittance they are good to go.
        2. McPhail: Great, Keuppens confirmed that they are the only designated women’s team and they have qualified for Nationals. We wish them the best of luck.
    3. Nationals Aug 12-13 in Madison, WI
      1. Tate: I believe this has been widely publicized but 7s Nationals will be in Madison, WI. Click the link to learn more.
  10. RRRC Championships
    1. Young: Hansel and I did a postmortem on their hosting of the 2023 RRRC Championships. One barrier they had was that there wasn’t a general Facilities cost to cover things like field lining, additional porta-potties, etc. We want clubs to host our Championships but a common complaint is that they don’t want to because of the strain on the club and they can’t make money or even break even.
    2. Hansel: Trying to make money at these events can be tough. We knew we could charge for parking but we didn’t want to take money from the community. It would have also meant we had to manage lists of approved individuals at the gate and that would slow down entry to our venue. So we talked about adding in an additional Facilities budget that could be applied for. Not everyone will need porta-potties but there may be other considerations that the TRU could cover.
    3. Tate: Ok, that sounds like we went through an exercise that we’ll want to factor into the proposed budget. Note that I added that topic to the agenda under New Business so we’ll talk about that in a moment. If we added $1500 or $2000 to the RRRC budget it would be added into the proposed budget for 2023-24. I will go ahead and add this increase and we can look at what the impact is. Overall this would probably be a tiny increase in the grand scheme of things and if it helps our clubs out, we should look at doing it..
    4. McPhail: I want to add to this, the RRRC is talking through scenarios where we would have additional QFs and such. Is there a number for match commissioners to travel to new events like this?
    5. Tate: We do not have a line item for that, but we do have a line item for Board travel. Traditionally there aren’t many reimbursements requested as Board members are usually traveling with their clubs. There are places where we can accommodate things like that but maybe we need to add in a bit more.
    6. McPhail: You may want to add in the 7s Match Commissioner that was approved earlier this year. That will continue to be a need for the foreseeable future.
    7. Tate: Yes, thank you for the reminder.
    8. McPhail: Appreciate it.
  11. Summit – Aug 25-27 in Ft. Worth
    1. Young: With over 40 registrations already, we’re exceeding our usual figures for this period. The Coach L1 and L2 have predictably drawn interest, and the Rugby Knowledge Pathways have seen the most signups, which is an exciting development. We hope to see a rise in Referee Talent Development registrations too. This unique module is intended to offer continuous education for our referees. We encourage clubs to spot potential leaders and players and to send them to this event. By having a diverse set of roles within your club, you contribute to its overall resilience. Remember, registrations after August 14 will not come with lunch or a conference shirt, and registration shuts down completely on August 21.
    2. Tate: Excellent, I will also share this with the USAR SCC so they are aware and can share with their members. 
    3. Young: Yes, we love non-Union members attending as well, so far the farthest away has been Bermuda. Maybe we can do better this year!
  12. AGM – Aug 26 in Ft. Worth at 3pm
    1. Young: We will hold an in-person AGM at the Summit on Saturday afternoon at 3pm. Learn more and RSVP here. We’re working with course instructors to end the courses at 3pm so everyone can attend the AGM.
    2. Tate: Yes, as we’ve been talking about in the last few meetings, this is a big meeting as we will be nominating a new President and there are several open positions on the RRRC Competitions Committee as well. We will open up nominations for those positions 30 days before the AGM.
  13. HOF – Aug 26 in Ft. Worth starting at 6pm
    1. Young: We are very close to selling out this event with only 53 tickets left. Ticket sales close Aug 21 but we don’t think these will last that long.
  14. World Rugby Level 3 Coaching Course (application required)
    1. Tate: This is a fantastic opportunity for our members and I encourage those that meet the requirements to apply.
    2. Young: Please note that the application window closes July 24. These aren’t hosted very often so I’d recommend jumping on it if you do meet the requirements.
  15. New Business
    1. 2023-24 Budget
      1. Tate: As I won’t be President for the next year, should we approve a budget at the AGM or afterwards? Normally that is done prior to the season ending. No real discussion here so we’ll go ahead with approving a proposed budget. The new President can always make changes so it’s not locked in.
    2. USA Club XVs Nationals date for 2024?
      1. Tate: The USAR SCC voted on this a few weeks ago, USA XVs Nationals are set for May 17-19, 2024.
      2. Young: Excellent.
      3. McPhail: Ok, we have proposed that Gulf Coast Super Regionals be April 27 or May 4. Discussions are ongoing with our partners. We will be the host this year so it will be in the TRU.
      4. Tate: My thought is May 4 makes the most sense.
      5. McPhail: Yes, since it will be local this year that makes sense to me. Then we go 2-3 weeks before and that will be the RRRC Championships.
  16. Meeting Adjournment (9:55 PM)