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RRRC Competitions Committee Notes – 10/9/23

    1. Roll Call
      1. Young
      2. McPhail
      3. Hunter
      4. Kurylas
      5. Dale
      6. Ozzie
      7. Horn
      8. Hansel
      9. Curl
      10. Wegman
      11. Hanlon
      12. Norton
        1. Regrets
          1. Robinson
          2. Kueppens
          3. Hughes
    2. Club Standing
      1. McPhail: We wanted to provide an update to the prior minutes correcting ORC fine payment status to “Paid”.
      2. Young: They were fined previously for forfeits and such and they are now paid in full. Appreciate their attention to that fine.
      3. Compliance Checks
        1. Young: We did our first check last week and these will continue weekly from now on. The report is a bit different because RX is providing a report and clubs are only compliant if marked green in the first column. Clubs are deemed compliant when they meet the following criteria:
          1. They have completed registration with both USA Rugby and the TRU.
          2. They have a Level 1 Coach on their roster who is in compliance.
          3. They have a minimum of 15 players.
          4. There are no pending disciplinary actions or outstanding fines against the club.
        2. McPhail: Can we send a reminder out about the compliance report?
        3. Young: Of course. We have our annual Season Reminder post that needs to go up and I’ll include it in there.
        4. McPhail: Thank you.
    3. 2023-24 Season
      1. Request for “position paper” on Hanlon/Horn Multi-side Eligibility proposal for review & circulation (Sept-2023)
        1. McPhail: Going back to this topic from last month as we had a few members that weren’t available.
        2. Hanlon: There are a couple of pieces to this, Norton has asked that we renew the regulation we put in place about four substitutes that can play UP in a multi-side game. We talked about that on email but there was some confusion about other regulations. Now with D2 and our intent to increase quality Blake and I have suggested that we reduce that number from four to three. We are looking to increase the competition with D2 with this new structure and so we would decrease the number of substitutes for multi-sides. 
        3. McPhail: There was some discussion about seeing how the data would have looked from last year?
        4. Hanlon: We looked at the data and players would have fewer matches because there would be one less substitute. Theoretically this would allow them to play more later in the season.
        5. McPhail: Is that data available for the committee to review?
        6. Hanlon: I do have the data on the sub usage across the board (game-day subs). I didn’t get to compile data from the past and looking forward since I was at RWC2023. 
        7. Norton: Based on what we’ve done in the past, you can bring players up from the lower division to allow you to have a full roster. If a club has more than enough players to field two rosters of 23 then they will do that. The issue is going to be if you have clubs that are borderline on player numbers. With this rule change they may not be able to fulfill those two rosters. This would have a disproportionate impact on the smaller clubs that are borderline two sides.
        8. Hanlon: But if they’re going to struggle to field 23 players I don’t think this rule is going to impact them. The game isn’t dependent on that, when clubs struggle for numbers we tell them to recruit better and to build their infrastructure…that also applies to multi-side clubs.
        9. Dale: In the real world when you have injuries to deal with, attrition, players move because of work…to restrict clubs even further, I don’t see how that’s going to help the first division side. I don’t see how that is going to work? It seems like you would limit the number of players playing up and they will still come under the 50% rule at some point so they won’t be eligible for D3 anyway.
        10. Hanlon: It’s not so much for the D1 teams, with 10 D2 teams that have to work towards a second side…we’re worried that there would be an overweightness of the D3. We want it to appear that it is fair across the board.
        11. Kurylas: But we aren’t looking to make the second side mandatory till 2024-25, right?
        12. Hanlon: Correct, we wanted them to have a longer runway so they can prepare for it.
        13. Kurylas: So if we make it a mandate for next season it may mean some clubs can’t do that? They could put a side in D4 and that would allow for some flexibility.
        14. Hanlon: Yes, that is what D4 is for.
        15. McPhail: We already have USAR Eligibility Guidelines that impact the postseason. Will this proposed rule change put us at a disadvantage to other Unions?
        16. Hanlon: No, I don’t think so. USAR guidelines are based on percentages. How many subs we have on gameday shouldn’t impact that.
        17. McPhail: Hmm, this is why I wanted to see the data looking forward. Will we have less depth in the postseason? Especially when teams have to travel to the Gulf Coast and Nationals. I don’t know that we have the data right now to make an intelligent decision…
        18. Hanlon: Yes, that is why I wanted to have a discussion on this outside of email as there was lots of confusion.
        19. McPhail: I’m proposing we dig in further on this.
        20. Norton: I believe this will impact the smaller clubs more than the larger clubs because the big clubs can throw more players at it. On the bigger clubs side, the aggravation is that the smaller clubs can’t play a match because they don’t have enough people. Or they can’t fill two full rosters and the opposition isn’t where you want it to be. You also have to consider the front row and ensure that there are adequate numbers. This isn’t something we should throw out there.
        21. McPhail: What would be the impact on the WD1?
        22. Hanlon: How many women have second sides?
        23. McPhail: sHARCs have two sides, I merely point out that we should look at all divisions and competitions.
        24. Hunter: I’m still confused as to who this is supposed to benefit. For the number of matches that the women have we don’t often trigger the percentage rules.
        25. Curl: I’d also like further clarification on this so we can understand how it would impact the women.
        26. Young: Typically this regulation would be across the board, we don’t want to have a gendered difference.
        27. McPhail: I agree.
        28. Hanlon: We are trying to create a safer and more level playing field for D3. It’s not about the number of players, it’s the quality of players playing down. A top tier D2 side could have D1 props come down to D3. We have seen teams dropping high level players down to D3 to try and have more success.
        29. McPhail: I think we probably need something more tangible in writing so that the committee can provide further feedback. 
        30. Hanlon: I will dedicate some time to this and share with the committee.
        31. McPhail: Yes, please work with Blake and send something to the committee before the next meeting.
        32. McPhail: Norton, yours is a pretty simple solution, it has nothing to do with Hanlon’s proposal, right?
        33. Norton: Correct, my proposal is that we continue with the status quo regarding the regulation . 
        34. McPhail: I would like to leave both of these open until we can see further information and a formal proposal. 
        35. Norton: When are the first matches?
        36. Young: Matches begin Nov 11.
        37. Norton: So we need to have this before the next meeting.
        38. Dale: I think the drop dead date is the first MD1 match, right?
        39. McPhail: Let’s have something out by Oct 16th. Hopefully we can have a few days to review and have a motion via email. If not we may have to have a special meeting.
      2. Proposal for D1 rebranding
        1. Norton: We have the American Rugby Premiership, Midwest Premiership and there was a Pacific Rugby Premiership. Should we look at doing something similar? We’ve had some emails and calls to our MD1 teams and so far everyone is in favor of it. We would like to look at upping the off-field standards, so it’s not just a rebrand. Raise awareness of and promote the competition. Long term we would like to look at sponsors, live streaming with commentary and such. We would like to see if the WD1 would be interested in this.
        2. McPhail: Norton has come up with a logo and for Year 1 they’d like to do a social media push with participation from clubs. We’d like to have a social media person outside of Wendy and Hansel for this as they are pretty overloaded with what they are already doing. Standards and goals would be mutually agreed upon by all clubs and we would be looking to lift the standards and programs.
        3. Young: Is there a formal proposal yet? Have the women’s teams seen anything?
        4. Norton: The D1 men had a call right before this call and so it’s very fresh. We haven’t shared it with the women yet.
        5. Young: I know the women’s clubs would like to be brought in at the ground floor and not after the fact. 🙂
        6. Curl: Agreed, we would like to be included and would love to see what you have.
        7. McPhail: Today was the ground floor, so you’re invited!
        8. Young: Great, thanks!
        9. McPhail: So they are scheduling monthly calls right before RRRC so they can try and make progress on this.
        10. Norton: I shared the working doc with the Women’s reps and Wendy. This is very preliminary.
      3. Schedule loading into RX and WTR
        1. McPhail: Hansel, how’s it going with the schedule being loaded into RX and WTR?
        2. Hansel: Lots of work has been done including a schedule template so that it can be loaded into RX and WTR. We have everything in a working template and teams are confirming some of their schedules. I’ve done some test uploads and it’s looking good. We have all the friendlies loaded but I’m not sure if they can be seen yet?
        3. Young: Looks like they are up! You can see them at https://xplorer.rugby/texas. I can’t update the Competitions page on our website until the full schedule has been loaded though.
        4. Hansel: Great, thanks for confirming that we can see the friendlies at least. I’ve also worked with USAR to build the GU cross-conference matches as well as that was a hurdle last week. I’m really working hard on how we can make 2024-25 easier for everyone including Travis as he makes the initial schedule.
        5. McPhail: Ozzie, how are things going for you?
        6. Ozzie: For the early games we went ahead and entered those by hand so we could make assignments. We are waiting for the full schedule to be loaded into WTR so we can make more assignments.
        7. Hansel: I’ve also been talking to USAR about the referee module in RX and it’s not quite ready but we may be doing some beta testing this year.
        8. Ozzie: Yes, we don’t want to commit to anything right now but we’re open to switching to RX if it’s adequate.
      4. Update XVs Competitions tab on website
        1. Young: I’m requesting help from the reps to help make sure that the divisional descriptions are accurate. Our clubs, members and other Unions review this and this is the #1 page that gets hit on our website.
        2. McPhail: OK, let’s have that done by this weekend. Reps please send any edits to Wendy so she can update.
        3. Young: Yes, that would be great, thanks!
      5. Gulf Coast update
        1. McPhail: We continue to get little to no communication from our Southern GU Partners. I did reach out to Andrew King on the USAR Competitions Committee for assistance. He is sending a message to the SCC members so we can try and get the memorandum in place before competition begins. We have not heard a response from them still…so I will continue to push on this as we need a long term agreement in place.
      6. D4 Changes
        1. Kurylas: From a North perspective the Diablos have dropped out and so we are going to go forward with a 5 team competition. The South has also seen changes in Kingwood and Chupacabras dropping out as well. I’ve reached out to all the teams and HURT and HARC will field second sides and I’m hoping Woodlands can commit as well.
        2. McPhail: Appreciate John taking the time to do “welfare” checks on this competition. As we’ve said previously we want a robust MD4 competition and would like a division in each region.
    4. Event hosts request
      1. Young: We posted last week that we are looking for hosts for all of our events. We’ve received one for XVs Championship from the Houston Sabrecats already. Applications are open until the end of the month!
      2. McPHail: Yes, please get yours bids in so we can have multiple to choose from.
    5. USA Club Rugby requesting Hosts for 2024 & 25
      1. McPhail: USA is also requesting hosts for 2024 and 25. Deadline is November 10. We would love to continue having events in our region and we encourage our clubs to apply. I do know that Fil is working with the XVs Chair to have co-hosts for both events and then they flip years.
    6. RX Team Registration
      1. Hansel: I need a bit of help getting Collin County going in RX. 
      2. Young: Ok, are they in RX?
      3. Hansel: Yes, I believe so.
      4. Young: Ok, so then they just need “Club Permissions” in RX and then they will complete everything themselves.
    7. Mary Graham All Stars, Dec 2-3, Austin, TX
      1. Young: The application window has closed and we had interest from 8 Unions as well as a few U23 sides. The U23 sides couldn’t quite get it together this year so we’re going to go with just 8 Union teams. We are open to expanding to the 12 teams and will keep that option open for next year. We’re looking forward to another great event!
      2. McPhail: Did you submit the budget request to USAR?
      3. Young: Yes, I did and Dodge was trying to get us on the SCC agenda. The Texas Toast held their first introduction call and tryout in Dallas. 30 players showed up and there is another tryout in Houston this weekend.
    8. New Business
      1. TRRA Contract signed
        1. McPhail: I have been working with Ozzie on our referee agreement and it has been such a nice seamless process. We will go forward with the same terms as prior years, with one change to WD1 to match them with the MD1. This would mean that the match fees paid to the referees and that they would have teams of 3 for all of their matches. 
        2. Ozzie: Yes, it has been great working with Dave on the contract. We both felt strongly that WD1 should be paid at the same rate and be given the same support as MD1. A no brainer for Dave and I. WD1 is a strong division and TRRA wants to continue to be a strong partner for them.
        3. Young: We appreciate this! Thank you.
      2. TRRA Dues Discount for TRU Members
        1. Ozzie: A friendly reminder to TRU members about our special offer! We’re offering a half-price rate discount (on the TRRA fee portion) for non-beginner referees who are already registered as TRU members. If you’re keen on taking advantage of this discount, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Please note that this offer does not apply to first-time referees, as TRRA already provides them with a free kit.
    9. Meeting Adjournment (9:08 PM)