Change in Referee Grade Nomenclature

from the USA Rugby Referees and Laws Committee:

The Referees and Laws Committee changed USA Rugby referee grade nomenclature at its AGM in August, 2012.

The net result is that we will revert to C and B grades, such as existed until four years ago.
L3, 2 and 1 will now be C3, 2 and 1. All T referees will now be B referees.

RECENT (August) GRADE > NEW (September) GRADE
L4 > C4
L3 > C3
L2 > C2
L1 > C1
T > B

What follows, for those who are interested, is our rationale and the alternatives that were considered.

Confusion has reigned for the past few years because of the following:
Referees are graded L3, L2 and L1 (this L stands for Local)
Referee courses are L1, L2 and L3 (this L stands for Level)
For assignments and grading purposes, matches are L1 through L7 (this L stands for Level)
Reports written on referees are L1 and L2 reports (this L stands for Level)
[These are formally known as Coaching Reports and Evaluation Reports, but even those who write them often refer to them as ‘level one’ and ‘level two’ reports.]

Beginning referees often assume that completing the L1 course makes them an L1 ref. Who could blame them? Those contemplating becoming referees are often confused by the whole nomenclature.
People at the national office who have to field these confused phone calls complained. Those of us who deal with the confusion at the local level (that word again) across the country sympathized.
It was accepted that the L designation had to go. What to replace it with?

S was suggested, meaning Society. But the territories are also Societies. S seemed random.
L-level referees referee Community Rugby. Why not C referees? It made sense for thirty years to call those working in the first few grades C referees. So this decision was made: the first grade awarded will again be C3, with the first two promotions being to C2 and then C1.
Note: criteria for promotion are unaffected by this change. These changes are strictly limited to nomenclature.
That left us with C1 referees who earned promotion joining the T panel. The problem with that is that some Territories have already dissolved and others soon will. The T could be left as a vestigial designation, standing for something that only used to be.
Here’s the problem: the rugby playing organizational universe is moving toward having two divisions of administration. Geographical Unions do not belong to Territories. They belong to USA Rugby. Two levels.
Referees continue to need three divisions, corresponding to the three divisions of grades. There are those awarded by the local society, now called C, and the various Panels awarded by USA Rugby, with those referees capable of doing matches above the GU but below the national in between. We still need a T-Panel equivalent.
Hence: C for Community, B to be alphabetical and in line with what used to be, and then the national Panels, Squads and Groups. Plus, C and B are not tied to particular words used to designate organizational levels such as GUs or Zones, which may change in the future.

We of the R&L are aware that we may look foolish changing this back after changing it with such fanfare only four years ago. We feel foolish. We also feel compelled to make this change, and feel that it will serve us well in the future and will minimize confusion.

For the Referee and Laws Committee
Bruce Carter, Chairman