TRRA Board Meeting Notes 8/3/20

As proposed at the TRRA AGM of 2020 – the TRRA Board will explore posting meeting minutes for all members.

    1. Roll Call
      1. Roche
      2. Martin
      3. Herrera
      4. Waller
      5. Bayazitoglu
      6. Regrets
        1. O’Gara
    2. New Board
      1. Roche: First, welcome to Cesar Herrera and Mary Waller our new regional representatives! The start their terms in September but we wanted to welcome them in early to ease the transition.
    3. Kit Update
      1. Tanks
        1. Roche: Tanks are in production – about 39 unisex and 9 women’s preorder. The tanks were at cost so the TRRA made no profit, everyone paid what the tank cost to produce.
      2. Boonie Hats
        1. Roche: We also ordered 36 boonie hats to be put in the store, they are also in production and will be available to order soon!
    4. Membership Registration
      1. Roche: Obviously we are in the unknown with COVID, we don’t know when we will return and when we are able to play/referee again. Add onto that, USAR hasn’t finalized insurance carriers yet. So this is the time of the year we would be encouraging members to re-CIPP and make sure their memberships are good to go for 20-21. Currently members cannot even CIPP as USAR hasn’t finalized anything. So what do we want to do in terms of asking members to re-register and pay dues? It doesn’t seem right to ask for full membership dues when we don’t know what will actually happen this year, and how much rugby will occur. I don’t want to wait too long and have a massive rush a week before games start and members aren’t registered – but also don’t want us to only have half a year and ask for full dues.
      2. Waller: I agree, it doesn’t seem right to ask for money right now.
      3. Herrera: I agree as well, as well as USAR isn’t even prepared to collect CIPP money and we don’t know how much USAR will be charging.
      4. Martin: Has there been talk of uncoupling from USAR and their insurance?
      5. Roche: So NCR is going on their own road, but there’s already issues with that in regards to how games between them and USAR teams will be covered. As referees, we need to make sure we are covered in any game we referee.
      6. Martin: It sounds like the best move is to wait for more direction from USAR.
      7. Roche: Absolutely. On one hand, it’s not even our decision since USAR has not finalized insurance providers so if you tried to go CIPP today, you couldn’t. UPDATE: After this meeting, USAR posted about collecting for membership starting 8/10. The TRRA advises members to avoid registering until we explore more. 
      8. Martin: We can’t even start pre-charging the 265$ (TRRA dues + CIPP fee) because USAR may decide the new CIPP fee is 40$ and we have to refund everyone.
      9. Roche: Yep. I just want this to go out to the members and they can see “oh don’t worry about CIPPing yet, the TRRA is monitoring the situation and will let us know when we should start CIPPing” instead of not saying anything and letting people drop a bunch of money and not refereeing any rugby.
      10. Roche: Along with this, we have to consider the “paid positions” within the TRRA (admin, treasurer, assignments, education) are mostly paid by dues. So I believe the 7’s manager role (the only position still getting a stipend) should lapse at the end of August and no roles should be restarted until we start collecting dues again. Thoughts?
      11. Martin: Agreed
      12. Martin: Will monthly webinars continue?
      13. Roche: I mean, I will try, but I am already running out of ideas. It’s hard to focus on an hour on the scrum then go sit on your porch for the next three weeks and not get within 10000 miles of a rugby match. 
      14. Herrera: I have a friend in sports psychology that may be interested in providing us with a webinar!
      15. Roche: That would be cool. I am all for webinars continuing. I need help in coming up with what people want to hear about and more professionals to assist us.
      16. Martin: I am on the NorCal referee email list and they are all watching a specific game then coming together to share 2 or 3 things on a monthly call.
      17. Roche: Oh that’s cool, maybe that would work well as a regional thing?
      18. Membership Dues
        1. Roche: We have more time to talk about this since we aren’t collecting these right now. As chairman, I wanted to create different tiers of members, so full-time versus part-time would pay different dues and maybe get different kit. So reffing over 5 games a season you would pay more dues but also receive two jerseys, etc. This would involve having a different tier for most dual player-referees, where they would pay less up front and if they ended up refereeing as much as someone like Chris Pugh, we could hold a few payments until they paid up as a full member.
        2. Waller: I also think a different tier for high school players. It’s a lot of money for a younger kid and if we lowered the payment bar for them we could get more involvement. Maybe some of them just start off as ARs and we have an AR-only membership.
        3. Roche: The good news is that with Sportlomo, we can create different tiers with different payment amounts.
    5. Referee Payments
      1. Roche: So in Tim’s EOY speech, he mentioned possibly upping payments to 100$ per game. I ran these numbers and in this past year we had about 400 matches between September-March 7th. Increasing the referee payments to 100$ a game would cost us about 10,000$ more than we paid out this year. If we extrapolate from 2018-19 season, we have on average 650 games a year. That’s about 20K more paying out to referees. We would go bankrupt. So we cannot pay 100$ a game to each referee and continue to operate as we do. If we wanted to eliminate our additional insurance, referee camps, our AGM, anything fun, monthly webinars, etc – we could do it. But since that’s what makes us the best ref society in the country, it seems irresponsible to eliminate everything that makes us great just to pay the referees more. And we also need to note that TRU pays us for our games BECAUSE we provide this training to our referees. So if we increase referee payments, eliminate training, TRU will cut our payments and we will go bankrupt anyway. I played with the numbers a bit and do believe a few things need to increase such as referee coaches and possibly AR-ing. I just don’t know if a 5$ increase in an AR assignment is really worth it versus having something else like a monthly get-together paid for by the TRRA. I do want to find a way to pay referees more, but it’s a delicate balance.
      2. Herrera: I think it’s important for retention. How do we convince new refs that it’s worth it to give up a Saturday away from playing?
      3. Ozzie: I think referee coaches should be paid more if they submit the coaching report. We had a lot of referee coaches out there who never filled out reports.
      4. Roche: So one thing I want to get out of this group is – will 5$ more a Saturday really excite you more than something “team-building-y” convince you. So like meals at a tournament. If every tournament you attended you had a dinner provided by the TRRA afterward, would that be better than 5$ more a game?
      5. Waller: I guess it depends on the person. I would prefer event-type things because it makes it more memorable and creates a more fun atmosphere. But some people really may want or need that 5$ more a game.
      6. Martin: It’s harder to have events in the North versus Central or South.
      7. Roche: That’s so true, is it fair if we have dinner at every event if 75% of the events are in the Central or South?
      8. Herrera: I think those events are important because its the social-building atmosphere of our community.
      9. Roche: What if we allocated Regional Reps a budget monthly to host an “event” like a night at a pub or a fro-yo sesh or something just fun for the group. Or you could save up the allocation and have a bigger event? What would y’all think if you had a budget for anything like that?
      10. Herrera: I would think quarterly may work better than monthly – start slow and see how it builds.
      11. Waller: I think that’s fair.
      12. Roche: I’m not trying to put pressure on yall to organize, I just think it would make more sense than me sitting on a cloud in Austin deciding how the Dallas area is going to team-build.
      13. Herrera: I would definitely delegate to other individuals to get different tastes.
      14. Roche: Maybe just having the knowledge that the TRRA has a budget instead of nickel and diming each event? So you know you can ask for money for things like this.
      15. Martin: We used to have a Christmas party in the North and it was awesome. I miss the monthly meetings we used to have. There is something behind face to face contact.
      16. Waller: Christmas party sounds great!
      17. Roche: I think a Christmas party would be great! Just to wrap this up for the minutes – these are options. You can have 5$ more a game or this money can add up and we can have these events or whatever. I have been in the position where I needed the money, so I definitely understand but I want to decide based on what is best for the majority of the members. I don’t want us 6 to make a decision as “comfortable adults” I just want to get feedback from members. Action Item: Regional Reps get feedback on what members would prefer.
    6. WR Transgender Athlete Ban
      1. Roche: WR is considering banning transgender athletes from the game. Currently USAR operates under the Olympic guidelines which allows these athletes to play. I’ve had people reach out to me wondering where the TRRA stands on this issue. I have asked Rebekkah Portlock to sit on some forums hosted around the country to better identify what we should be doing. But I wanted to get y’alls opinions on what we should be doing or saying.
      2. Bayazitoglu: World Rugby hasn’t made a decision yet. We as referees are mediators of the laws. I’m not in charge of identifying what kid is enrolled in what school or whatever. We just enforce the laws as best as we can, and support the decision (and the laws) as they are created.
      3. Roche: I think we all definitely have our own opinions as humans and individuals but as the TRRA, what do we say as a professional referee organization.
      4. Waller: I’ve had situations before and it’s super awkward. It’s not our job to decide, we just officiate the game. I think we do need to add something to our resources to help referees who may come into this situation so we know what to do.
      5. Bayazitoglu: I don’t think we should jump in any conversation right now with a statement, as the TRRA we don’t really have anything to do besides officiate the laws. When WR and USAR come out with a decision, I think we need to send something out to referees to remind us that we do not make eligibility decisions, we just referee the game in front of us.
    7. New Business
      1. Bylaws:
        1. Martin: Where are the Bylaws? How are we with that.
        2. Roche: I have edited an old old version of the bylaws. According to those bylaws, we need a majority vote to approve the bylaws so I will send them out to the regional reps for review then hopefully we can approve them by the membership within the month. Action Item: Review Bylaws and send to membership for approval
      2. R&L Committee
        1. Martin: Any new words from the R&L committee?
        2. Roche: They’ve postponed their last few meetings. Last I heard they were electing temporary individuals in roles but there is no real urgency with no clear return to rugby.
      3. Referee Travel
        1. Herrera: I wanted to address having referees travelling across the society and around regions once we do return to rugby.
        2. Roche: Definitely. Last year we were very cautious of budget so in fear of overspending we seriously cut back on travel within society. Once we realized how much of a surplus we had from being over-cautious we began planning for more travel (then COVID hit). This next year, with a much better idea of budget, we will have referees travelling around regionally.
        3. Herrera: We also have some referees from Peru that are interested in coming over. SERRS used to have referees from England come in and a ref would host them for a week or so and we’d set them up for games.
        4. Bayazitoglu: I think that’s a great idea.
        5. Roche: I’m all for it. I always just figured no one was available to host, so many of our members live in little one-bedroom apartments so it would be difficult. But I probably should have asked around more.
        6. Bayazitoglu: Also many conferences are moving games to the spring, the referee demands may be very interesting in February, March and April. We could open up spots to foreign referees or refs from other societies to assist us.
        7. Martin: we may also have a LOT of games and have to work with TRU and Rugby Texas on adjusting games from 2pm on Saturdays.
    8. Meeting Adjourned (8:45pm)

3 thoughts on “TRRA Board Meeting Notes 8/3/20”

  1. I like to have at least a monthly meeting of some sort so we are in touch. Shawn’s comment on NorCals Refs watching a match and sharing what they observed good, bad, or as a ref coach (pretending you were) would maintain our reffing senses.

  2. Thank you.

    Can we encourage the teams to schedule more in Oct/Nov to spread out the Feb/March load?

    I am willing to travel and to do exchanges to other areas. In particular I travel to London, Aberdeen, Amsterdam and Paris frequently. In exchange I would be willing to host a ref. However I suspect most referees capable of exchanges likely have business during the week. And thus may be at hotels.

  3. I am willing to cover McAllen. Always Am.
    However it is not safe to drive there and back in one day. Flying would be safer and can be done in one day.

    We used to have an unwirtten policy with STRR that everyone has to cover mcallen once ever other year.

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