Midwest Summer Meeting Minutes - June 2009
Midyear General Meeting Minutes
June 7, 2009
Holiday Inn Willowbrook
7800 South Kingery
Willowbrook, IL 60527
Meeting was not called to order until 10:35 AM due to lack of a quorum. Items V, A – F, were discussed in the interim prior to the arrival of the CARFU and ORU representatives. No formal business was undertaken until quorum was achieved. For simplicity and clarity, the minutes follow the outline format of the agenda.
J. Johnson. Advised lunch would be served to all present and the meeting would continue during lunch.
II. Call to Order – Roll Call
Alleghany RFU (Gary Lobaugh) 34 votes, no individual clubs present
CARFU (Adrian Gannon) 36 votes, no individual clubs present
Illinois RFU – did not attend
Indiana RFU (Vaughan Mitchell) 7 votes, no individual clubs present
Iowa RFU – did not attend
Michigan RFU (Gina Kostoff) 26 votes, no individual clubs present
Minnesota RFU (Anne Barry) 44 votes, no individual clubs present
Ohio RFU (Kurt Weaver) 29 votes, no individual clubs present
Wisconsin RFU (Stas Garbasz) 33 votes, no individual clubs present
TREASURER – There were no financial restrictions or disputes of club votes.
DISCIPLINE – There were no restrictions of club votes for disciplinary action.
TOTAL clubs represented: 242
Simple Majority: 122
2/3 Majority: 62
III. Annual General Meeting Minutes for January 10, 2009 (sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group).
(Motion to approve the minutes by A. Barry, second by G. Kostoff. Accepted as presented)
IV. Review/Approval of Agenda (sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group).
Request to move Election of Secretary (VIII, B) and Admission of New Clubs (VIII, C) after reports and ahead of Old Business
Added under New Business – VIII, G. MW Policy on named and certified coaches (A. Gannon)
(Motion to approve the amended agenda by A. Barry, second by G. Kostoff. Accepted as presented.)
V. Officers reports:
A. President – (verbal report) J. Johnson
Advised that he would be the only officer present today and that several reports were sent via the MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group. Advised that the MW is operating smoothly. As is evident by the Treasurer’s Report, our financial position is healthy. Half of the cash reserves, 35K, were placed in a 15 month CD. The MW level of competition and success has been strong across the board with several clubs performing well in playoffs.
Advised he sent all elements of the USAR Youth proposal over the MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group. Would like input from LAUs on this and how each LAU handles youth rugby. Stated he was concerned that with this proposal youth dues will be going directly back to USAR without TU influence. Dues will pay for infrastructure before any improvements are seen.
A. Barry – The goal is uncertain. Really this is no different that how youth rugby is currently handled. Is the goal to make everything look like state-based rugby organizations?
K. Weaver – Yes. Ohio is a SBRO. Members pay dues into a state-based organization then hire a professional administrator. IN is a new SBRO as they have broken away from the LAU and have hired a professional administrator.
G. Kostoff – In Michigan, youth rugby is organized completely separately. They are an affiliate, non-voting member of the LAU. MYRA’s organization, governance and discipline are completely separate. MiRFU no longer financially support MYRA. They have their own dues structure. The LAU and MYRA share the resources of the Referee Society. Not professionally administered.
G. Lobaugh – Alleghany is not there yet but hopes to be soon.
S. Garbasz – WI is organized somewhat differently. Youth clubs are members that pay nominal dues. They receive two votes and have one board member. He sits on the Youth Board. The LAU takes care of discipline for the youth.
A. Barry – Minnesota has some 40 youth clubs. They are part of the union and pay dues.
J. Johnson - There are four components to the proposal: 1) Governance 2) Dues 3) Youth Sub-committee 4) Youth and High School Director. Youth will have membership in Congress.
A. Barry – What is the issue? Youth are already paying CIPP and dues into USAR. Is USAR trying to create more funds to build infrastructure?
J. Johnson – One key question is how much money will go directly back to youth programs and development? USAR says there will be published budgets. The other key question is what is the value to individual players?
A. Gannon – We need to cement what we are doing and where we are going as a TU. Professional administration of the TU would do that.
A. Barry – We have had a begin relationship with youth programs in the past. Why change?
S. Garbasz – How would voting go?
J. Johnson – USAR would standardize due across the board. Feels that is important that all three of the MW’s representatives to Congress need to know our opinion as a TU for the meeting in September. Please read the attachments and the proposal sent and send along your comments to our Congress representatives. Please keep at the administrative level as this is not ready for general consumption yet.
B. Vice-President of Competition – (no report)
C. Vice-President of Collegiate and Youth (report sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group) Discussion regarding Senior Men’s LAU tournament and the Thunderbirds will take place under old business.
D. Secretary – resigned. Election to fulfill remainder of term will be later in the agenda. Re-election in January 2010.
E. Treasurer (report sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group) See discussion under President’s report
F. Youth Report (report sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group) See discussion under President’s report
G. USA Rugby Congress reports
1. Jeremiah Johnson (verbal report)
Serves on the Appellate Committee. Not much to report. Please note that J. Mullett serves as the Congress’s representative to the Board of Directors. He chairs the Eligibility Committee. No formal report from BOD. Some in Congress have felt that John has not shared enough information. Will see if his reports can be shared more broadly within the TU so we have a better idea of what is happening at the national level.
2. Tom Schmitt (report sent via MWRFU Yahoo Admin. Group)
3. Adrian Gannon (verbal report)
Serves on the Competitions Committee. Has been a positive experience so far. Not too much going on other than the Karl Spoerer appeal all the way up to the IRB. In senior women’s competition, the premier league structure is up and running. There will be an evaluation of all competitions within USAR. Went to the Ireland vs. USA match. Some staff changes at USAR is concerning and could indicate a lack of capacity.
J. Johnson feels that the staff changes do not indicate anything of significance.
VI. Committee and Sub-committee reports
A. Management Committee – See discussion under President’s report
B. Disciplinary Committee – (verbal report given by G. Kostoff and J. Johnson)
J. Mullett would like to update the membership on a coaching situation. An individual named Travis Uplinger was suspended from coaching for 3 years in 2006 with pre-conditions for his return. This suspension was result of the Cathedral decision regarding Uplinger’s abuse of a referee. It was bought the J. Mullett’s attention that Mr. Uplinger was actively coaching at the University of Southern Indiana during his suspension as was shown by information obtained on USI’s website. J. Mullett made several attempts to contact Mr. Uplinger and received no response. Mr. Uplinger’s suspension will be extending and all LAUs are notified that he is not allowed to coach.
Under New Business, J. Mullett would like guidance on a couple of issues. One issue is should a video of a match be allowed as evidence of detected or undetected foul play in a disciplinary review. The other issue is whether we need a policy on abuse of appeals of disciplinary decisions.
C. Collegiate Committee – no report
D. Youth Committee – See discussion under President’s report
E. Referee Society – no report
F. Select Sides – no coaches were present or submitted a report except for K. Weaver for U19 women.
c. Collegiate Men
ii. Girls – K. Weaver (verbal report)
Have changed the U19 women’s competition to a different weekend than the boys. Women’s competition will be the weekend before Thanksgiving. Will be expanding the camp schedule. Other than that, the program is continually growing and expanding.
c. U19 Girls
VIII. (Moved from New Business)
B. Election of Secretary
Nominations: G. Kostoff (Moved by A. Barry, Second by A. Gannon)
No other nominations. G. Kostoff elected to fulfill the remainder of the term. Up for
re-election in January 2010.
C. Admission of New Clubs
Alleghany – Carnegie Mellon Men, DIII Collegiate
Fairmont State University Men, DIII Collegiate
Michigan – Saginaw Valley State Women, DII
Wayne State Women, DIII
Davenport University Men, DII Collegiate
University of Michigan Dearborn Men, DII Collegiate Hillsdale University Men, DII Collegiate
Oakland University Men, DII Collegiate
Wayne State University Men, DII Collegiate
J. Johnson asked if all clubs have met all requirements. G. Lobaugh and G. Kostoff stated that all clubs are compliant.
K. Weaver moved to accept all clubs. Second by A. Barry. Accepted unanimously.
VII. Old Business
A. Website – J. Johnson stated that the official MW Rugby Union website is up and running at www.midwestrugbyunion.org. There will be more changes to come and there will be a different look. J. Johnson had hoped to have everything launched by this meeting but there has been a problem in the transfer. There will be a scrolling banner with pictures and fresh content. There will be a monitored forum to allow for discussion of various issues. This function is working. It is clean looking and easy to manage and maintain. The Management Committee will oversee content along with the league commissioners. Hopefully, it will become a source for match results. All MW officers and coordinators will administrative access. There will a contacts list for all LAUs and links to each LAU website. It will also show all league competitions and fixtures. Enhancements are coming. Funding for the site is now under the promotions budget line item. A non rugby-related web-developer was chosen. The terms are $3,500.00 the first year and $500 for each additional year.
G. Kostoff stated that many people within the territory seem to think that Shawn McKinney’s site is still the official website. The site is somewhat misleading in that regard. How do we get around that?
J. Johnson stated that Shawn has done a lot for rugby and for the Midwest. His site does contain some valuable information but also contains much editorializing. We just need to make our site premier and full of useful, current content so people will look to the official site first for anything related to Midwest rugby.
G. Kostoff stated that we need to develop strong distribution lists to get information out quickly and to drive MW members to our site as the source of official information.
K. Weaver asked if there was a way to get email contact information from USAR for all of those CIPPed within the MW?
J. Johnson stated that Shawn had tried to get that information for years with no luck. We do have the Yahoo Groups lists but we do need something better.
K. Weaver stated that he was finally successful in getting that list from USAR but it took some time and quite a bit of doing.
B. Senior Men's LAU Tournament
J Johnson and G. Kostoff discussed that there will be a Senior Men’s LAU tournament, August 8 & 9 at the Blaze. The Thunderbirds will then play Ontario HP side on August 22 In Elkhart. Graeme sent the details out via the MW Yahoo Admin group. Confirmed LAUs are: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and CARFU. There is a possibility of a President’s XV for LAUs that cannot commit a full side. Coaching staff is Ron Bowers, Steve Nemeckay, Rich Shurfield and Scott Lawrence.
J. Johnson stated there has been concern expressed over the choice of the coaching staff. Some have issues with Scott Lawrence, who is now outside of the MW. He does have loyalty to the MW and to the Thunderbirds. There is concern that he will attempt to recruit players to move outside of the MW.
A. Gannon stated that he has concern that he is not involved with a club within the territory. He has concern with the entire coaching staff and their level of experience. There are 2 Super League clubs within CARFU, does he send players from the Super League clubs or players from DI clubs and below? There needs to be a pathway for coached within the MW to advance as well.
K. Weaver agreed with A. Gannon. We should be encouraging and bringing up coaches within the MW, not bringing in coaches from the outside.
J. Johnson stated that we perhaps need to establish a head coach then cycle coaches in and out of the program,
A. Barry asked if this program was to be developmental or high performance. Do we pick a head coach and allow that individual the authority to choose a staff? We need to provide boundaries but still give the head coach some latitude.
A. Gannon suggested the body review Graeme’s report (portions were read aloud as all did not have access to email). He feels that senior men’s select side has gone high performance instead of developmental as was presented in January.
G. Kostoff stated that when she proposed reinstating the program the goal was to provide strong players who otherwise would not get looked at an avenue and an opportunity to play at a higher level. How in the past have the select side coaches been chosen?
J. Johnson stated that the VP of Competitions has always chosen.
G. Kostoff stated that perhaps in the future when there is an opening resumes should be asked for and the Management Committee could have input.
A. Gannon stated that we need to make a decision on whether this is HP or developmental so the LAUs can give guidance to their membership on who is eligible to participate.
K. Weaver believes the Thunderbirds should be developmental.
G. Kostoff stated that the origins were most definitely developmental but from that initial discussion in January the idea grew and changed rapidly. Placing limits on who can be involved in the coaching staff is acceptable.
A. Barry would a directive to be given to the Management Committee to remind Graeme of the original nature of the proposal – developmental not HP – to manage the head coach and provide guidelines on choosing coaches and players.
A. Gannon believed that the membership needed a policy statement on this issue.
A. Barry moved that VP of Competitions needs to implement the program as it was intended. Eligible players are those who play at the DI level and below and that members of the coaching staff must be affiliated with a MW club. A. Gannon seconded the motion. Motion carried.
J. Johnson stated that in regards to the Ontario fixture, Graeme will be contacting local high school clubs in the Indiana Union, CARFU and the Michigan Union to sell tickets.
A. Gannon stated that many high school players in CARFU are also football players and will be in the middle of training. There may not be an interest..
J. Johnson stated that some arrangements regarding hospitality tents for clubs and general admission, food, beer and the like is in the works. Bart Bottorff and Graeme are to work out the details.
K. Weaver stated that the Moose Grounds runs a great tournament and we should just let them go with whatever it is they do.
C. Special Category clubs (see discussion under VII D)
D. New Dues Structure (includes discussion of VII C)
A. Barry stated that items VII C and VII D are part of the budget discussion as well and can be taken together here
J. Johnson stated that USAR is hesitant to take on another TI for individual dues collections. The tax implications are problematic. He believes this is an important issue for the MW as the financial implications are great.
A. Barry asked if there was supposed to have been an ad hoc committee formed after the last MW AGM to review this issue and understand the financial impact?
J. Johnson stated that we can do the financial analysis right now.
A. Barry stated that this will have a substantial impact on members and we need to lay out the differences to the members for their input.
J. Johnson stated we need to have a plan for what we would do with additional funds if we adopt this structure.
A. Barry stated that it is a big assumption that this will happen. There needs to be a plan and we must address player dissatisfaction.
A. Gannon stated that the additional funds should be used to create a more professionally run organization in the Midwest.
Barry stated that any organizational change should take place locally.
K. Weaver stated that he agrees and is against layering too many bureaucratic levels on players.
J. Johnson stated that if we adopt this structure, we must use the dues amount that the West and Southern California use.
A. Gannon suggested a committee be created.
K. Weaver stated that 98% of rugby is LAU-based. This must benefit individual members.
G. Kostoff stated that first a financial analysis needs to be done and options must be studied to show what the pros and cons are of adopting this. What good is revenue if we do not have a plan to use it to benefit the membership? She stated she is not in favor of generating dollars just to sit on them. Funds must be put to a beneficial use.
A. Barry stated that it would be great to pay dues all at once but adopting the dues structure of the West and Southern California creates a large dues increase that may not be beneficial.
K. Weaver stated that Ohio uses a 3rd party vendor to collect individual dues.
J. Johnson stated that there are two needs in rugby: HP and grassroots and the MW TU does neither. LAUs do grassroots and USAR does HP. The MW and other TUs are a pass-through. J. Johnson stated he is on the fence. It would be a philosophy change on dues collection and would become revenue producing.
A. Barry stated that the objective of professionalizing administration is based on the assumption that volunteers/elected administrators cannot perform competently. Would prefer to see paid LAU administrators than paid TU administrators. Fails to see the value in paid TU administrators.
G. Kostoff stated that she is not in favor of paid TU administrators. Our last two attempts at that were far from successful. That is what we have elected officers for. What will the revenue go for? This will be a hard sell to the membership without a clear, well-thought out plan for the dollars.
A. Gannon stated that he is not suggesting we adopt this today but there are benefits to a paid professional administrator. We need to show as a TU that we can be something. We have to grow grassroots.
K. Weaver stated that he agrees that for this to happen it has be at the LAU level not the TU level. The MW is simply too big for this to be effective. Individual dues are used in Ohio for high school players.
How many leagues are LAU-based? DIII senior and collegiates and all high school.
K. Weaver stated that high school is the largest.
A. Gannon believes that LAUs are on the USAR chopping block.
A. Barry stated that if any level is eliminated, it would be TUs. USAR would like to se four geographic areas run out of the central USAR office.
A. Gannon stated that the MW would be one of those.
Barry stated that no, the goal was to be state-based.
J. Johnson stated that if we make this move, it would be one step closer to eliminating the MW Territory.
S. Garbasz stated a plan is needed to show any benefit to the membership.
K. Weaver asked if this involves high schools in any way?
J. Johnson stated that in order to bring closure to the discussion he would like to have the name of an individual from each LAU to serve on this committee by June 12, 2009.
A. Gannon would like the committee to look at how to make the organization better, to make it a professional organization because we are not going anywhere.
J. Johnson stated that we are strong in numbers, and we have had the least number of mutinies in several years. Our organization is smooth and trustworthy. At the end of the year we had a balance of 72K in checking and 32K was placed in a CD.
G. Kostoff suggested A. Barry head the committee with Tim Harn to oversee the financial analysis. The committee needs specific objectives…pros, cons, financial impact and a plan for how to use the revenue. Special Category clubs should be included. Professional organization does not necessarily mean hiring someone to run our TU. A. Barry moved. G. Kostoff seconded. Motion carried.
E. LAU Handbook
This item was on the agenda in January.
S. Garbasz has a hardbound copy of an old MW LAU handbook that not only has good information on organization and structure but has historical content, i.e. select side squads, coaches, competitions, etc. He would like to see this again in some format with and archive and Hall of Fame-type structure.
G. Kostoff stated that she would undertake some these ideas as part of the website and to help facilitate communication between and among LAUs and individual members.
F. Women’s National League
Barry stated that the Women’s Premier League structure is set. There are 8 teams across the country with 2 Midwest clubs included. Promotion and relegation will be based on performance. They are building an infrastructure for lower divisions. Graeme Leask stated in his written report that the league is stacked in favor of the NE and Pacific clubs and the structure as it is proposed poses a large travel burden for the Midwest clubs (see report).
VIII. New Business
J. Johnson sent this out via the Midwest Yahoo Admin. Groups this morning. No voting issues at this time. Please review and raise concerns with the Management Committee if there are issues. Currently, 95% of the dues have been collected. J. Johnson stated that Tim Harn would be in favor of individual dues collections as opposed to what we do now. We are anticipating a bill from the referee society. $6,900 is set aside for Senior Men’s Select Side. Ron Bowers, Coach of the Collegiate Select Side, had asked for additional funds to take a developmental side to the Collegiate LAUs. Management Committee said no. As was stated before, half of the cash reserves, 35K, was placed in a 15 month CD.
B. Election of Secretary (moved to before Old Business)
C. Admission of New Clubs (moved to before Old Business)
D. Bowling Green Decision
J. Johnson stated that Men's DI was held at BGSU. Check-ins were done by a local ref and were anemic at best. Only CIPP and IDs were checked. On the Wednesday following the match, a call was received stating that BGSU played and ineligible player, a 6 year player. BGSU claimed the player had a waiver. J. Johnson spoke to T. Rooney and both Mazzarella and the Minnesota coach. A committee consisting of J. Johnson, a member of the MW Management Committee, the chair of the USA Rugby Eligibility Committee, and the USA Rugby Competitions Director was convened to discuss. Did an ineligible player play? The player claims he had a waiver with a FEDEX receipt. Dan Payne stated that he never got he waiver request. Bottom line, the MW dropped the ball. MW should have taken over check-ins no the host site. The question became should we send BGSU as the #1 send without the player in question. J. Johnson stated he was the only one on the committee who wanted to suspend BGSU. The committee felt it was the right decision and that players should not be penalized by the administrative shortcomings of coaches or of the MW Administration. Had the MW put someone in place, all of this could have been prevented.
At USAR, all eligibility protests need to be done prior to the match not after to avoid and appearance of sour grapes.
A. Barry stated she is disappointed and frustrated that 2 bad acts created such a situation. There needs to be consequences for such actions. Clubs need to take responsibility fro eligibility compliance. Suspension for violations of this need to placed in the mix. She asked that a review of the decision be made. The only punishment was that all games are away games. BGSU can still play for a national championship.
A. Gannon stated that J. Johnson is taking the heat. Tom Rooney did not file a report. Roger Mazzarella should have known better and probably did. He too would ask for a review of the decision and for stronger consequences. CARFU had clubs with CIPP problems and suspended them to make a statement.
J. Johnson wanted to clarify that on championship cross matches for the next three years, BGSU would have to play away. Further action can be taken at the MW level. BGSU had players that weren’t CIPPed for the national paperwork.
A. Gannon stated he sees no real consequences for BGSU.
K. Weaver stated that he would echo what has been said. Penalties have to be levied to show the next generation that this is a problem. A point needs to be proven for serious egregious violations. A further penalty is warranted.
Barry would like a different review panel to look at the situation. The VP of Collegiates should have taken control of the check in.
G. Kostoff stated that she would support further review if it falls within the disciplinary guidelines. It sounds as if the initial complaint came well after the 72 hour requirement.
J. Johnson stated that roster checks need to occur at all levels of competitions within the MW. The West had eligibility issues too. He will appoint a reviewer or committee to look at the situation and recommend and action.
E. Future policy on appeals of Disciplinary Decisions
J. Johnson stated that the situation involved U23 women. IL played GVSU. GVSU beat IL and made it to the DI final 4. IL coach Karl Spoerer was unhappy with the referee and appealed all the way to the IRB. (Some discussion of specific situation) The question for the body is at what point do we take disciplinary action against an individual or club who abuses the appeals process?
A. Gannon stated that you cannot do that. Clubs and individuals have a right to due process.
G. Kostoff stated that we should discipline people for that but we could charge them for the time it takes for hearing, the cost of the conference call, duplication of video or records and the like. It would be a fee for unsuccessful or non-meritorious appeals. Not as a punishment to appeal but to help ensure that appeals are really warranted. People will think twice about an appeal if they have some cost involved.
A. Gannon proposed that J. Mullett should create a fee structure to appeals that are unsuccessful or non-meritorious and the structure should fairly represent the outcome.
J. Johnson the other issue involves allowing video evidence or disciplinary proceedings. At the MW high school championships between Penn and Westerville there was an egregious stomp to the gut. The referee red-carded the player. Coaches from both teams approached the referee and asked that he not report it so the player could play at the next level. Then someone posted the video of the stomp to YouTube. Should that be the subject for discipline? Should we allow video evidence for foul play that is detected, dealt with within the match but not reported?
A. Barry stated that the laws allow for spectators to file a complaint.
K. Weaver stated that they have instituted this policy in Ohio. It is allowed. He has issued red cards and not reported . We must give the referee some deference and use this as a learning tool.
A. Gannon stated the law is to protect the player. The referee needs to report the red card and offer comments if s/he feels there are contributing factors or if an error was made in issuing the red card.
A. Barry was concerned that the referee was pressured to not report the red card.
G. Kostoff stated the disciplinary code is very specific. A red card means an automatic 1 match or 8 day suspension period regardless of whether it is reported. That must be enforced by clubs and LAUs. Evidence can be allowed and complaints a can be made by onlookers or spectators but those reports or complaints must be made within the timeframe laid out in the disciplinary code. If not, disciplinarians would be looking at complaints filed not just days but months or weeks later and often as a result of a vendetta.
S. Garbasz stated that WI has been using video for disciplinary purposes. One tape showed that the referee was behind play and could not see the foul play. There should be a separation between the referee and the discipline.
K. Weaver stated we should allow for video.
Barry moved that the MW allow for video of a match as evidence for disciplinary review of detected or undetected foul play. K. Weaver seconded. Motion carried.
F. MW Calendar
Upcoming Coach Certification Clinics
WI – July 11, 2009
CARFU – August 8, 2009
MN – Fall 2009 or February 2010
IN – June 27 and 28, 2009
OH – January 2010
Alleghany – one in Pittsburgh sometime this summer, unsure of the date.
MW AGM will be January 9, 2010 at the Holiday Inn, Willowbrook, IL.
G. MW Policy on named and certified coaches
A. Gannon would like a MW policy on every club having an identified and ultimately a certified coach. He believes each club should have to have an identified coach by this August and a certified coach by August 2010. This needs to be done when clubs are completing CIPP. This is especially important for collegiate clubs.
A. Barry stated that Minnesota pays for self-coached college players to become certified as coaches and as referees.
A. Gannon stated that LAU administrators need to enforce this and check CIPP lists. A. Gannon made the motion. A. Barry seconded. Motion carried.
K. Weaver asked that the date for spring select sides be determined and communicated as early as possible.
1:50 PM (Moved by G. Kostoff, second by K. Weaver)