Youth, referees, and military players can expect their dues to go down in 2007, but officials in the West and Pacific Coast territories may be less enthused by proposed changes to USA Rugby’s leading revenue source.
The union’s Board has recommended that CIPP (Club and Individual Participation Program) fees for pre-high school players be reduced to $10 from $20, while refs and military players would no longer owe anything beyond standard category dues, according to minutes of the directors’ September 23 meeting. The changes must be approved by the Congress, which is to vote electronically.
Also at its New York meeting, the Board decided USA Rugby would no longer collect territorial dues on behalf of its member unions. Presently the West and Pacific Coast rely on the national office to pass along an additional $15 per senior player, $12 for collegians, and smaller amounts for other categories.
Because the youth, referee, and military groups are very small, the proposed changes are expected to have little effect on the $2 million program, which will account for a bit less than 45 percent of the union’s 2006 income. Some territories, such as the Mid-Atlantic, actually assume the cost of dues for their youth and high school players, so any reductions will accrue to the unions themselves.
But the two western regions now face the necessity of developing collection mechanisms just 90 days before the new year begins. At least one Pacific Coast official was not aware of the Board’s decision and said he would review the matter presently. Western representatives had not responded to emails asking for comment.
update "[The decision] is extremely disappointing. Most of the TU [territorial union] functions, such as rep[resentative] side play and organizing playoffs, are a matter of complying with USA Rugby mandates and compliance requires the expenditure of money. If sources and collection of TU revenues are uncertain, the ability of the TUs to comply with USA Rugby mandates comes into question," said John Coppinger, vice president of the Pacific Coast.
Eleven months ago, USA Rugby was forced to raise dues in every category, including clubs, in order to cover a gaping shortfall. Led by chair Neal Brendel and chief executive Doug Arnot, the union had already sold the USA 7s and would further require an early disbursal of the International Rugby Board’s 2006 high performance grant.
Having recognized 2006 income in 2005, the union is now likely to fall $200,000 short of this year’s revenue target and will again have to bring some of next year’s revenues forward to the current fiscal year, according to the minutes.
Separately, Old Blue have re-signed Paul Keeler as head coach. Formerly a prop forward and player-coach for the New York club, Keeler's term is to run two years.