Allegations of embezzlement have been laid against two former officers of the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union, generally considered one of America's better-run territories.
'After almost three months of investigation, the [territory's] executive committee has found evidence suggesting that the past president and past treasurer appear to have improperly utilized more than $150,000 of MARFU's funds for their own personal uses,' the territory said in a prepared statement (download).
'MARFU is pursuing all disciplinary and legal options available to recover the apparently misappropriated funds. In addition to the legal actions, the past president and past treasurer have been removed from all rugby administrative positions within the LAUs, MARFU, and USA Rugby,' the territory said.
As is our custom in America, these individuals should be presumed innocent. Simultaneously, it is appropriate for the territory to safeguard the trust of its members. Assessing the present balance of these two imperatives is not my purpose here.
Rather, it is to suggest that as more money comes into the game, American rugby's financial standards may not be keeping pace.
The national union, which has also dealt with embezzlement, no longer publishes its budget. Well-compensated individuals do not appear on the union's tax returns, as is required by law of any individual receiving more than $50,000.
Then there is the question of what standards USARFU can expect of its member unions, such as the Mid-Atlantic. It is worrying that those implicated have served on the old board, the present congress, and the audit committee.
The Mid-Atlantic said it is 'satisfactory financial shape' and would sustain its programs without any dues increases.