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17 August 2009


Let's hope that 7s becoming an Olympic sport means that the top 7s competition in the country will see crowds larger than 400 people. Those numbers are weak.

Where was Leonard Peters for Aspen?

Bill Tatham owns the D1 competition like all other USAR sanctioned domestic Sevens. He chose not to activate his rights, so the GGRFU held the event, sold some sponsorship and VIP. But had Tatham wanted the event, he owned it.

As Sevens becomes more popular only Tatham makes money.

You will wish for the days when a few hundred fans had some fun while the local club made a few bucks. Soon, we'll all be playing for the man.

How rich is it that USAR holds a national championships in which all cost are the responsibility of the participating teams (travel, lodging, meals) and the host club (all event cost). Then they sell the rights to an investor, pocket the money leaving the teams and hosts in the future to now pay for "the mans" investment.

How else did we think we were going to pay for Nigel and EOS salary?

Let me better understand what "hoodwinked" has stated; The whack job that has sent out numerous press releases about pro indoor gladiator sevens tournaments in Vegas OWNS all sevens events (just not the USA Sevens) ?

On who's watch did this take place ? Rugby finally has a moment in the sun, and USA Rugby administrators have already sold off the rights ?

I think I am going to be sick (again).

Welcome back Kurt. Congratulations to Belmont Shore! Another example of success building upon success.

Tatham owns the rights to pro rugby in the US for 6 through 14 players on the field.

He has no rights to pro 15s.
He has no rights to USA amateur club competitions like the USA Club 7s Championshup this past weekend.
He has no rights to the IRB 7s Series that is the USA Sevens in Vegas (formerly San Diego and before that Carson City/LA).

The Pro 7s rights were sold to Tatham by Doug Arnot and the USA Rugby board at the time (2005 +/-). He has these rights until 2018.

Yes this is not good for us but the misinformed blanket complaint by hoodwinked above is not correct. Please get your facts straight and sign your real name.

Howard Kent
Denver 7s

For the record, the IOC owns the rights to any Olympic sport within it's games structure. These are outside any national arrangements.

At best Tatham may own some rights to US 7's games, but he has no rights on any IOC santioned sports played at an Olympic Games.

Everyone can now go back to watching the regular scheduled show.

Howard you're a dumb shit.

You are correct that Tatham's first agreement in 2005 was for a pro sevens league.

Melville expanded the agreement in 2008, check the USAR archives before telling anyone to check their facts big shot.

The expanded agreement gives Tatham full commercial control and ownership over all sevens, played in the USA and sanctioned by USAR, except the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.

Every official USAR sevens event is covered under the 2008 agreement. Events like the Cape Fear's, Tri-Tip etc aren't USAR sanctioned, so Tatham doesn't own them.

The 2008 agreement also give Tatham ownship over a the official college event, even though it hasn't been created yet.

TMI, the IOC and USOC own the Olympic Games and the Olympic trials, not the official events of the NGB, USAR. Now USAR doesn't even own the official events of USAR, they have sold these properties to a private investor.

This is now a problem because USAR will need to build out domestic sevens, in order to truly build an Olympic sport, and the greedy pricks have already sold the rights for next to nothing.

Howard is an idiot.

I found those USAR releases, looks clear to me that in USARs own words they sold Tatham EXCLUSIVE rights the sanctioned domestic sevens of all favors.

howard kent is a kind man from denver. and ...he cant help himself, that is the way jesus made him...

Who is Howard Kent - and what is Denver 7s?

So this is a yes no question. Does the Congress person representing me know about this contract and sale of rights between USA Rugby and this guy Tatham?

Are they allowed to see what the contract dictates one way or another?

I know there are some Congress members who have posted on this site before. Have any of you seen this contract and are you allowed to see and understand this contract? For what its worth, this seems fundamental to representing us.

Aspen Rules-tell him in person you probably see him enough.

Who is ready for some college rugby??

Now you are

Nice collection of illegal tackles and poor skills in that vid...Sad.

I am sure they were all penalized. You are a very very unhappy person.

I assume members of Congress read and post on Gainline anon.

I have seen Pat Kane and Eric Pittelkau join discussions and voice opinions while signing their names.

Recently Adrian Gannon and David Pelton commented under their names in a save their ass mission, explaining why they don't want anymore information from the BOD.

Can any of you confirm that you have or haven't seen the USAR contract with Tatham, or should the membership conclude the greatest cover-up of all time is underway?

The membership knows that certain Congress individuals, like all three Board members from the West, are playing politics.

Can any Congress member confirm they were apprised of this contract?

Pat, Eric, you are both stand up guys, can you comment one way or another?

How about those recent BOD elections?

I'm using election loosely, because I don't know anybody from our little non-profit membership organization that was allowed to vote.

Did I miss the part where we decided there was no more voting on anything? Apparently, a small print item, which slid pass most of us.

Well Bill Middleton (AKA Kevin Roberts proxy) who's term was up, was reelected! Middleton a kiwi, who hasn't raised one cent in donations or sponsorship, has never coached, ref'ed, or even played the game at a significant level is reelected. His major qualifications appear to be his land of birth and the fact he follows the All Blacks with Chairman Roberts.

Middleton is best known for running out on a rugby investment, leaving the other investors holding the bag.

The best we can learn, a committee run by Frank Merrill, a vet by trade, looked high and low and couldn't find a replacement for Middleton. We must assume they also felt Bill Middleton was doing an outstanding job for his reelection to occur.

US rugby has gotten to the point where each of these behind the curtain steps need to be archived. Our history will give full "credit" to individuals like, Frank Merrill who appear in the pocket of this foreign BOD.

Our elections have turned into a banana republic. Where is Congress? How did you vote in the recent BOD elections?

Boy, we have certainly turned into an efficient organization by eliminating the time consuming need to vote on anything.

It appears USA Rugby, specifically it's leadership, including Roberts, Melville, Latham and Merrill, have some answering to do.

If they are not held in account, how do we ever expect to more the game forward ?

I'm apparently not a stand up guy, because I'm not posting my name. I started to, but ultimately, I couldn't care less if I'm dubbed a "man of people" by the blog community...and would rather keep some amount of trust with those I work with at USA Rugby and on congress.

There will be announcements leading up to the October 9th vote by the IOC that will likely make those of you following this site very, very happy. There will not, however, be announcements made to the public that truly illustrate what a key role some of those mentioned above played in making the upcoming announcements a possibility...but only because Roberts, Melville and Latham can't be specifically named for the work they've done to make them possible. They've been tremendous in the effort.

I can honestly say that if we were to lose Roberts and Melville, it'd be the death of USA Rugby. Their connections, especially those such as with Cantebury, where NM had a heads up of what was coming down the line with the all out failure, gave us the opportunity to seek new sponsorship deals prior to other unions doing the same. We really had a leg up on everyone.

Some are claiming that Dan Lyle (including Dan Lyle) is the savior of USA Rugby, but remember, Dan was one of the architects of the selling of the rights to professional 7s in the US, along with Doug Arnot. Dan is a great guy, and arguably the best player to ever don an Eagles uniform, but doing so does not a CEO make.

Nominations for the Board, like any publicly traded company, are not handled the same as general elections. The true power is in the nominations committee. They do the leg work, and ask the congress to affirm their decision. It's the same way you vote as shareholders in companies in which you own stock. You don't get to see much justification, you're just given candidates and an opportunity to agree or disagree.

While I think there are some soup sandwiches on the Board, most of them are contributing to the development of the business side, and furthering elite level rugby.

No matter how you slice it, these are not people that you or I can relate to...they're the "other half" of society. They work their angles and acquaintences over luncheons and golf tournaments. Leave them to do that work, and the rest of us can take care of domestic competitions.

Congress really is a powerless entity. Approve the membership of the board, monitor the dues structure, and keep track of all sales of assets. Yes, this includes the enterprise rights to the 7s series event and professional 7s. Congress knew about it. At the time of the deal, however, USA Rugby was a sinking ship, a black hole with no money to fund, and no assets to leverage...until the offer regarding the 7s came. It was welcomed with open arms, and while it was a disheartening move, from an ego standpoint, it was good business...and it still is. The gains from any professional 7s are a long, long ways off, and the USA 7s has been losing money still...this year at a record pace. We gave an interested party the rights to the events/promise of revenue...but we also offloaded the liability, which in doing the real math, couldn't have been better at the time.

Contracts can be reworked, and new opportunities will arise.

Again, not a fan of blogs. They're a soapbox of the mis or uninformed...and give opportunity to pontificate without rebuke.

Be careful where you're placing blame in this instance...I think, in general, the consensus is way off base.

Never trust men wearing masks...

the Dread Pirate Roberts

My insiders tell me golf will take the Olympic slot.

Not rugby.


What a crock of shit DPR.

Where to start? Canterbury was good work by Melville??? First the administration blows out Kooga, which is resulting in a seven figure law suit which USAR will lose. Next, Canterbury doesn't provide the volume of kit needed by the Eagles, which was one of Scott Johnson big gripes. Then they go bankrupt and are purchase by the same company which own Kooga. The management of this kit sponsorship issue has been terrible.

Arnot, not Lyle, sold the rights to pro sevens in 2005, which isn't a problem. The problem is the 2008 expansion of the agreement which gives Tatham exclusive rights to all USAR sanctioned sevens in the US. The fact you are pretending to be in the know and not acknowledging this fact, makes clear you are trying to mislead the membership.

If this BOD is doing the business of USAR on the golf course as you suggest, they had better play a few more rounds.

The administration of USAR is dirty. And you sir are a tool in the dirt.

We know who isn't spreading lies on Congress, heres the list:

Dana Bateman, Annie Collier, Farrah Douglas, Paul Ganey, Martin Gardner, Gary Heavner, Patrick Kane, Danita Knox, Dan Lyle, Ellen Owens, Eric Pittelkau, Ines Rodriguez, Tom Schmitt and Steve Vent.

These individuals are representing us on Congress and want our administration to be the best that we can be.

We've heard from the individuals we need to hold responsible for this mess also. Frank Merrill, David Pelton, Adrian Gannon have all commented they don't even want more information. They think all is well. Merrill recently reappointed Middleton to the BOD.

Two others that didn't sign the letter are Mark Griffin and Patrick Guthrie, both of whom do private business with USAR.

Chris Osentowski didn't sign and he's part of the Melville age grade coaching set up. The theme is getting clearer.

The West Congress members were the closest to Arnot as he drove USAR off the cliff, now they once again support BOD member Bob Latham. The West has gotten worse each year for several years under these guys. Its always the same old politics in the West. Sexton hasn't had an idea in a decade, other than his plans to stay on Congress. Sharpley works on the USAR competition committee, he thinks things are going well.

Its clear that self interest is what's wrong with Congress.

Clearly self interest is on the list of what is wrong in the West, (and USA Rugby) but I believe Sexton's self interest is only tail fin sticking out of the water from the downed USA Rugby charter.

Passenger manifest includes, Arnot, Latham, Merrill, Sexton and others.

You misread me...I'm not saying the Canterbury deal was better for us, because I don't think it was, even before they went belly up. I was saying that NM was told of their problems very early on, and started shopping us around before other unions came out into the market.

You're correct, the lawsuit won't go away.

Explain to me what Tathum's rights to the domestic 7s competitions does to the detriment of USA Rugby? As I understand it, he only has rights to professional events in the US...not amateur. Do you think we're losing out on gate receipts from the 400 people that walk up to watch? I think the only cost will be if Tathum does move forward with a 5 on 5 version of arena style rugby. Bastardization, maybe...but when the IOC votes to accept both rugby and golf (which USOC insiders say they believe both will be included), and the USOC starts funding the development of a national team, they'll essentially carve that piece out from underneath him.

As for Lyle vs Arnot, you're correct to a point, but Lyle absolutely handled the transaction for Arnot when it went down. He also handled the deal with Prusmack (his name will come back into the national fold very soon) for the USA Sevens...which Tathum later dealt for.

As for Scott Johnson, he fell on his sword and got much undeserved bad press. For him to step away because USA Rugby couldn't afford to provide salaries and health insurance to players was actually quite admirable. I do think this is one instance where Kevin Roberts made a promise he couldn't keep, and it cost us.

I think it's also somewhat comical that people are labeling those that put their names on the congress letter to the board as heroes. It's not that the letter was a bad idea, it's the whole act surrounding it that seemed to be grandstanding. If anyone should come out looking good from it, I think it would Pat Kane, because he was pushing for that information for a while. I don't think he fits into the "old guard" mold, either. Thankfully there are very few of those people left.

Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, USA Rugby is really dividing into two separate pieces...one for elite level and one for domestic/community rugby. It actually kind of has to move this way, because if we don't split it out, leaving elite level up to the board, community rugby will continue to get their hands in on the discussion and mute any efforts to move forward there, because they'll cry it comes at the cost of the domestic game. Splitting them out and letting congress/TUs focus on the domestic game, gives community players/coaches/administrators a much more direct path to effect change.

I'm not sure I see the self-interest problem as much in congress any more. Maybe the West is a bad example. Sharpley does do a great job with the competitions committee.

If you really want to bring about change to the domestic landscape, the secretive rugby committee is the one that needs to be addressed. Their decisions frequently supercede what other committees spend hours determining to be the right course of action. There is way too much power in that committee, and the membership of that committee is much too guarded.


Save our incorrect breath and go to the USAR archives and see the 2008 USAR press release.

This release concerns Tatham purchasing the domestic rights to all sanctioned sevens. This has nothing to do with professional rugby. Its all things sanctioned by USAR. The agreement included D1 and NASC sevens championships. These events are detailed in the contract. It also includes any future domestic events USAR cares to sanction.

The USAR release you can find online, before USAR takes it down, calls the agreement a exclusive rights purchase for ALL domestic sevens. The only current or future property carved out of the agreement is the IRB sevens stop now in Las Vegas, which USAR had previously sold to Prusmack.

This can't be blamed on Arnot, or Lyle for that matter. Melville took and deal for pro sevens and expanded it into all things sevens. The joke is he didn't get much money from Tatham for the expansion. Melville, lawyer Latham and Roberts didn't see the implication on the Olympics, until now that is!

BTW, lets keep talking about this, even if you don't agree with me that this contract will come back to haunt USAR, at least we are pulling the not-so-good-work of this administration out into the open.

By the way. We didn't get a start over any over county because Melville knew something first about Canterbury. Most of the other countries Canterbury had under contract have already found a new kit supplier, its USAR who is still looking. My bet is they crawl back to Kooga. They will be forced to settle the lawsuit in Kooga's best interest.

Every piece of business this administration touches is tits up, DOA.

Please is a front runner for post of the year.

I can't believe people actually pay healthily to watch our leadership make things disappear. This regime is like watching a 5 year old do magic tricks.

What a joke you people are, several people on the Congress including Pat Kane, Dan Lyle and others asked a simple question - where are the plans as required by the bylaws.
You all take this into a political sh%t storm - either we want to act like a real business and produce plans that have accountablity or not.
So far this administration has chosen not to, why is the questions, 15 members of Congress including Chris Os who signed on late want to know!
Arnot, Latham and now Melville and Roberts to not have any specific performance metrics for themselves or the union, why is the question?
As for the joker that says Lyle is a self promoter, and made some remarks about other peoples intentions, sign you name if you are going to gun sling. Pointing out what is or is not happening is one thing, saying you know something and critcizing character is wrong!

Hey people, Nigel Melville is all about communication. He even has a blog!

So what's the chance he will report to Congress the contents of the 2008 contract expansion that he agreed to with Bill Tatham? Between zero and none.

He'll do what he always does, he'll talk around the issues, a little pro sevens talk, a little these guys could be good partners BS, a little my hands were tied but it's going to be OK, a little I had a word with them and we have nothing to worry about.

Any chance Congress will be able to read the contract and decide for themselves if the contract is a good piece of business? No chance, because the contract is a big problem for our new Olympic responsibilities.

Well surely the contract will be at least read aloud for Congress to decide it's impact. Don't bet on it.

Congress will be kept in about the same loop as they were with the lawsuit with Kooga. Remember as USAR were coming off contract how they failed to follow the terms of the contract, then stiffed Kooga for six figures worth of good bills. You do realize, USAR is going to lose this lawsuit big time, right?

Congress start demanding some answers.


1) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, your 2008 USAR release of the expanded agreement between USAR and Tatham, said the agreement was for ALL sevens played in America, could you please explain?

2) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, no where in this release do you speak about pro sevens, is this because the expanded agreement includes all sanctioned sevens as the release indicates?

3) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, you boys used the word EXCLUSIVE in describing the agreement, is the agreement between Tatham and USAR an exclusive agreement?

4) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, how much were we paid to sell all rights to the new Olympic sport?

5) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, your release said the agreement was for all sanctioning, licensing and broadcasting rights, what's left?

6) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, does the USOC understand the commercial rights to sanctioned sevens in the US are owned by an investor group and not USAR?

7) Nigel, Bob, Kevin, once again how much did we get for this expanded 2008 agreement? Not the whole agreement first signed in 2005 which gave Tatham rights to pro sevens, but the 2008 agreement which according to your public release expanded Tatham's rights to "Acquire Exclusive Rugby Sevens Rights in U.S. for Sanctioning, Licensing, Broadcasting" what did we get?

Last point Nige, Bobby and Kev, we the members of USAR own the rugby union. We elected Congress to keep their eye on you boys and provide some oversight and checks and balances and we expect them th ask these question and for you to answer them.

Hey Dread,
Is this name referencing an additiction to some Caribbean joy juice that makes you unaware and misinformed, let alone completely neurotic and to your own labeling "a man of the people"?!

How on one hand can you say these guys are doing a good job, then say the rugby committee is too Secretive? Is it up to you to decide who is grandstanding, and then give Pat Kane (nothing against Pat as I support the letter) a pass over the others? Did you personally call each one to decide what their motivations were?

You have no idea what we will or will not have to do on the USOC front, give me one example by way of a Strategic Plan or HP plan which we will have to produce for our sports partner at the USOC that shows pathways for 7's etc.

How did Melville, Roberts, Latham, or any of the old guard from the West or Pacific contribute to the possible inclusion, what pathway/plan are they following now that gives you such trust in their judgement and future capabilities?

Who are you, what is it that you are trying to say/prove in this post? That you have some pieces of information, probably gathered from the very mouths of the people that you want to prop up, but at the same time wanting to be a man of the people while keeping that trust?! You are very confused, how many ways do you want it?

DPR, your 1st post is pure comedy.

Despite a rigorous schedule of "getting a leg up", "getting a heads up", "not being named specifically" but contributing, playing golf and eating lunch... USA Rugby can't pass the grade.

Is this the new USA Rugby business model we have been hearing about? Adding another year to High School makes sense now.

I hear the colleges made a move to pull out of USAR this weekend. Any news?

In response to Skinner--
"My insiders tell me golf will take the Olympic slot.
Not rugby".

I'm wondering who your insiders are??? Reason I ask is I have daily conversations with a former USOC member right here in Colorado and he has stated multiple times that per the conversations he has had....he believes rugby will get the vote, he also says that Golf probably won't get in at all because it's an elitist game and that people don't feel that anyone but Tiger Woods would be likely to get the gold. That's what my "insider" says.
I guess we'll have to wait till 10/9

Geez, I liked question man's post. I am the only one who would like to see those questions asked at the upcoming board meeting ?

How much are we paying EOS by the way ? A National team player told me he still lives in Ireland, how can he stay on top of things here from so far away ? Are we paying him by the week when the team is in Denver, or is it a annual salary ? Just Curious.

Once again Canada has their s#!t together and is moving forward with plans to be a more competitive rugby nation.


Canada seems to do many good things, but this story amounts to something between squas and squau in my personal dictionary.

USA will get things in order, and as long as we can hold Canada to zero points, we'll have a good chance at coming away with a draw or a narrow win next time around.

Canada has 4 development teams competing in the IRB funded ARC competition, and now it sounds like they may have 14 players in North Wales representing a Welsh region against Magner League and Guinness Premiership A sides. Sounds like we are going to be losing to Canada for at least a few more years. They own the series with a 70% win percentage, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Our players have no chance. Melville and the USAR Board of Directors are getting their ass kicked by the Rugby Canada administration.

Where is Coppedge when we need him.

USA RUGBY = Village Idiot of World Rugby!

Can't wait to see them f'up the Olympic opportunity with 7s. What a bunch of clowns.

I was watching the MLS game between LA Galaxy and Chivas tonight think it was a pretty good match with Beckham scoring a goal late in the game to win the battle of Los Angeles. I thought that maybe someday we will have a comparable rugby league within the next decade, and then I remembered who runs our game. Shocking how bad the state of affairs are at this point of the game being in the USA. Past Olympic Champions...HA! What a joke.

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