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14 December 2011

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Latham is such a jock sniffer. Billy Beaumont is going to put him between a couple pieces of rye bread and eat him for lunch. Can you imagine the flak from the real rugby men on the IRB board to a pretender like Latham? Even the board members who wanted Lapasset to win, will have no time for Latham. He will always been known as the guy who sold his vote for a place on the board. This vote auction coupled with him being the runt who only pretended to play the game, offers a prediction this board seat will become the face of US Rugby. Our cause was just put back a decade.

+1. If it looks and smells bad, its bad.

You guys are idiots. This is a good thing. End of story.

Have never mett Mr. Latham, this site has had numerous people over the years be rather critical of this guy. I certainly hope he represents us well, and is an effective broker for the div 2s.

As for the women, sad situation.

@Power Move

Time will tell. If you are correct, the story will play out that having a seat at the table (anyway we can get it, even by selling our vote) is better than not having a seat at the table.

The other school of thought is that it's more important to have a respected person in the seat. Lets remember these regional places are short lived. Canada had this seat, along with their permanent seat, now we have it for awhile. Are we so desperate for a short term seat we send the wrong guy? Only to be revolved out, leaving a lightweight stench.

These are highly accomplished rugby men on this board. Latham was a non-player for the most part. B-side rugby for the Dallas Quinns on the wing. This is right field for a little leaguer. He is a swarming politician. He is part of the decline in USAR. He was a key figure in the hiring of Scott Johnson and the elimination of our membership representation, which was the creations of a congress with no authority.

The IRB board will get the wrong impression of US rugby. They will think, if this is their best guy, what does this say for US rugby. They don't know squat about the game, because this guy doesn't know squat. The playing side of the board is represented in the form of Bill Beaumont, former England and British Lions captain. Beaumont had the regional vote when Canada had the seat. Latham brokered it to the Frenchman. Latham was our dead man walking on his own merits, but with the playing side of the game now lining up behind Beaumont, Latham is dead on arrival.

Last thing. Beaumont's RFU has been the rugby nation which has done the most for USAR. The Churchill Cup cost the RFU millions, over time, more than we have received from the IRB. Nice payback USAR-Latham gives them by siding with the French over the RFU man. All the nations will see this as a back-stab. Good luck getting anything done with this brokered IRB seat now.

@DOA

Who would you suggest USA Rugby put forward as our representative? Obviously you want Dan or Jack...

Oh wait, it's not USA Rugby's representative, but NACRA's...

Seriously, wtf do you think is a better alternative?

Latham is the sitting NACRA chair, and he's been USA Rugby's conduit to the USOC. Regardless of playing pedigree, on paper, he's the guy...unless you wanted to put Nigel up there.

But wait, it still wasn't USA Rugby's call.

The gerrymandering of the vote wasn't NACRA's, it was Asia's. If anyone was back door politicking, it was Japan.

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby/club-rugby/a_question_of_votes_1_1990969

As for stabbing the RFU in the back, because of the Churchill Cup support, that's only a half-truth. They weren't making that support for the good of the Eagles, they were doing it for the good of the RFU, hoping to open up the US markets to the Rose.

It would be better to not be at the table if the wrong guy is our rep. I agree this has the chance of holding US rugby back. Bobby Latham is the last guy I want representing us in an international rugby setting.

Let's all remember that Latham is responsible for okaying the foreign invasion-hiring Thorburn, Johnson, and O'Sullivan at outrageous salaries, not to mention Melville. All decisions made so to be (finally) one of the "cool kids".

Melville hasn't raised a nickle of sponsorship as CEO. Guess that is okay with Latham?

Don't say that these decisions were/are Chairman Roberts because it is obvious to all he doesn't really care.

Roberts history of no-showing domestic matches while never missing a lunch with a passing through former All Black is all you need to understand.

This is a snapshot of Latham's "leadership".

Cold dreary winter days in College Station. This is a bad rugby venue for a recreational touch tournament. My lord what are all those lines and field markings? Only what could be described as average rugby by the better teams, terrible rugby my most. Zero production value from USAR. No fans. Is this really the college product on offer from USAR for a couple million in dues from the college teams? Nigel Melville and Todd Bell should be ashamed. This looks like a poorly organized ultimate frisbee tournament.

I agree with @disgrace. The production value was pathetic, the venue was a joke, the crowd was non-existent and the quality of play was poor. Add the fact that one of the key matches had a ref make an error and shave nearly 4 minutes off a game that could decide the quarter finalist and you have a complete joke.

Is the best college rugby can produce is smashmouth 7s?

USA Rugby press release says Life University is the 2012 Men's Collegiate Rugby 7s Champions and a collective "Who?" is heard from sports media desks around the country. After a google search a collective "Who cares?" is heard from those same desks. Of course USA Rugby doesn't send press releases to sports media desks. So no harm done.

It was great stuff, D2 CWU vs NAIA Life for the crown. With a final like that it is a good thing D3 Norwich won the women's...;-)

NCAA here we come!

The semifinals and final were actually very good rugby. Agree completely that Life University as our national champion is not going to help us enter the mainstream, but it underscores the importance of the daily training environment for developing our athletes. All 4 semifinalists are varsity or "quasi-varsity" and it showed. And Kutztown, Life, and CWU are doing it almost exclusively with American kids. For all the people bemoaning everything that relates to rugby in this country, I think this tournament showed that some progress is being made. Probably in spite of USAR instead of because of USAR, but progress is progress. Next step is to figure out how to get this tournament off of intramural fields and into a stadium and off of Ustream and on to at least a legitimate webcast.

On a side note, Nigel Melville bitchslapped Sue Parker in his response to her "gender equity" letter. Hopefully RugbyMag will post his letter.

@College Coach

Quit being an apologist for USA Rugby. College kids' CIPP fees are about 1/5th of USA Rugby's budget and all they get on the 7s front is a crap tournament that looked on par with a Greek Week flag football competition.

...and the college kids paid all the major coasts (travel, accommodation, etc). All USA Rugby paid for was a crap trophy, Nigel & Co's travel, accommodation and entertainment and maybe a few odds and ends. Ustream is free.

Now the USOC is involved - shouldn't we be having random drug testing at nationals? At least one of those semi-final teams would be in big trouble. You only have to look at one of their coaches to know they are juiced up!

@Balco

Do tell.

Not sure where in what I wrote you can find apologies for USAR, but whatever you say bud. I happen to agree with everything you complain about in your posts.

Just think some teams need their players urine testing, thats all.

By the way the one failed drug test for the RWC was a US player. Apparently bad communication but none the less we are the only one

Probably another Eagle taking a drug for hair restoration!

Is that a true statement re: USA athlete and a failed drug test?

I've googled it, and every story I've seen is from 9-10 days ago. At that time his name was still unreleased, but he played for one of the twelve team that were eliminated in the pool stages. If there is a link to a credible source, or even a good rumor, I'd like to see it.

If you know he "bitch slapped" her, then post the letter yourself.

@Balco - yes, that's a link to a 10 day old story about an unidentified player. What source do you have that he is American?

My guess is Emerick.

University as our national champion is not going to help us enter the mainstream, but it underscores the importance of the daily training environment for developing our athletes. All 4 semifinalists are varsity or "quasi-varsity" and it showed. And Kutztown, Life, and CWU are doing it almost exclusively with American kids. For all the people bemoaning everything that relates to rugby in this country, I think this tournament showed that some progress is being made. Probably in spite of USAR instead of because of USAR, but progress is progress. Next step is

How do I post a PDF in this comment section? I don't feel like typing it all out.

I never said it was a US player. Just think we need to widen the net because every college rugby player that is using knows they are not going to get caught until attend an IRB sponsored event.

off topic -- Marcelo Loffreda, former Argentina Pumas HC has been contacted for the Eagles job. Info is on the french site Midi Olympique www.rugbyrama.fr

What kind of crowd does anyone expect when it rains all weekend and the university bumps the games from the stadium to the turf pitches? All of the coaches and players involved seemed to have enjoyed the tournament immensely, so it really doesn't matter what the clowns on here think.

Dear Sue,
Ref: Gender Equity Letter
December 16th, 2011
Thank you for your recent letter dated 9th December regarding your concerns over gender
equity at USA Rugby.
The first time your committee raised this issue with me was on a committee call in
November, at that time you may recall, I thought an audit was a good idea and that we
should go further than a gender audit and look at the organization from a diversity
perspective. Following that call I started work on this concept and met the Chair of the
Diversity Working Group at the USOC to ask for her input.
On December 9th
, thirty minutes prior to a call with your committee to update you on the
progress being made on the NCAA Emerging Sports Initiative, you emailed me a copy of
your letter to the Board, Congress and Audit Committee.
I felt that it was not my place to respond without speaking to the USA Rugby Board and
confirmed that I would set up a call with them this week. It was disappointing to hear that
prior to giving the Board a chance to respond, you personally placed the letter into the
media.
Nevertheless, the USA Rugby Board met yesterday, discussed your concerns and agreed
that the diversity audit currently in progress should be taken to its conclusion. The results
will then be discussed with the USA Rugby Board, Congress and Audit Committee and
any issues arising from this audit will be acted upon. We will of course share these
findings with your committee.
Your comments regarding the USA Rugby/USOC residency program make it clear that
you do not understand the program or the funding of the 2012 program. Yes, there will be
8 Women and 15 men receiving direct athlete support payments, however, the program
also includes separate funding for the women to support their attendance at an increased
number of events in 2012. All players will receive identical payments, both men and
women will receive identical sports science support, and they will also share GPS
M~~!!E 2500 ARAPAHOE AVENUE, SUITE 200 • BOULDER, CO 80302 II TEL: 303/539·0300 • FAX: 303/539·0311 .. WWW.USARUGBY.ORG """Q"e,rWTH"
INTERNATIONAL RUGBY BOARD
tracking technology. The USOC High Performance Unit decide how much to commit to
each program, this varies across sports and gender within each sport.
I would also like to confirm that we are making excellent progress in support of USA
Rugby's NCAA Emerging Sports Initiative for women, as you know I have held
meetings with both the NCAA and the USOC to move the program forward in 2012. I
would like to remind you that I have requested, as a priority, from your committee
wording to support the inclusion of Rugby Sevens for the NCAA legislative committee.
I will continue working on the Diversity Audit and will feed back to you our findings in
due course.
Yours Sincerely,
Nigel
CEO and President of Rugby Operations
USA Rugby

@Anon - Good for them. I mean that as sincerely as possible. Some young people had a chance to play some good rugby and compete for something that meant a lot to them. For winners and losers alike, this will be a fond memory of which they can justifiably take pride.

But it stops there.

This tournament represents an abject failure by USA Rugby. They sold this as a national championship, but refused to behave accordingly. For God's sake, how long did it take for them to officially announce the venue? This should be An Event, indeed one of the flagship events in the American rugby calendar.

The springtime tournament in Philadelphia...THAT is an event. It is treated accordingly by organizer, spectators, and television. It is regrettable that they exclude some very good teams - there is no satisfying balance between schools with top rugby and schools with top brands. But at least they've created something that looks like it is intended to be a big deal.

RWC 2051:

Quite honestly, I'll hold my judgment until I see how the event turns out next year. This year felt like a quick reaction to clubs like CWU, ASU, etc. who demanded an opportunity to compete for a 7s title and be seen by Al and his staff.

Hopefully USAR can manage to sell the importance of this even to at least NBC Universal or someone of equal or greater value (maybe even ESPN2?). What we're seeing with the CRC is the equivalent of the BCS, and though it may be great for rugby overall, it's coming at the expense of the quality programs out there. Notice that schools who've been allowed into the CRC with little merit (Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, NC State, Wisconsin, etc.) didn't fare near as well as the varsity-level programs that only have a chance at the CRC via the LVI. In fact, the top 5 teams in this competition were of the latter category (1. Life, 2. Central Washington, 3. Arkansas State, 4. Kutztown, 5. St. Mary's).

Hopefully next year a venue can be selected quicker and teams will now have made the time/budget for this event since they'll have time to plan for its existence. The one major knock I give the even this time around is that it probably shouldn't have started until next year, no matter how high of a demand there was for it from teams crying foul about the CRC. The timing of it may always be shitty, unfortunately, as there really isn't a good spot for it on the calendar in working around school schedules and league calendars. We'll see. I remain optimistic about this overall.

*varsity-like, not varsity-level

I agree that there was a need, and I certainly don't blame those clubs for agitating for something that gave them chance to be involved. But the execution on this was so far beyond bad that I don't see the point of withholding judgment. Not even knowing that the weather and/or the whims of campus administrators could get the tournament banished to some turf field is inexcusable.

I'm told the turf field fiasco was not part of the original contract, so (if true) what could USAR do about that? It's not like they can say, "Oh, yeah? Well, we'll move the tournament to.... Oh, wait - there's 40 teams here ready to play."

Again, the only thing I really look down upon is the rush job in holding it this year. This should have been held next year from a competitive standpoint.

Can someone flesh out the story about what happened with the field? Where was it supposed to take place?

I can't speak to what happened to the stadium but there were two very nice full size grass fields ready for use for the tournament. However there was so much rain on Thursday night that those fields were soaked. The event was wisely moved to the turf. By the end of the Friday morning round of games those grass fields would have been destroyed, producing some horrible rugby conditions. All of the coaches I talked with preferred the turf to a wet, muddy field. Yes the multiple lines were an issue at times but there's not much that can be done about that. That's just a by product of having a viable plan B.

Things ran mostly on time and there was a professional feel to the event. Rosters were captured electronically and there was a full compliment of match officials at all times. playing area was properly managed to insure that reserve players and coaches stayed where they were supposed to and spectators (not a problem on Friday but definitely could have been on Saturday) stayed where they were supposed to.

Really only negatives heard from the participants were related to the issues created because it was graduation weekend at TAM and the poor streaming. No broadcaster is ever going to cover two full days of this event but the web streaming should be a standard feature and of apparent better quality.

Sure, things could have been better but I think this was a good event to build on.

Those fields were a disgrace. The agreement between A&M and USAR was a bad piece of business. This event was so far away from good it isn't even funny. Olympic rugby, yea right! An absolute shite event. US rugby needs a new national governing body, if this is the best they can do. Next year will happen with even more schools taking a miss. This event put the USAR national college 7's championship even further behind the NBC event.

"racing backwards".... were you there?

As a player in the event, I thought it was pretty awesome considering the rain and cold. We as athletes received snacks and ice baths if we wanted them (no one did on day 1!). There was Gatorade there to help us recover, and trainers on hand to make sure we were looked at. The day we arrived it was 75 degrees, and the next day... 50 and rain!

No one likes playing on turf, but MTB had it right... the fields were like a wet sponge, and would have been unplayable on day 2.

The event will grow next year, and I hear they are going to reschedule so it does not conflict with finals... so more teams can attend. (And they will attend... because they want to win an actual national championship... not some lame invite only thing). It's the NBC event that is a joke. You just have stars in your eyes and think it's the best thing since sliced bread. We'll see how great their event is when it's a rainout!

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