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08 October 2009


Who pooped in your Corn Flakes today Kurt?

Beach Volleyball - Enough said!!

Before Beach Volleyball was an Olympic sport it was a regional powerhouse in So Cal. The Manhattan Open in Manhattan Beach CA was a huge success before one pro was paid or one broadcast or national sponsorship deal was inked. They would attract thousands of locals to watch with little or no advertising and just local restaurants and bars as sponsors. Unlike USA Rugby that has spent millions of IRB and membership dues on high performance programs and failed attempts to get people to watch the game in stadiums, Beach Volleyball grew organically with local talent primarily from local university volleyball programs. Not sure if you can expect similar results with rugby.

Those are all assumpions Kurt and big ones at that.

What you forget, and it is a huge failure of memory on your part, is that we are the ones that know about rugby. When they want to know how to best develop a rugby team they will come to us. We have the power to shape how this is perceived, how people think about it, etc. We hold the power on how we build a medal winning rugby program.

You basically listed all the negative Possibilities and called them inevitabilities. They are not. There are equally possible positive outcomes.

Such as 15s rugby owning the entirety of the rugby infrastructure and allowing 7s to develop within them instead of outside of their programs.

Or that in addition to winning an Olympic gold medal, all of the new rugby athletes will also consider winning a World Cup as an equally desirable goal since rugby and thus the World Cup will have that boost in visibility.

Its on the rugby community how we use the Olympics to develop our game. Given our national body's record that may not be the best but we still hold the reins to this thing

I can see it now.

The IOC welcomes rugby into the Olympic family of sports

The USOC starts to fund and with the help of USA Rugby build a rugby 7s team for the Olympics

The media talks about the game in a positive light mentioning that the USA is the current gold metal holder and the buzz begins

People begin to consider rugby a valid sport and they seek out the times and place the local rugby club plays

These new fans see some 300 pound prop barf out last night's stale beer on the 22m line after playing for 10 minutes

New fans go to socialize with the team to learn more about rugby

Some drunk dude with no shirt on wearing a 12-pack beer box on his head like a helmet accidentally tramples a new fan's young son

The kid needs stitches and goes to the hospital

Rugby loses a hundred possible new fans by word of mouth.

USA Rugby = Amateur Meatheads

So... you aren't a rugby fan? Then go away.

Rugby at the top high school, colleges, men's clubs is anything but that and you know it. And by the time that you are talking about comes around that number of respectable organizations will have exponentially increased to where it is the standard.

But go on and keep crapping

And by the way Kurt, this isn't Russia or China where the entire' scholastic athletic system is dedicated to winning medals every 4 years. That is pretty much the picture you painted. As if America truly cared about winning medals outside the couple weeks which the games take place in. The people that care are the individuals and teams competing. We don't care till they light the torch. And the government or anyone else isn't going to be overly concerned with how USAR or any other entity develops rugby as long as it gets results. And building 7s alongside 15s isnt going to hurt that at all.

you summed my fears about this pretty well. If 7s becomes the rugby we care about what place will 15s (a game many of us, not all, appreciate more) take? On the other hand there are plenty of medal sports, handball, field hockey, etc., that few of us care about. Either way the path forward for 15s is in no way paved with gold. I hope it gets in since we (as a nation) have shown that we can be competitive but in terms of the overall rugby landscape in the U.S. I see it as best as a wash. Although not as rigorous we see that they play full side soccer matches with prequalifications and the quarters and semis at the games. I wonder if this could be more desirable.

The reason 15s is loved by rugby nations is because the inclusive nature of the game for all body sizes and shapes has been in place for over a century. Especially prior to the professional era started in 1995. What the RFU calls the "community game" in England will never go away in rugby nations regardless of the success of 7s as an Olympic sport. This "community game" ethos will remain in the USA too with weekend warriors (the majority of clubs in the USA) barfing on the 22m line (as the early post amusingly stated). However, there is a chance that the dominate broadcast and sponsor game could be 7s in the USA. It could also become the NCAA version of the game played with the campus rugby "club" playing 15s with a few grand from the school's Campus Recreation or Student Affairs Department. That would not be a good thing in my opinion, but no doubt we would be competitive if 30 universities had NCAA rugby 7s programs in place. Imagine a world where the rugby 7s players on campus looks down at the 15s team members as losers and doesn't play the game or care about it.

I can't wait to see the comments of all the naye sayers. Rugby is now an Olympic sport because of the efforts of the iRB who are the force behind USA Rugby. Accept it and let us all pull together.

Hell I think this would be really exciting for US rugby if Melville and this Board hadn't sold the commercial right to All SANCTIONED DOMESTIC SEVENS for a cheap song to a profiting investor group.

Still its a great day for rugby players and fans. However, not such a great day for the dues paying members of USA Rugby. Just another step towards organizational bankruptcy. The forefathers of American rugby must be rolling over in their graves and for those still above ground we feel doubly sorry for you.

Whats this crap about the IRB being the force behind USAR.

First off all the current IRB grant support was put into place before this Board and their hand picked CEO showed up.

Second, the IRB types have little time for Kevin Roberts and his ego. They look at the USAR Board as a group of losers they've given about $7,000,000 to, only to receive in return on investment our worst results ever. The IRB's largess has been wasted on this leadership.

Lets rally around the IRB and the opportunities Olympic participation offers, but save the thought that this is any type of validation for the international 3rd stringer running USAR.

Geez - I thought it was a good thing that rugby would be part of the Olympics - 7's or otherwise. After reading the comments by Kurt and others I guess I am just naive and think that rugby should remain a stealth sport!

Seriously, while 7's will definitely see a higher profile there is no reason to think that 15's will fade.

The challenge in front of the IRB is to make the World Cup matter outside of the tight knit commnity that has been the primary audience for this tournament since it's inception in 1987.

There is no reason that the two forms of the game cannot flourish alongside one another with 15's having the WC as it's main attraction and 7's being a driver (a gateway format so to speak) via the Olympics.

It's also important to note that as 7's tactics have evolved over time the game has become more than just getting 7 fast 15 players on the field.

One has to really wonder how League can survive with Union now having the Olympic stage as well as a World Cup that is successful even though it's full potential has yet to be realized.

The real question is whether or not the USOC will embrace 7's and use the "reigning gold medal champions" as a way to sell the game and build a team that can go out and win a medal in 2016. It's far from an impossibility though it will take work.

Though I will always remain more of a tradional 15's guy I think this is a good thing for the game and will help the game here in the US.

so more doom and gloom on here regarding a great day for rugby. A couple of observations, 1. rugby 7's will be owned by the IOC as far as events leading up to the games so why would domestic 7 owned by thatham, if it actually is, has anyone with any knowledge regarding contract law actually read the agreement, have any involvement and even if he did any qualifing event would have to be held here and why would they do that given Canada and Argintina both embrace rugby more.
2. and this was stated somewhat earlier. US 7 willget just as much coverage as womens soccer qualifiers, volley ball(the real one) field hockey, ice hockey and all the other sports that arn't Football, basketball or baseball. Networks can't afford to lose their real money makers by taking time to show other sports.

We'll still be a third class sport here but may get some more money involved every 4 years

Yea maybe your right.

Going forward with the new Olympic sport of 7's rugby, the USAR national champions of 7's at all levels won't be important.

There's no opportunity there.

Sanctioned 7's all-star/rep competitions won't be important.

Its probably a good thing Melville sold this stuff, less to worry about in the long term.

For sure its a good thing he sold that national college 7's championship, nothing there of any use after this announcement.

You know, some of you guys are really poised, good thinkers. To think I was worried. I fell much better with you guys telling me not to worry.

Other than that, how did you like the play Mrs Lincoln.

Who's the dumbass above that thinks the IOC will own sevens rugby.

The IOC only owns the Olympic Games. The USOC only owns their Olympic Trials.

The ownership of the participating sports doesn't change.

The NCAA track & field competition is owned by the NCAA.

The USA track & filed competition is owned by USA Track & Field, the NGB of T&F.

The AAU owns their events.

Colleges own their event.

The Penn and Drake Relays are owned by the Penn and Drake Relays.

USA Rugby should own all their sevens events, except they sold them to an investor, in a very short-sighted, low return transaction. Nothing really to be confused about. This is very straight forward.

J.D. maybe you should reread the post it clearly says IOC owns 7's events leading to qualifiying for the games. This is the reason its called Olympic Qualifying event much like the Penn relays are called the Penn Relays because they are teh Penn Relays and owned by the Penn Relays so they call them the Penn Relays kinda like they will call the Olympic Qualifying 7's Olymipic Qualifying 7's just like the Penn Relays

I'm glad you feel better...and you're (you are) right to say there is no opportunity there...glad to see your (belonging to) thinking is going along the correct path.

These events you list will continue to garner the same support and coverage they have today. they will continue to be a scouting mission to get the players into the non-domestic events that lead to an Olympic Games ie Olympic Qualifying Events.

Oh yeh! My right what....?

J.D. makes far better points than you on-looker.

What are you on about here? J.D. clearly says the USOC owns the Olympic trials.

He also makes clear, at least to me, that USA Rugby selling the commercial rights to a sport getting really to be built-out makes no sense.

One of the things that creates commercial value for all the T&F events listed above is the fact that T&F is an Olympic sport. Take Olympic status away from T&F and the commercial value of the NCAA and the USA T&F championship is decreased.

USAR sold the only events they owned just before their value increased dramatically. If Tatham is smart, which he didn't really need to be to pull one over on USA Rugby, he will turn the college national sevens championship into a real money makers for himself.

Creating a city-based sevens teams which play tournament style in mid-major stadiums is also commercially doable.

Even the US national club championships and NASC have more value, Tatham will make some money off them.

J.D.'s points are well taken with me. There's lots of money to be made off Olympic sports and USA Rugby sold their rights at the wrong time. After all, if USA Rugby isn't responsible for capitalizing on this Olympic status by building out US sevens, then what is their job again?


"I'm glad you feel better...and you're (you are) right to say there is no opportunity there"

Right what?

This is a historic day, and frankly I'm a bit amused (but not surprised) by all the naysayers out there.

Legitimacy -- that's the one word that sums up what the Olympic inclusion means. And if you don't think that this will have anything but a positive effect on the game (15s included), then you're a bit short-sighted. Rising tide and all that...

The most profound impact may be at the college level, if handled correctly (not holding my breath on that one). This starts moving us out of the frisbee-golf & paintball neighborhood and into the varsity neighborhood. It's not going to be easy or quick to break negative mindsets and stereotypes, but its an entry point. I think NCAA admission is a bridge too far, but the Cal-style varsity program isn't.

I hope all you hand-wringers can join the rest of us and just sit back and enjoy this historic moment, before USA Rugby comes in a screws it all up!

OK just because I'm bored I'll try to drop the sarcasm for just a minute.
I know JD said the USOC owns the qualifying events, it's what I said in my post and he missed it.
The selling of ownership of domestic events, although stupid, is not relevant to the olympic question. Oylmpic sports gain support because the IOC and the national OC put on Olympic events which they own, the local sports NGB participates but doesn't own the event and also can not give away or sell the rights to the event so Olympic Rugby 7's can be here without Tatham getting a penny presuming such an event would make money, which I question given the support rugby gets.
US based sports of all types, except the major ones, struggle for money and air time, however, many of these same sports enjoy large followings in Europe, Track And Field being most obvious example. Which is way US athletes base themselves in Europe and we only see them during Olympic season. The only time anyone here is interested in T&F is during Olympic qualifying so on a four year cycle we may see more rugby on TV or have more money available but it will be in the USOC events or Qualifying competitions around the world.
To say there is lots of money to be made from Olympics sports, at least for the NGB's, is just wrong. US T&F dont make nor have huge sums of money and they have been part of the Olympics since its inseption. When was the last time Volley Ball was on TV or womens soccer, softball or any of the other Olympic sports that have been part of the Olympic picture for many years. The money comes from sponsors and sponsors want events that will sell their product. Can we do that with or without USAR or Tatham, we haven't in 40 years what about becoming an Olympic sport changes that? If you have that answer I'd love to hear it as would, I'm sure, US T&F, Womens Soccer, Voley Ball, Gymnastics and all the other Olmpic sports in the US.

Then we are in agreement the USOC owns the Olympic Trials which in most Olympic sports in competed for over a weekend.

This leaves 51 other weeks for a NGB's to go to work and commercially build a sport. And just to make sure we are still on the same page, I agree with you that USAR selling the rights of the domestic sevens game was "stupid".

Where we disagree is with values. Many of us believe there is strong value in domestic rugby. Not the kind played in the public park, where the teams can't get in the same colored uniforms, but instead the rugby played by our best teams in proper venues.

Curious, I don't think you can be convinced, but others might. I suggest a simple event check of the types of events that Olympic NGB's sanction and host. You will find that all Olympic NGB build their organizations around a series of events they own for the betterment of their sports and organizations.

USAR selling all their sanctioned sevens event for next to nothing is a major mistake, a once in a lifetime mistake. By doing so they lose branding, commercial and financial control of the sport.

No amount of off-topic ramble about where US track & field athlete live and make most of their money will change this fact.

Every NGB owns their own events leading to the Trials.

As to the actual value of these events who knows. USAR is an $8m organization. Most of this budget comes from three sources: dues, IRB grants and one sponsor, the National Guard. How is it that selling the rights to our Olympic sport helps this financial picture?

Might not the total value of: pro sevens, college sevens, HS sevens, club sevens, all-star sevens be equal to our current budget? Well maybe not with the current administration, but with a proper leadership maybe so.

One thing for sure, when an Olympic sponsor wants some more rugby to sponsor, they will need to contact Tatham not USAR, because he owns all the sevens we have to sell. If a new sponsors wants to come on board the rugby train, they'll need to contact Tatham if they want event sponsorship or a rugby TV presence. Unless they want to sponsor the Eagles XV team vs Canada on a bad internet feed with 1500 spectators in the stands, we still own that one.

For sure we agree that all money comes from sponsorship and TV, the exact stuff we sold Tatham.

The sports mentioned at the bottom of your reply, are sports which dwarf US rugby, we would change places with any of them. They are bigger, better run sports, which take far better care of their participants, fans and internationals. It's comical of you to compare us with them.

Either way, there is much good to this Olympic inclusion. Bitter sweet is what comes to mind.

My prediction is this will turn into yet another lawsuit. Somewhere between the USOC, USAR and the IRB this will all turn into a food fight. In the end who knows, maybe we'll be alright. But boy, will US rugby be served a great day when we see the backsides of this administration.

J.D. - A question. Since the creation of USAR in 1973(?) has there been a leadership that has met with your approval?

I ask because obviously this one doesn't and if one in the past did why is it that 35 years on we are still in exactly the same or worse place. Its not all NG fault (he does seem to have more than his fair share to be blamed for though).

Why is Canada v USA on the internet? Becasue there is no market for it on TV, 1500 spectators proves that. That's not the admins fault thats ours.

Although I agree with you about most sports being a 1 weekend event, team sports differ. In this case only 12 teams will qual for the games so 103 (115 IRB member nations) will have to be eliminated. Expect that to take the same number of events as th RWC or the World Cup.

Sponsorship will in limited cases have to go to whoever owns the event but most sponsors will go to teams or individuals because they want to be associatd with winners and not just events. Having said that, can you sell something you dont have? USAR didnt have domestic olympic events when they sold 7's to Tatham.

We have had 20+ years to raise the value of domestic rugby, since '87 and the first RWC, it hasn't happened.

The sports I mentioned do dwarf rugby which is exactly why i mentioned them. Comical, i think not, they suffer the same lack of interest we do. If their million members/ participants cant garner the interset of the US public except once every 4 years how can we expect our 70,000 to.

I agree the Olympics is good for rugby as a whole.

Most of our problems are of our own marking. As lond as we are seen as the beer drinking 22m puking over weight idiots in the park on a saturday afternoon we will not get what we want but we will get what we deserve.

What ae you doing to make things better here?

"What ae you doing to make things better here?"

Mostly just correcting you Curious.

USARFU was founded in 1975, not '73. Yes, I think the USAR administration got much accomplished early on. Without any assistance from the IRB thank you they developed a rugby union over the entire country. Teams in every state, national championships at every level. In most cases the early administrations of USAR were very good in a very tough job.

It wasn't all great, wit: Doug Arnot. But by and large USAR gets passing grades over the 35 years.

The current administration has had the easiest ride, with millions in free IRB grants and the largest membership to tax. Even with rugby's worldwide growth, the internet and 100's of TV stations, along with the IRB's wealth of assistance, this administration over a period of years has failed.

Yes, we still let ourselves down with stupid tricks, but US rugby has more teams doing it right than ever before.

Curious, you a way too easy on a CEO making $275,000 per. Why not cut the poor slob donating his time for his club a break and start putting some expectations on the professionals?

How 'bout that Olympic announcement, though, eh? Same broken record over and over...

Belmont Shore - RSL powerhouse - doesn't have the funds to compete in the RSL any longer. Rugby is doing great in the USA!

there will also be alot more transfer players from college or pro football wanting to play on the national 7s side - especially those in the NFL who want to play for America and win a gold medal.

The most powerful people in US rugby are no longer Kevin Roberts and Nigel Melville, but Bob Latham, the US Olympic Committee liaison/member, and the men's and women's national sevens teams coaches. It is also humorous to note that if Chicago had gotten the 2016 Olympic bid, the organization would have been having to deal with Doug Arnot who was on the Chicago 2016 Committee.

Now THAT would've been the supreme irony!

USA Selects got pumped by the Jaguars. I imagine they will get pumped again by one of the Canadian Provincial sides too. How many games can USA Rugby high performance teams loose before someone changes something?

It is obvious that these USA Select players and coaches are not ready for international competition. If they loose to the Ontario Blues - one of the four Canadian sides - you will have to say this Americas Rugby Championship was a huge waste of money. Unless you are Canada who just had the IRB finance what we called the ITT here in the states. When are these jokers in Boulder going to get something right with their high performance tactics?

Oh don't worry, the Selects will get pumped again. There is no way anyone with half a brain could make sense of way we are playing in this competition, why the players selected are out there because few if any will ever make it to the Eagle level. All this does is weaken how US Rugby is viewed worldwide.

Throw in that there was no plan for the players to work from and you have your score line. Even the best coaches would struggle to get this group ready to compete and the guy from Golden Gate is a long way from being considered one of the best coaches. Unless you ask him anyway.

Belmont Poor -

Though it was a good concept when it was formed, the RSL has been a divisive and challenging endeavor for many of the storied clubs who chose to enter the foray. Belmont made a smart decision for its future and current stability. The drain on club resources (both time and money) and the elitist attitude it creates in clubs with multiple sides hits at the heart of why we all play rugby - for fun and comeraderie.

Belmont can now play with equal or better comp to RSL in California (Olympic, Hayward, San Mateo, LA, Vegas, touring sides, top college sides) at a significantly reduced cost.

I anticipate more clubs follow Belmont's lead.

I've noticed over the last several years there is less and less interest in the Eagles, in all their forms. I blame this on the USAR administration. For most dues paying members it is hard to care about something you know is a wastes of money in it's current state. Knowing every dime we throw at high priced coaches is another dime we can't spend developing the type of rugby union we want to become.

Now we have the next team down from the Eagles playing an international match against a world power team and two of the three rugby news sites don't even carry the result. This I'm afraid is what has come of the Eagles under this administration.

Maybe people are just tried of being talked down to by Kiwi's and Englishmen. Tried of being told we're here "to make you fall in love with rugby".

On this same weekend word gets out the the best of the RSL teams are giving up on the idea, to pursue their own path.

We've heard the same thing from the college ranks, where a group of coaches have all but recommended college rugby breaks away from USAR.

The HS are going their own way with state based organization, which implies the union and its parts, TU's and LAU's can't provide the services and leadership needed for the growth of the sport.

Within USAR itself, it appears the Congress is at least deceived if not lied to. There are no longer elections to correct matters. Before too long there will be nothing to correct at the rate the administration is selling off assets to professionals, while still paying well over a quarter of millions dollars a year to a CEO calling himself a professional.

I tried to watch but the web feed didn't work AGAIN. USAR has apologies on their web site.

The players never had a chance. No build-up, no identity, no nothing.

EOS stayed far away from the mess. Hey, you don't get as much for those big salaries as you used to.

The stand-in coach had this to say, "The team (not me, I'm all that and a bag of chips) cannot make these mistakes if they (once again, not me, I didn't make any mistakes) want to compete at this level.

Congress has been lied to...

Selects coach blames players...

CEO makes 275K...

Chairman can't be bothered...

Eagles coach lives in Ireland...

RSL loses one of it's most dominate clubs...

Is anyone "falling in love with rugby" ?

Nice work from the Boulder Gang.

Let's be real about the state of Belmont Shore. The Kiwi business man with a shipping company cut the funds. That is fine because they guy has been pumping in dough for years. Even bought a Welsh team new lights to train at night because they honored a fixture when Belmont was on tour. Belmont is broke, just like USA Rugby, end of story.

Fair enough Dolphin Boy, but what would the RSL situation be if USAR would have invested 25% of the $7m in IRB grants they have wasted, while posting the worst record in Eagles' history.

Answer, we would have grown an important aspect of our HP plan in solidifying the RSL. This administration has had their collective heads up their arses in every possible way. Nothing for the RSL, nothing for the colleges, nothing for any aspect of domestic rugby.

By the time they all leave their USAR positions they will have gone through $8m per year and built squat.

Bruce back on the airwaves. The ARN podcast is a can't miss. He rips these punks at USAR. Says he has something for next week as well on these guys. I hope he just lets go either way, these jokers have had enough time.

No Shit! Thata boy Brucie. Tear these pretenders a new one.

Bruce ! Bruce ! Bruce !

Good on you mate for dropping out of the level 3 course when these guys from across the pond began ripping on American coaching styles.

Funny that there is a steady stream of foreign coaches who travel over to learn from American football organizations. What a bunch of hypocrites.

We will be so much better off when we are finally fed up enough to ship all those who don't want to learn about our culture, our long serving coaching methods for developing athletes, the importance of our high school sports, and the list goes on.

We have had many really good foreign guys on my rugby club. More than a few have made a life for themselves in our town and embrace rugby here in an American way. The ones that rock up, say we should be doing it like they do in London, Auckland, Pretoria, never last.

Stay after them Bruce.

ANd thats on Crip we suwoopin!

Dont hold back Bruce. There are a couple hundred thousand people out there paying dues and getting nothing but embarassment. They are counting on people like you and Kurt to hold these clowns responsible.

And why hasnt college rugby broken away from USAR? I thought that would have happened by now. Jack? Can you get that done before the spring season begins?

How would 7's rugby experiencing more limelight hurt 15's in places where the only option for playing rugby is in Union? At my college, where I started playing, there was no 7's league. 7's was only played after the 15 game if the subs from the other team convinced us of having another go...all but about 7 players would be too tired and/or want to go crack open a beer, so a game of 7's would be played.

I don't really see this affecting rugby in the U.S. all that much, either. I mean, do you watch the rhythmic gymnastic events and think, "Oh, maybe I'll go out and join a rhythmic gymnastic club." ...probably not.

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