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18 July 2011


I at least expected some ungrateful negative commentary from AA Fan and WIAM by now.
Overall, well done by the AA's.

"The Napier Pirates flyhalf's 73d-minute shot proved the deciding score in a second half"

Exactly which University is located in Napier.


This one...
Massey University (Te Kunenga ki Purehuroa) (Palmerston North, Wellington, Napier and Albany, North Shore)
Massey University College of Education (Palmerston North, Wellington, Napier and Albany, North Shore)
Just scroll down your wikipedia website, genius.

The Pirates are 'affiliated' with the NZ Universities, the only club in the Hawkes Bay region with this tie-up. It's worth remembering that there are basically enough Kiwi universities to form a single American conference -- about 4,500 worth of registered players -- which is another reason the university system is an asset to USARFU.

Or this one...
Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
Gloucester Street, Taradale, Napier 4001, New Zealand

Sure the "pirates" are affiliated with the NZ Universities. The only ones. LMAO.
The only ones - which proves your point -Not- based on a unique exception.
What a stretch. Anyone that believes Kurt on that one should use a chain to go bungee jumping.

What exactly is your point?

The NZ Unis are not where all the future All Blacks come from. The typical All Black is not going to a university and if pro rugby doesn't work out he will go back to his family business or to the comfort of his islander family. The kids touring the USA have rugby as plan B to an education. Now, in South Africa the white playing majority of rugby professionals typically go to university and the Varsity Cup is feeds right into the pro set ups - http://www.varsitycup.co.za/

Here is a story about the Varsity Cup players into provincial rugby in SA.


Kurts point based on an anomaly that had to be stretched so far it is the journalistic equivalent of a Borat one piece Mankini.

What, that Napier Pirates are the only club in the Hawke's Bay region with university tie-in? Why is that an issue or even hard to believe?

This is from the Napier Pirates website:
"Napier Pirate Rugby & Sports Club is one of the oldest and longest established sports clubs in New Zealand and is the only rugby club in Hawke’s Bay that is affiliated to the New Zealand Universities RFU. While the main activities of the Club centre around rugby in all grades, from senior to schoolboy, the Club is also very proud to be represented by four women’s netball teams."

Having seen the 2nd match online my thoughts are that the US AA were in general better athletes. The NZ Uni players spent a lot of time defending and maintained their shape pretty well. They were well drilled in the basics as one would expect.

The most positive effect of this tour would be to see NZ send a stronger team the next time they come through. That would be just reward for the All Americans.

From a promotional persepctive these games have a lot of value and US Rugby has to do better than hosting matches on sub par fields as was the case in Match #1 and look for broadcasting opportunities on outlets such as Universal and Versus ...

Saw all three games- also the three games in South Africa two years ago. Great improvement- but much weaker opposition.Playing much stronger teams is a waste of time-getting beat by 60 points as happened in South Africa and last year in England-a waste of time.Schedule intelligently.
Do not bring another game of any import to San Diego. Total disregard for the betterment of USA rugby displayed there. Next time have weekend game in Santa Barbara or Santa Monica(so tourists can go to Disneyland on Sunday)- Midweek game at Stanford, where you always draw a crowd, and the final game at BYU. Also charge $10 admission and give all proceeds to visiting team to offset their travel expenses- selling programs would be nice so we could know who did what. Have an experienced person in the announcers booth.
Oh well, just dreaming. Will be in South Africa next week with chance to see the All American High School team play in Durban and in Cape Town. Hope they show as much improvement as the College AA team did.
Great showing by the College coaching staff, especially in the defensive patterns and lineout play. The final surge the AA team made- completing 16 phases- was as good as it gets.

"Playing much stronger teams is a waste of time-getting beat by 60 points as happened in South Africa and last year in England-a waste of time.Schedule intelligently."

Here is someone that doesn't subscribe to the core principle of the CPD.

UNI - I don't want to speak for them - but the point is getting beat or winning by 60 points helps nothing. The winners nor the losers.

The 2007 debacle was indeed sad in that USAR could not see clear to fully fund the tour. Players were asked to pay their own airfare to Toronto. The rest of the tour expenses were picked up by the Union.
David Smyth coached the AA's to the first ever sweep of of a National U21 side. A stark contrast to the 2004 visit. Telling though that the AA's played two tight games vs Canada the previous year in BC
The average player cost in 2007 ended up being under $400.

Compared to the $1000 per player raffles that were to run for the tours to South Africa (2003), NZ (2004) and Canada (2005) under Clark it was a good deal.
Most of the tickets sold each year were a single sale to parents or clubs.

As far as the domestic tour and the selection of the competition:
I applaud Magelby, Sherman and Melville for recognizing that the NZU U 21 side was the right opponent for the AA's and a domestic tour gave the AA program the best chance of success on and off the field.
We recognized three years ago that a domestic tour had this kind of potential. The 2009 SA tour and 2010 England tour proved the point two times over.

2012 would be best spent at home, hosting another well selected International University Side. Canada is always a good option.
Keep the team in one place, preferably a college campus.
Be sure to have a significant team building component (SEAL training this year, "ropes course" in 2007).

And, or the first time in USAR history, MARKET THE HELL OUT OF THE AA BRAND! Build something around the 2012 tour.

Start the planning process now, not in April.

Well done AA's.

A Japanese universities select side would be good competition for the AAs.

After watching the University competition two years ago while in Tokyo, I agree. The ferocity of the Japanese college game is something that I rarely see in states. It would be a fantastic series.

John, honest question. Does the USCRA still exist in any capacity? If so, what is its role going forward?

Trinity Dublin would be a god team to play for the AAs. They come to the US regularly already

Japanese university rugby is a big deal the competition having 16 universities and the semi finals and finals drawing up to 30K people. Matches are often televised and most players have ambitions to play professionally. The All Japan Rugby Football Championship played at the end of the season includes Top League teams, the top two universities and the champion club team as decided in the respective championships. This was the championship Todd Clever's team won this year, and the university teams regularly get into the QFs of this tournament.

All-Americans vs. Japan Universities Selects would be an awesome tour.

I stepped away from driving the USCRA because I recognized that I pushed USAR pretty hard, I pushed Nigel's buttons and I was skeptical about his ability to be decisive and progressive.
The discussion became about why I "turned" on USAR after 8 years with the AA program when the topic should have been "why is USAR doing so little for it's highest potential membership sector?".
I became a distraction and, in some ways, a liability.

I sill don't have any faith that USAR can bring College rugby where it needs to go but I agreed a couple years ago that I would back off and let Nigel and Todd Bell have the breathing room they needed to get some initiatives going.
I think the USCRA did the same.
The College Department, Director position and the College Committee ALL were a direct result of the pressure that the perceived threat of the USCRA created.
Without taking the first steps towards an autonomous College Rugby, nothing would have changed.

Things have changed but for the most part we have seen more of the same.
The CPD is a good example.
USAR reacted to pressure from the outside without carefully planning the product launch.
Clark did most of the legwork, in a non USAR capacity, with the constant ad's on ARN (RIP).
Sponsorship was "assured".
"College rugby was ready".

The CPD is suffering from a premature birth.

With that in mind the attrition rate is not surprising.
Where is USAR in all of this?

200K was taken at the gate at the CPD final.
Nothing has "trickled down" to the 32 that committed to the competition.
None of the CPD coaches can get an answer from USAR on the subject.
It's ridiculous.
Many of them were early USCRA supporters but they needed to focus on getting the CPD going.
From what I can tell USAR did next to nothing to tangibly support the competition.
Most of us are volunteers and given the challenges of promoting a fringe sport on college campuses, taking the path of least resistance is understandable.

The fact, in my opinion, remains however that college rugby would be better off if it regulated itself.
Pay USAR $10 per player to get them to focus on the HS and youth game and let the emerging college conferences and the CPD run their own game.

Now, two years later, I think College 7's for men and women is where the USCRA might focus.

All this being said, the best rugby played in the US is college rugby. Hands down.
We can capitalize on that if we organize.
The USCRA is still an idea, but it's a good one.

I agree that Japan College Selects would be a tremendous clash!


Sounds like Clark used his high profile to hijack the momentum USCRA gained in pressurizing USA Rugby and direct it towards a premier competition, which obviously was very helpful for Cal especially with his university administration trying to cut rugby from varsity status. Shouldn't he hold his hand up and admit he misdirected the efforts of the collective towards something that isn't working and was shortsighted?

If Clark backed the USCRA, we would be looking at an organization with possibly 6 figures in diverted CIPP funds. Instead we have an aimless premier division and $200K in missing funds from the inaugural final.

To be fair, whatever Clark's motives, the threat to Cal's varsity status surfaced well after the creation of the CPD. It was a non-factor in his pushing for the CPD.

If anything, USCRA's push for a fall schedule was the main thing Clark took issue with in my opinion.

John, thanks for the response.

The 200K isn't exactly missing. As I sagely predicted when I heard about the trickle-down scheme, it's possible to assign a whole bunch of expenses to the competition if you work hard enough at it. For instance, I believe that USAR used the finals receipts to pay the 70K they spent on broadcasting the semis and final (since there were no sponsors). Also, the whole expenses of the H.S. championships earlier in the day were co-allocated to the finals receipts, including stadium rental, all of the fees for services, while Rio Tinto kept the parking, concessions, etc. Also, all of the travel expenses of USAR personnel attending the H.S. playoffs that week were also allocated to the Final.

Thus, the CPD got the worst possible deal for the membership, just as I expected.

There used to be customary profit-sharing contracts for Hollywood actors until they learned that there never were any profits due to the clever accounting by the studios in allocating expenses to the film. I guess I couldn't expect the coaches to know any better when USAR sharpens their pencil. And, of course, there's never been any formal accounting, only estimates. It would be funny if not so lamentable.


That is when it became public, but the administration was on this in early July - http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/07/12/athleticsreport/ - and they spent millions for Bain & Company consultants to do an evaluation. JC would have surely known what was coming down the pipeline after spending nearly 3 decades at Cal. These were unprecedented inquires and he knew rugby was low hanging fruit in this environment.

Regardless, I dont think Cal gives one damn about what league Cal Rugby plays in. They care that the team pays for itself and more and thats about it. To think JC thought being in a "super league" that had zero relation to any other varsity competition Cal sports takes part in would help save their varsity status is really questionable.

Cal Rugby got cut based on title IX numbers. They got brought back based on the team's funding of women's gymnastics/lax which made the title IX and the financial numbers work. Where the heck does the CPD fit into that.

JC wanted the CPD because it meant A) better competition, and B)they could afford it.

As a Cal alum I agree that the issue was largely Title IX from the start and that Clark was asleep at the switch as momentum built to drop Varsity teams.
Cal Rugby's status on campus was unique in that they were a large, all male, non NCAA Varsity team (like Crew) but lacked the foundation money that Crew had amassed over the years to insure the administration would leave them alone.
They also stood alone without a women's team counterweight that could have spared them the whole mess.
Substantially dedicating 5 acres of UC real estate to the development of 60 male athletes each year had to have been one of the contributing factors as well.
And of course there were Clarks constant references to the Cal Rugby program being "more varsity" than most of the varsity programs on campus. I suspect these might have bent people in power the wrong way.

Bottom line is Cal raised enough money to save it's status and top off the coffers of two women's teams as well. Unfortunate that a independently run, NCAA recognized women's rugby program at Cal could not have been part of the solution. That should have happened the first year women's rugby was placed on the emerging sports list and would have negated the Title IX issue all together.

A painful lesson.

To solidify Cal Rugby's place on campus for all time (because the financial situation at UC is going to get worse before it gets better) Cal should drive the College 7's initiative forward for men and women in the Pac 12. Demonstrate the value of the Conference based College 7's product and set a course for the rest of the country.
Unless the Pac 12 want to have the revenues generated at their finals run through the USAR money mill, they should go it alone and prove the point once and for all: college rugby is better off running itself.
Cal style leadership is leadership from the front not from the shadows.

Regarding the "highjacking" of the USCRA concept:
I don't think Clark highjacked anything.
He just prefers to be in control.
I was surprised when the CPD, conceived of and promoted entirely outside USAR initially, was rolled into USAR so quickly.
Perhaps, reccognising the risk of failure, the original organizer(s) wanted to find a fall guy just in case.

Regarding the Fall Schedule comment:
The only thing that the USCRA promoted was a complete review of the competition structure in college rugby.
A Fall schedule was something that Rich Pholidal at Army championed but was never a talking point between USAR and the USCRA Interim Board.
I'll admit that the whole "seasonality" issue confused many.
Ultimately the competitive season question would have been ironed out by the USCRA membership down the road.


Is it fair to say that the JC lead CPD was a way for USA Rugby to blockade the formation of a USCRA by hiring Todd Bell and trowing the whole CPD on his plate as job #1 while still securing the CIPP funds from the 100s of other college programs that get zero value from a CPD unless it was a roaring success?

I would say USAR's fundamental operating position when it comes to college rugby to date is reactive not proactive.
Only when they felt credible pressure that the Colleges might organize (USCRA) did they act.
The rushed,first draft of the Strategic Plan was in reaction to the announcement that the USCRA was going to publish one of their own.
The College Committee and the rest of the National Office run collegiate construct was a reaction to the USCRA.
USAR does not want to loose college rugby but they fail to realize that they must be partners with college rugby to succeed.

It is a Bandaid approach to management. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

In short, yes the CPD was an easy way to look like your doing something new and creative for college rugby, commit as little time and money as possible doing it and hope that it buys you enough time to get a dues increase approved in time for the hidden expense rich World Cup in NZ.
The 32 teams that did all of the leg work get left in never never land while USA rugby tries to figure out who is going to stay home from the World Cup to work on the CPD.

I'm all in favor of the CPD.
But it needs support and sponsorship to succeed.
As a USAR product it gets neither.
If it ran itself it would be self motivated to succeed, pooling 32 university alumni networks, and potential sponsorship opportunities.
Sponsors would see it for what it could be: a left hook approach to getting inside the college sports market without wondering how much of the sponsorship dollars are going to be spend shoring up the good ship USAR.

Uni-tard, I think its possible that JC supported the founding of the CPD because he sees value in college rugby and value in the best teams playing more often. The old 16 team post season as a waste of funds having the 16th seed travel cross country to be canon fodder for BYU or Cal.

I am somewhat confused how we can be looking to find out what happened to the largest rugby gate in the history of US rugby, while saying the competition was premature. Either there were 11,000 plus fans at the CPD final and it was the biggest college success of all time or it wasn't.

I think one way to look at it is that the 11,000 attendance is a testament to Utah Rugby, Utah and especially BYU for doing the work on the ground to make the final successful.
But to say the competition as a whole was a success of the same magnitude is not possible given the number of teams who have decided to drop out and the fact the USAR could not garner any significant sponsors to stave off growing pains.
By premature I mean that the competition should have been launched ONLY after securing the financial support needed to operate for at least three or more years.
As it stands now, Nigel sits down to discuss the value of the CPD with a potential sponsor and can't even say who will be playing in it.
That kind of perceived instability is a deal breaker in the current marketing climate.
Conversely, having next years venue set now, the local partners who will support the event and fill the stadium enrolled as partners and the full roster of competing team solidified the CPD would appear to be on track for a 25K ticket sell. That is a bankable proposition. The CPD would be sold as an event first and a competition second.
From there the 32 teams should be supported in securing micro sponsors to bolster their travel costs over the course of the season.
If all goes well, and USAR stays out of it, there might be some real marketing money to promote the CPD in year three.

@ McNamara-

Everyone who reads Gainline or Rugby Mag knows you've got this beef with JC. It seems you are disappointed he didn't agree with you that a new college rugby organization, headed by you, was the right way to proceed.

It does seem far fetched for you to state JC was asleep at the wheel of the Cal program. Before the threat of demotion the team had the second highest endowment within the athletic department. The team had built its facilities: rugby field, offices and team room for cash. Then there is the small factor of 20 some odd national championships and a flock of All Americans and Eagles. I would hate to see JC awake if this is sleeping.

The rugby leadership which Jack spearheaded brought back all 4 sports headed for elimination and rugby as well. It doesn't seem you are aware of much that has occurred at Cal.

Allow me to clear one thing up for you. JC has little regard for the work of those running USA Rugby. However, JC has made it clear on several occasions he doesn't like to see US rugby broken up into parts which require their own independent (expensive) administration. I think this was his issue with your USCRA. Why create a separate organization which requires employees and administrative services, just because the current national governing body isn't doing their job. Is it not a reasonable position to demand US rugby headquarters, as recognized by the IRB and USOC, to just do a better job?

Why not a better more engaged Board of Directors? A Congress comprised of individuals which better reflect youth, high school and college. Along with a HQ staff of capable and knowledgeable workers. Truth is all of us in US rugby don't know if the model works because we have the wrong people sitting in most of the chairs.

John, you might not like this approach but it is hard to argue the merits of a redundant administrations.

Finally, why would you believe JC isn't already in productive conversations with the Pac-12? Because you don't know something is happening, don't think the rest of us haven't been informed. Leading from the "shadows", I think not.

The 10 dollar increase in CIPP dues and the fact that a huge number of midwest and northeast universities will be paying CIPP should insure that the USA Rugby brass are comfy in NZ. The funds will roll in just in time for the big show! Yeah Nigel!

I will be impressed with the Cal national championships when they are competing with other programs with a $500K annual budget and access to all the athletic department resources. Varsity programs defeating club programs with volunteer coaches and a fraction of the resources does not impress.

There would be nothing redundant about College Rugby running College Rugby since USAR is doing almost nothing at the moment.
No one is running College Rugby.

I have no beef with Jack. His merits as a coach stand for themselves. I would appreciate less of the cloak and dagger stuff on the management and administrative side though. And there is his penchant for manipulating others into doing his bidding that gets tiresome.

All I'm saying is that what happened at Cal could have been avoided with a little attention, vision and a basic understanding that there is an important role for the women's sports to play on college campuses. This is something that Pheobe Apperson Hearst demonstrated to UC a hundred years ago.

"Why not a better more engaged Board of Directors? A Congress comprised of individuals which better reflect youth, high school and college. Along with a HQ staff of capable and knowledgeable workers. Truth is all of us in US rugby don't know if the model works because we have the wrong people sitting in most of the chairs."

It seems we have had the wrong people sitting in USAR's chairs since the beginning.
Starting from scratch would be easier, cheaper and far more effective.
USAR is a like a corporation that tries to do everything but ends up doing nothing very well.
Break it up, drop the products and services that aren't needed or wanted and let the subsidiaries run efficiently and profitably.
It's done all the time.

If Jack was leading from the front EVERYONE would know, not just us Cal guys. That's the point.

As far as the USCRA goes, I was just one of about 400 coaches that saw the merits of autonomy and self determination for college rugby. With or without USAR as a partner.

Mr McNamara,

You seem to always have a better way worked out. It would be interesting to review your accomplishments as a sport executive. Or for that matter, any professional accomplishments which would could aid your claims.

I understand you were a manager of a couple short All America tours before being replaced, but I am not aware of any other sporting or business roles which would result in you second guessing the rugby or administrative work of others.

Mr Melville, Mr Roberts and Mr Clark all have long records in the game of rugby which in sum result in many accomplishments. It does appear easy from your rather safe and high minded place to criticize others.

I'm critical from the trenches.
That is where most college rugby is coached, managed and played.
Less than 10k for a budget.
Field and gym access issues and administrations that don't give men's or women's rugby the time of day.
Managing the AA's from '02-'08 did give me some perspective though.
The Clark era, the Arnot fiasco, the IRB audit and now the Roberts/Melville saga. Somehow I survived.
Managing the Eagles vs Uruguay and two Japan tests in 08 was where it donned on me.

I'll try to keep it constructive going forward but let's not under estimate the value of critical thinking and signing your own name on a blog entry.

Out for a while traveling. Enjoyed the discussion.

Really, the "trenches" of what? Where? Is there a team or teams associated with the trench? This appears mostly a political blogging exercise.

I think he runs the women's program at Stanford.

Nope, that is a different dude named Jon Griffin, who although weird does have a body of work which includes national championships and player development.

One reaction to the McNamara, "somehow I survived" USAR resume.


Say what you will, but he is right about the USCRA's role in pushing usar to opening its 1st aid kit and sticking on some band-aids.

The argument against redundancy is a bit ridiculous. It is only redundant if it is actually redundant. Like he said, USAR doesnt have much to do with college rugby. Paying people to administer it and help it reach its potential is not redundant and would be well worth it. Not to mention, if you stop paying USAR money it is impossible for there to be a redundancy.

It is a shame that USCRA wasnt able to follow through. If every college team paid the same amt of dues to a college-only organization that would be more than enough to form a very legit org to lead college rugby to the promise land. Instead, things dissolved into pissing matches, cloak and dagger politics, and a actions that delegitimize their own efforts. (see AA logo rip off and not following through on a whole lot of things.)

If JC led from the front he would have taken that thing over and made it happen. It still does need to happen.

Why are you all pissing and moaning about John McNamara?

There are many college teams that in 10 days or so, will be rid of the yoke of the TU's and LAU's.

Right or wrong, the USCRA pushed USAR to hire Todd Bell. This in turn led many good college men to point Todd Bell n the direction of allowing conferences to break away.

Forget the CPD, its a side-show and will be forgotten about in its current form.

I hope there is a league for the 'have's like BYU, Cal, ASU, Life and now Davenport and the other mickey mouse college with dollars!

The revolution was miss-guided but the USCRA did make a difference in the grand scheme of things!

"Why not a better more engaged Board of Directors? A Congress comprised of individuals which better reflect youth, high school and college. Along with a HQ staff of capable and knowledgeable workers. Truth is all of us in US rugby don't know if the model works because we have the wrong people sitting in most of the chairs."

This is exactly the argument that perpetuates the status quo. We, the membership, have no say over the board, the CEO, congress or ANYTHING. USAR is a self-perpetuating monopoly that doesn't have to account to the membership. It's status as NGB guarantees international legitimacy, but if it were a company, it would have long ago been liquidated with its assets sold to settle its obligations. Then, we could have started again from scratch, older and wiser, to give the good old NGB a truly transparent and responsive structure and mandate.

Since a revolution doesn't seem in the offing, I expect more of the same. The membership simply doesn't have the leverage to clean house. King George rules from Boulder. Sad. And crazy.

It would appear to me that the college restructure plan is designed so as to allow the college game to eventually withdraw from USAR. Things like this mandatory insurance plan that most colleges and college players don't need and the fact that some LAU and TU administrators are now actively trying to sabatoge the college game out of vindictiveness will simply hasten this exodus. In the end, USCRA was merely a catalyst for this, but the end result looks like it is going to be exactly what they wanted in the first place.


Look closely - you are right.

The Georgia Union is threatening colleges if they leave in August. MARFU and some in the PRU are also up in arms.

Fact of the matter is that it was easy pickings for the unions and now they are short of cash. Most college's are best away from union officials with no skin in the game.

What were they doing with all this cash from colleges? I don't think it is necessarily a money issue in some cases, I think it is a control issue and an unwillingness to face that somebody came along with a better way to serve college rugby. It is no wonder our sport has had trouble growing when we have people in power who are being exposed as clearly just in it for themselves. This is a quote that was sent to me from an email from a prominent TU/LAU official after the college restructure was announced:

"Do you seriously expect that I (for example) will give my time (for nothing?) to a group that does not pay dues to an organization for which I do volunteer my time?"

I question how the person who wrote that could ever say with a straight face that he has the best interests of rugby at heart.

The dues paid to LU/TAU should go to fund the TU reps sides for the Collegiate All-Star tournament. This tournament is where final selections are made for the All-Americans, but now it appears that the CPD teams don't want to send their players and the tourney was a joke this year. Guess if you're on a CPD team, even if you go 1-6, your chances to make the All-Americans are better than a hard working kid on a D1 or D2 team.

To Mr "I Don't get it"

You clearly don't. The prominent guy you referenced was not really speaking out of turn. He was simply saying that if he is going to spend his time working on something, he needs to know that the parties involved are all invested in the same outcome.

Is JC John Coffee from Green Mile or John Cougar?

What outcome is that?

Better this than the AA star tournament which was for just a few schools from one TU.

The south was all Life and ASU (even if they didn't attend the camps). And Marfu was all about Kutztown and PSU because who was coaching them.

Check this out- a City-based team in Boston is being put together. Kudos to the Boston rugby community for doing this. Now we need New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, San Diego/LA, and San Fran to do the same and we might be able to have a City-based elite domestic competition down the road. (add in Utah Warriors to make 8 teams).



The subtlety of my username is somewhat lost when you type it the way you did.

Sorry man.

AA Highschool team in South Africa looking very good and competitive against Glenwood, one of the elite schools in Durban. On top of the good showing of the AA College team against the NZ University team, things look bright for the future.

To properly run college rugby the organization would need to include a dozen staff with a couple/three executives among them.

Why would college rugby elect this path when we already have those people in Boulder?

The task is in getting USA Rugby to understand the college work required and to dedicate their efforts accordingly. If this staff and board isn't willing to take this path, then they will need to be replaced by a more enlighten group of board members and employees.

Having a group of college rugby coaches hiring and managing office workers and executives is a non-starter.

The only thing along these lines which makes sense is to blow up USA Rugby by creating new events not owned by USA Rugby and to not pay dues. This ends the organization and the terms of those running it quickly. Then out of the ashes a new USA Rugby could be formed.

It has come to my attention that a few high school rugby organizations have obtained health insurance policies for their members at a cost of $2.50 per player. Remind me again why we are paying $10 per player, coach, administrator, and referee for USAR's mandatory insurance?


The 10 dollar increase for accident insurance is a money spinning scheme by a disparately broke USA Rugby. I would have had more respect for them if they just said we are raising the CIPP to cover costs for the RWC and our other national teams and gave me an opportunity to donate more for a free t-shirt.

no doubt. But I'd love to know just how cheap something like this so we can put a number on how much revenue is going to be made off this new "benefit".

To all those USAR die hards. I know it is a real benefit. I am saying we are being grossly overcharged for this benefit by what is supposed be a non-profit, member-centered organization.

I thought for a while how the scheme might have backfired on them because Congress was trying to demand that any excess amount over what is necessary for the insurance coverage be put in some escrow account. But then I realized that even if Congress accomplished that, the goal of increasing revenue through this would still be met. Allegedly this idea came about partially as a way to attract new and more members, i.e. people who formerly weren't registering because they saw no benefit, would now register in order to get the insurance. So while they wouldn't get the $10 from any of these new members, they would get the $35 extra dollars that USAR had already been collecting from everyone. Say that 1,000 new members sign up with USAR now in order to get this insurance. That's a nice $35,000 that USAR pockets that we have no clue what it is used for since we never see a real budget.

Although maybe we shouldn't be surprised about this happening in the rugby community. I had a conversation with a college coach a while back who said that their program tries super hard to recruit as many new kids as possible to come out early in the season, charge them club dues and then hope alot of them quit.

Pretty distasteful practice of that college coach.

I disagree with the idea that they will attract that many new members because of this. Yes it provides additional insurance coverage. But who are the people that aren't playing because of insurance reasons? I would assume they are people without primary insurance right? Well this plan has a 2k deductible for people without primary insurance. That's potentially a lot of money for people who arent in a financial position to buy primary to begin with.

So I really doubt someone (who is in anyway responsible) will start playing rugby without primary insurance just because of this benefit. If you already have primary insurance then this benefit is okay I guess. But how many people who have primary insurance are not playing because of an insurance reason? Not many I would say

The something you're missing is that people are generally idiots and won't even realize that the $2000+ deductible makes it virtually worthless for them. That part isn't going to be publicized.

Most college kids are not allowed participate in club sportsb without primary insurance.
Its a rip off...

This is just an attempt to appear to be doing something positive. The insurance is worthless to most.

The best part is the congress members talking about how many positive responses they had received. Complete joke. Congress is a joke. The vast majority of the membership would not call their congress person for anything. Useless is the word.

What is also pretty funny is that they kind of pass this off as some sort of special deal they got from their great sponsor, Zurich, when in reality they offer this to any large group of people who all participate in a sport or do some other similarly risky activity. Would put all my money on them not even getting a special discount and that they got this for whatever any random group would have gotten it for.

However, let us say they actually did get a discount because of the sponsor relationship. This makes it even more likely that the cost/person was way below 10 dollars. This is a serious news story. I wish someone would get the answe to this question. I emailed the address USAR provided for problems concerning this and was not given a response.

I wish someone in the rugby media would get that number.

The rugby media are a collective of bloggers in their parent's basements getting wet in their panties when Eddie O'Sullivan will do a skype interview. They aren't going to do a thing about this.

Don't blame the bloggers as if they are some sort of powerful entity that are sitting this one out as part of a conspiracy. Do you really think USAR is going to release that info? Maybe while they're at it, they'll open up the books they've been cooking for years.

The bloggers are all just fans trying to help promote the sport. They don't actually have any power a la ESPN, NBC Sports, etc. And even if they did, would the membership (even the 15 people that post here) really do anything about it?

Last year, Ed Hagerty blasted the USAR administration and got everyone fired up for the revolution, but did anything happen? Nope.

The power is all in the membership and their apathy has allowed that power to transfer completely to the board and congress.

There is an answer, but no one has the balls to do it. Walk away. Take your team/club and your dues and walk away from USAR. You don't really need them. Get your own insurance, train your own refs, and set up your own leagues.

This is directly from the powerpoint proposal given to Congress:

"The average cost per member, based upon 100,000 members would be $5.00."

Apathy in the college coaching ranks is what USAR banks on literally and figuratively.
The reality is that dues to USAR are often paid by the schools themselves out of the student fees allocated to the clubs on campus.
99% of the coaches at the college level have not standing or relationship with school administrations.
It's the lynchpin of the NIRSA approach: college students run their clubs; build organizational, communication, accountability and leadership skills while keeping all but one student (president of the club) out of the administrations hair.
In short the players just want to play and the coaches just want the players to play.
This the challenge that must be overcome.
Colleges (players most importantly) have no choice but to fill USAR's coffers.
As the conferences continue to emerge (largely without any direction, guidance or leadership for USAR's "College Department") they will begin to see that the value that USAR offers in services and "deals" is small compared to what they, collectively, can broker themselves.
Do you really believe that the CPD, PAC 12 or any other self organized rugby entity has any financial reason to associate with USAR?
Now that the Collegiate Alls Stars are seemingly a thing of the past all USAR deserves is $10 per college player and that's only if they decide to tour internationally.
College coaches can continue to pay full dues for the honor of paying separately for Coaching certifications and the occasional "conference".
Autonomous Conferences may be the beginning of a college rugby free of the shackles of USAR. If a respectable relationship with USAR can be struck in the process, all the better. If not, so be it.

... and it goes on to say that the rest will be put into an escrow account for when the premium goes up. This way, they won't have to raise dues every time the cost of insurance changes... which it will with 100,000 people playing a sport where its common to get hurt.

What is it with bloggers and their parents' basements? Why is it that they are never in a coffee shop or shirking their professional responsibilities? And what's so special about a basement? And why is it that doing something for love, not money (you know, being an amateur but taking a hobby seriously) is somehow the province of losers?


No club is going to be able to break away. Show me one club anywhere for whom that would be a viable option. No league games, possibly no games at all. And for what? To save a few bucks? Is that going to start a movement?

It's going to have to be on a larger level than that. USA Rugby is going to have to lose entire TUs or SBROs. That's why this money-grab is a bit surprising in light of the fact that SoCal has discussed leaving USA Rugby altogether. This hardly makes them more likely to stay in the fold. And I think that all it will take is one. If SCRFU (or another TU) were to drop out, USA Rugby will collapse like a house of cards as there is a stampede to the exits.

I don't give them two years. By summer 2013, if not sooner, there will be chaos all around. Boulder will be closed. And from there, hopefully, we can rebuild something that actually works.

Allow all to play -

The U.S. government also told its people that their money for Social Security wouldn't be touched... and yet...

I dont trust them as far as I can throw them.

I also believe that USAR is living on borrowed time.

The best college events are when Cal plays BYU in the Bay Area or Utah. Followed by the CRC 7's competition.

Soon more competition not owned by USAR will spring up. There will be less to no role in these competitions for USAR.

This will be the beginning of the end. USAR has been overreaching with their dues for many years. The latest form of welfare money grab will doom them.

What saves USAR is a new Board of Director and Congress and a new CEO and staff.

USAR is not going to change unless they are forced. USAR can not operate without CIPP revenue. The Board and Congress are not serving the needs of the rugby community. The Confernces and LAUs should put all their CIPP dues into escrow and demand an audience with USAR before the funds are released to USAR.

The escrow approach would be a powerful tool only if the Conferences, LAU's and TU's actually communicated with each other.
This will require college rugby leadership emerging from each that is willing to discuss, negotiate and coordinate with each other about the best way forward.
Huge potential here, but open minds and an open forum are needed first.

did anyone hear about the end of the high school all Americans against Glenwood? ref had to end game 10 mins early due to huge fight in which USA no 7 already in the sin bin ran length of the field to join...

@rugby gent

HAHAHA! USA Rugby keeping it classy. Must be a reflection of the coaches and management.

Ah... so we're assuming this was ALL the Americans fault. Because we're the big bad bullies of the rugby world and South African rugby players are some of the cleanest around.

If you believe that one, then I have some property I'd like to sell you. Damn near every South African I've ever run with or against was more than willing to step over the line and play dirty. That mentality starts at the youth level.

Not that I'm absolving the Americans either, but until video footage is produced, I will stick to the platform that both teams were equally at fault.

When you run the length of the field to get into an episode of hand bags, you're not coached.

Promotable, organized, sexy and growing like poison ivy. This ain't no UStream broadcast...

Because teenagers NEVER do ridiculous things that they've been told 100 times in 100 ways not to do.

fair enough i wasn't at the game but after reading the SA newspapers and various facebook postings it seems that the HSAA really crossed the line. the headmaster of the school has written a letter to the coaches of HSAA wanting an explanation for the thuggery. ( apparentely HSAA coaches were inciting violence from the sidelines)

Match recap can be found here - http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global%5B_id%5D=65262

Sounds like USA Rugby has embarrassed themselves. Of course our rugby media is going to ignore this.

That was some great sports journalism right there. Reminded me of someone recapping their kid's Little League game and crying foul because a kid from the other team went in hard to break up a double play.

Did one of the Dad's from Glenwood write that? If it is true (still skeptical as to the extent due to the biased reporting), poor showing for the USA. Our teams should play hard, but never resort to fighting.

We have rugby media? Seriously, everyone needs to stop with that. We will not have "rugby media" until there are dozens of well paid journalism majors specifically covering the sport in America. Guys blogging when they're not working real jobs does not count as media.

Right now, the writers at RugbyMag are the only ones getting paid to cover rugby in America. If you are aware of other rugby media in the USA, let us know.

The Witness is the oldest news paper in South Africa going back to 1846.

Home town newspaper hack job as aside, this is a very disturbing report. I am very disappointed in the coaching staff. The head coach always needs to take full responsibility for these types of situations.

The odd punch is a an excusable reflex. Several reported punches, players coming off the bench and reports of coaches inciting foul play is a disgrace.

Couple of facts here. First, Glenwood is a boarding school with a long and proud sporting tradition with rugby being the major sport on campus fielding 30 sides. I would find it hard to believe that an international match on their home pitch would be poorly administered, refereed or their players would be encouraged to go outside the rules. Second, look at this article from Rugby Magazine where the team captain is saying the right stuff, but obviously his team and coaches can't find the balance between intensity and thug rugby. http://rugbymag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1495:hsaa-intensity-needs-to-ramp-up-captain-&catid=43:age-grade-men&Itemid=192

USA Rugby = Village Idiots of World Rugby!

The writing style is probably a little worse than we find in the text of Rugby Mag, but the message in the crappy article (I don't care how old or distinguished The Witness is...it was a terrible article) should be more embarrassing to USA Rugby than many items of late, especially if it can be proven that someone on the coaching staff was actually "inciting" the players.

There should be video somewhere, and someone should be able to find actionable incidents.

Here is another write up about the game. Looks like the incident happen after Glenwood scored a try to go ahead with 10 minutes left. The resulting punch up was enough that a conversion did not take place and the game was called. That is embarrassing and a waste of USA Rugby members' fees since that is where the money comes to pay for these tours. The coaches of the USA HS team should be held accountable.


Wasn't even Glenwood's strongest side as they were resting a large number of players


The question to be answered is if and who of these coaches/admins on the tour incited violence from the sideline?

Coaching Staff
Salty Thompson (Head Coach), Michael Engelbrecht (Assistant Coach), David Fee (Assistant Coach), Jason Payne (Assistant Coach), Paule Barford (Assistant Coach), Mark Stephens (Trainer), Eric Taber (Manager)

More coaches than the Eagles!

Salty has a real problem here. He is the Head coach. This isn't the first time Salty has had a meltdown on his team. Doesn't matter which coach was inciting, the head coach needs to take responsibility for the staff.

How come these teams aren't coached by guys who will one day be candidates for the Eagles job? Don't see any candidates in this bunch. Maybe Fee as an assistant and Engelbrecht is a solid coach. Eric Tabor isn't really a manager, he's taking orders from Salty.

Melville should select better coaching staffs with more experience in the manager and or a much more capable head coach.

The fact that the CIPP fees from me and our team go to pay for these jokers to soil the name of rugby in the USA makes me livid.

The HS All-Americans picked up a win today in South Africa, and they were quick to put the news online - http://tiny.cc/zibrf

After the Glenwood match we got zero info from USA Rugby about the match. These two wins they picked up are against development sides of underprivileged kids (i.e. black kids in the townships). Glenwood was a bunch of rich kids in a boarding school who have followed and played rugby all their lives. I smell a rat.

The AA's took two of three against a Uni select side .. the HS team has one a couple games in the land of the Bok.

Are they playing the best these countries have to offer? No. But they are winning and that is a step in the right direction and will mean better competition in the future.

These are positive developments that are welcome news.

I like this direction that USA is going with their rugby. The more HS kids we send overseas with explicit instructions to not take losing as an option, not to take any physical intimidation without dishing out some pain, to not settle with losing unless you get a pound of flesh. Call it thug rugby, call it against the spirit of the game, call it what you want, but when these kids get a few years on they will be ready to thump the best in the world at the bottom of a ruck. Rack an eye, grab someones coin purse, whatever it takes to win baby.

Keep bust'n heads and getting Ws in South Africa boys!

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