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12 October 2011


Ouch. Reading this makes me feel sick to my stomach. It is like reading a manual on master class incompetency.

A slew of horrible executive level decisions with no oversight to ask "why this way?".

With so much at stake, these decisions and the subsequent misuse of funds is criminal. There must be individuals, elected or hired, that are forced to answer to the questions Kurt's piece raises.

Who? Chairman Roberts, CEO and President Melville are obvious, but there must be others who were instrumental in spending millions of IRB funds in such ludicrous ways? The coaches have obviously all slipped away in the night, but there has to be persons held responsible for all this mess.

This era will go down in history as the "wasted years". No matter how USA Rugby spin it, no matter how many "score cards" they exaggerate, filled with lots of nothing, this is the reality.

What a shame.

The full book version of this should be mailed to every member of the IRB executive council, IRB staff in Dublin, every rugby union CEO and Chairman and published in the leading newspapers of rugby playing nations.

The new college conferences may be the right organizations to administer HP centers. 4 conferences from D1-A and 15 from D1-AA. These 19 HP centers can develop HS and college players (and coaches) with one day clinics and mutli-day camps and work with colleges to get access to quality facilities. High profile HP centers will improve rugby's image with athletic directors and prospective players. "All-Conference" representative sides could replace the old TU based all-star system. All-conference teams can play nearby conferences to start and then look to form leagues and tours as interest grows. USAR could provide Eagles and elite coaches to share among the conferences. Conferences would control the HP centers, regional sponsors and all the money collected. USAR (coaches and players)would effectivley work for the conferences when needed.

I like the "All-conference" rep side idea. Translates well to the existing college system. To have them actually playing each other would be awesome. I don't know about forming an all-conference league, there's only so much time on the college schedule.

Agree a nationwide league of All-conference teams would be tough to pull off given cost and scheduling issues. 2-3 games against the nearby conferences would be a great improvement over today's setup. Multi-conference development camp culminating in competive matches would also be productive (Simliar to Caravelli's San Diego Camp). The All-Conference selection would become the new regional Talent Identification program. The college and conferences should take over the player pathway. If the college conferences control the money and access to elite players, USAR will be forced to operate on the colleges' terms.

Factchecker - because someone got off the couch and started an age grade rugby team does not mean USA Rugby had anything to do with it.

Agree USAR had little to do with the creation of most youth programs. RugbyMag reports there were 184 Sevens tournaments in 2011. USAR had nothing to do with the creation and adminstration of these tournaments many of which make money for their hosts and provide the need competitive environment to play Sevens. Standards could improve, but there is a good infrastructure in place. It is the entrepreneurial spirit of the clubs, not USAR, that made this happen. The college structure changed because the college clubs, not USAR, forced the change happen. If properly run, HP centers can be created around the country by the clubs/conferences. Rugby clinics and camps are not much more complicated logisticaly than tournaments and they can generate some profit for the hosts. If we had 184 camps/clincs every year with half focused on elite development, the player pool would improve.

In addition to not dreading terribly closely, Factchecker cowardly used a false email and so is gone. I did, however, make the change.

Kurt has done a great job in this post of pointing out all the great ideas people have had and then failed to execute effectively. Something I'll think about more closely when I consider how to help my own club.

But really, how could they not fail when their ideas are not tailored to appeal to the American population.

I don't know much about the NA4. I do think a cross-border series with Canada would be a good thing, if marketed properly.

@ benito,

Unless an organization intended to spend many millions in marketing and promotion it would not be possible to exploit NA4 rugby. These concepts were without any identifiable brand affiliation.

The money was thrown down a drain. Many thousands of dollars in fights, lodging meals, salaries, event cost etc...for 80 very average minutes of rugby.

Now if we thing like American sport fans for a moment, maybe if we call this NY verses Vancouver professional rugby, and if these teams could be part of a league of such teams and we (the IRB) were willing spend the money to market the enterprise for a period of years...well maybe.

I am not interested in reading about marketing, competition structures, talent identification. Doesn't matter, won't matter until we get our NGB administration fixed.

My entire focus is on holding our highly paid administrators and elected board (chairman) accountable for the decisions-non decisions and lack strategic direction.

First and only topic to me.

If you want to change the USAR Board, you need to direct the Congress that appoints the Board. 5 of 9 Board postions are up for appointment in 2012. Below are the emails for the current Congress. Tell them what you think.



You're 100% correct. We need to stay focused! Benito is a good guy and I got caught up in replying. Sorry.

The future of US rugby can be decided later, first things first.

How fricken bad is that Congress list. There are a dozen absolute fools on the Congress of USA Rugby.

I knew it, but seeing those people on one list is really sickening.

How come the more talented members haven't been able to talk sense into this crowd?

I need a drink!

Perhaps we need a party system to put forward qualified, like-minded people for Congress from across the country, influence their appointment to Congress, and the selection of Board members. The Gainline Party?

@God help us...which ones do you think are the fools?


The IAs are not necessarily fools, but most of them don't care.

Since we are calling people out...Here the Congress names sorted by TU. Under current bylaws, only these Congress members, not he colleges, appoint the Board.

Congress Representatives

International Athletes
Annie Collier annie.collier@gmail.com
Mark Griffin griffrugby@yahoo.com
Chris Osentowski osentowski@hotmail.com
Farrah Douglas fddougla@gmail.com
Dan Lyle danlyle8@msn.com
Ines Rodriguez ines2@vet.upenn.edu

Mid-Atlantic Territorial Union
Dana Bateman danabatemn@aol.com
Eric Pittelkau epittelkau@gmail.com
George Durocher durocher01@comcast.net

Midwest Territorial Union
Jeremiah Johnson jeremiahkjohnson@yahoo.com
Adrian Gannon rugbyteacher@sbcglobal.net
Gary Lobaugh globaugh@netzero.com

Northeast Territorial Union
Gary Lee Heavner gary@heavner.net
Joe Olzacki coronajo@aol.com
Mike Hodgins mhodgins@hodginsprinting.com
Pacific Coast Territorial Union
Frank Merrill fmmjrdvm@sbcglobal.net
John Coppinger john@donahue.com
Ellen Owens ellenowens@sbcglobal.net

Southern California Territorial Union
Steve Vent stevevent@gmail.com
Kilian Kerwin kkerwin@mac.com
Marni Vath marnielyn@yahoo.com

South Territorial Union
Martin Gardner lmdcg@comcast.net
Danita Knox danita.knox@ge.com
Clifton Ramsdell clifton.ramsdell@gmail.com

West Territorial Union
Bill Sexton wsexton@atsu.edu
John Wolf jawolf4@aol.com
Alan Sharpley sharpley@dynastat.com

when is the next "occupy" Boulder scheduled?

Nobody in rugby has the money to pay for travel to Boulder. Email is free.

I know these perps well. I am very disappointed in the best of them for not battling for the sake of US rugby. To not stand at every meeting and fight for the members they should all be thrown out.

Here are the worst people, the ones we need to remove from office ASAP.

Jeremiah Johnson, Adrian Gannon, Frank Merrill, Ellen Owens, Bill Sexton, John Wolf, Alan Sharply.

I wouldn't mess with Jeremiah Johnson. I've seen the movie. That guy will scalp you!

Im not at all in the know. what is wrong with these congress people. without slinging mud, what havent they done or what have they done to deserve to be voted out?

Many of the Congress are incable of understanding or seeing many of the changes needed or pathway to take.

They come from zero professional sport background and cannot put the basics of what Kurt lays out together in order to offer any critique. It is a real comedy if it were not so sad that really unknowingly their bar is so low and they almost argue till they are blue in the face that things are ok.
Second, they think people like KR and NM know what they are doing, again sad.
Finally their roles within their own TU are mostly limited to competition mgmt and none have a strategic plan, business plan or anything to that affect so they come with no expectations of the board or CEO from that angle.

There are a couple of people who have come through or are on the Congress that try and make the dialogue move towards accountability and a business like approach, but they are roundly looked at as people who's expectations are out of wack with reality or have an agenda.

All of the decisions pointed out by Kurt are strategic, with tactical tenticles, year in and year out with limited or no success.

So to move forward Congress has to first care, and two make the changes to themselves and then the board, in both personnel and direction.

I would suggest we do an analysis of the board and Congress and talk about who is part of the problem or part of the solution. Many of you readers has the ability to go to your annual TU meeting and or SBRO/LAU meetings where you can demand to hear the persons view and then vote accordingly.

News Flash, many of the TU and LAU executive committees/boards look like the Congress so getting that house in order for the same reasons people on this board are discussing are just as vital.

Great idea, like Goff or any newspaper does in the UK and the like after a test match they list every player, make a few comments and then give them an A-F grade.

Who wants to start, let's not forget the board or staff as well!

I'll go first.

We all know very well the antics of Alan Sharpley in the Aspen/Glendale transfer fiasco.

Seems that there are alot of personal axe's to grind here on this blog. I heard that at least one of these "perps" stated that the entire board should be removed if they interfeared with the insurance money!
Why don't people post using their real names? If you want to be taken seriously start by being transparent and honest yourself.

I heard it from his lips too - knowing him I know he'll hold their feet to the fire. I called and asked him about the Cipp increase sometime ago.

Disagree. There is a place for anon. That is why we vote behind a curtain. These jerks have been using the electoral system to their horrible advantage, why can't we do the same in ousting them?

These people are the elected leadership. We are free to discuss their performance anon. If they don't like their performance as our union's leaders to be discussed they can vacate their position.

Frank Merrill and Bill Sexton have been the Congress ring leaders in supporting this Board. Neither of them are good rugby men. They are political animals capable of supporting one failed administration after another with none of the stench sticking to them. They are both less than honor men and will likely be the first to point out the Board failing as soon as the tide turns. As pointed out by another poster, Jeremiah Johnson and Adrian Gannon are an extension of the Board who support the Board at all cost and rational.

Congress member like these four have no rugby resume. They have done very little except to fully support, without even questions, those on the Board who have done even less.

Change the Leadership!
That's an interesting comment you make about those four persons. You seem to know them well, are you a former member of the Congress?

The person I spoke about earlier and confirmed by AndyR above is one of those people you named as been an extension of the board. You either have a personal grudge or you are uninformed, or maybe it is a unrefined mixture of both.

Are we free to discuss their "leadership" anon? Are they not volunteers? Though we vote "behind the curtain" we have to identify ourselves before we vote.. so we actually don't participate incognito.

What are you afraid of? Stand up and be counted, every Saturday I am proud of the people on the rugby field who I share my time with because they are there and will be counted upon when needed. No place for cowards. You should follow suit.

Since Daniel doesn’t eat cheese, I skipped the pecorino, which is what I often do when we're sharing the salad. It came out beautifully. Though not technically “raw”, the barely-blanched curly kale was deeply fulfilling, sweet, and extremely fresh tasting. Although I didn't add them, I could see chopped olives or whole capers making a suitable, saline garnish.

@ 101

Definitely agree that it was money down the drain. And it's a common point, that people could have a hard time associating with rugby. I remember the topic of club names has come up often. The "What's an OMBAC?" question is an example. And it's true that NY vs Vancouver could be more appealing to people with little or no familiarity to the sport.

I guess that's where the problem is, I personally believe that RSL actually has some darn good rugby. Unfortunately, they don't have enough money to facilitate the competition and teams have been exiting the league. I don't know the best way to get the league some money, but I have a few suggestions to start:
1) Improve the RSL website.
2) Offer match highlights, hopefully sponsored.
3)Review the financials. It seems problematic that we have this perception of RSL as a Country Club. Right or Wrong, it is a significant burden for its members to pay to be in RSL.

We either need the RSL to be improved or we need a new higher level competition.

Please, don't get me wrong. I don't place the needs of RSL above college or youth rugby, where I think the highest emphasis needs to be. I have seen first hand that Lacrosse grew with kids in 6-8th grade, and when those first kids got to high school it became a varsity sport.

My comment in this instance is just focusing on RSL.

Also, I remember that Kurt posted a quote from an news article that detailed that the Americans were sloppy hotel guests and that they had had beers in the room after matches. And then I read this about France:

"In the latest of a series of bizarre press conferences, Lievremont told the assembled media that he was in a bad mood despite his side's historic victory because certain individuals within the squad had disobeyed direct orders and gone out after Saturday night's victory. "

This is from this article. http://www.espnscrum.com/2011-rugby-world-cup/rugby/story/152427.html

The difference here is that winning cures everything. Just noticed the irony. I wasn't proud to read that the Americans were partying and sloppy, but if they hadn't lost 3 matches, maybe I would have given them a pass.

Seems like a bizarre tournament for France, too. Lose to Tonga and then make it to the final.

@ Paul

Not sure about others but I have no idea who you are. Never heard of you as a player, coach, ref or administrator. Paul Coonan could be an alias for all I know.

But what if you are an Eagle player, young coach or an administrative insider who is just fed up. By using your name you put yourself at risk from this administration. Maybe you don't want to be part of the story.

It is easy for you to say don't be a coward and use your name. Your name is Paul Coonan and you are anon.

For the record I have no grudges. I do think it is time for massive change in the leadership of USA Rugby. Without this change I fear we will continue to waste the opportunities before the game.

A new and better Chairman might be good enough to fix the whole situations. This would change the Board membership.

I am not sure Congress can be saved. The plan a few years back, because Congress was so bad, was to take them out of any authority whatsoever. This has happened and maybe based on the composition of Congress its a good thing.

Nigel is a poor CEO. He lacks experience. Before coming to the US he hadn't had a position even close to Chief Executive. But this gets fixed I assume at the Board level. The CEO reports to the Board, so the Board needs to manage the CEO. Back to the Congress, most of them found out at the bar that Nigel had been extended for another term. That tells you how the system really works. The person elected to Congress from your area doesn't matter in the running of USA Rugby. They won't be asked the big questions or the small ones.

Change the Chairman.

The current USAR bylaws state that the Board hires the CEO. The Board appoints all officers including the Chairman and any committees they think are needed.

Congress appoints the Board.

If Congress wants a new Charieman and CEO, Congress should not re-appoint the current Board. In 2012 5 of 9 Board positions are due to be re-appointed. Congress does matter to the adminstration of USAR and the current Board is perfectly happy to have a sleeping Congress.

I find it funny that people on this board find fault with the Eagles having a few beers in their hotel rooms after a match. They weren't out midget tossing or jumping off of ferries. A few beers with teammates after a match is pretty common. That they stayed in their hotel rooms and were not out galavanting around New Plymouth until 2am is commendable and extremely restrained behavior for a World Cup Rugby squad.
And, Paul Coonan is not on the CIPP register, so I hope he is not a player, coach or referee.

@Sgt. Hulka,
You've earned a weekend furlough.

I'm thinking Melville got himself a new contract just a few months ago so we have him for a few more years. I'm sure one of the congress members that frequents this board can verify that for us.

Painful truth is no one is going to do anything except complain. Why? because its a hobby / past time for most of us and we have lives and families and real jobs to deal with and just don't have the energy and fortitude to fight that kind of fight.

The folks that have finally had enough and did something about it are now off running their own SBROs and college conferences just one step away from leaving USAR for good. Its just way easier to walk away than it is to bang your head against the wall.

With few exceptions, the only folks left in the game are those that have some personal interest and a narrow focused agenda.

Sure, that's exactly what Boulder is counting on. So? That doesn't mean its not true. I hope someone proves me wrong.

@ Sergeant Hulka

I really don't have a problem with the guys having beers at the hotel. And after re-reading my post, it may have been douchey. I was just noticing that even top nations are enjoying the RWC. And, good digging on the CIPP for Paul Coonan.

Paul- Just disappear now. No more lectures on cowardly behavior.

I am cipped but I do not use my official given name except when registering or on my banking concerns etc. I use my second name as I have the same first name as my father and we dont do jnr's or numbers. Thanks for taking the interest!

Didn't Jefferson Davis commit treason against his own country and lost? Or maybe its the social order thing you like?

The Eagles were a credit to us all. They left everything on field and anyone who begrudges them a few beers needs to take a few moments to really reconsider their position.

Give us a freakin break.

Now you want to tell us about the Eagles and what you think about international behaviors.


You have been caught out. Your support of the administration is noted, now crawl back under that rock.

Coonan's found in CIPP:

Emily - not you
Thomas James - wrong middle name.
Thomas - appears to be the same person as Thomas James (same HS team)
Patrick M. - wrong middle name.
Damian - ?

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