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15 July 2013


Quoting the great book Democracy in America
I love it
But Kurt, I was told when I questioned some things at a union AGM
"it's a top down approach at USA Rugby, get used to it!"
Good luck
When the volunteers dry up, and they are, they'll be in deep crap

USA Rugby serves two purposes.

1 - Monetize the rugby community within the borders of the USA (i.e. CIPP, tournament revenue, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc).

2 - Meet the demands of the IRB in exchange for grants (i.e. assemble and manage national teams at requested age grades and genders in both 7s & 15s, participate in IRB events for the aforementioned competitive groups, host or bid to host IRB rugby events, play nice within the constructs of the IRB old boy club that runs world rugby).

Other than these 2 things USA Rugby is a failure because they don't care. I'm not saying that the individual responsible doesn't care, but they can't succeed because there is no support within the organization for them to accomplish anything.

USA Rugby is like a third world government where the people are simply serfs.

If clubs had members who wanted to do more than get wasted at a function, imagine what could get done.

USA Rugby is a closed system not beholden to the interests if its members or any politics. There is nothing anyone can do to change USA Rugby, the organization. Tough deal on CIPP but until somebody else come up with an altenative insurance plan, CIPP is here to stay. There is plenty of work to be done on Rugby in the US by the clubs, conferences and entrepreneurs across the country if they can learn to work together without looking to Boulder for leadership or support.

What a load of rubbish. Get a group of adults into a room and all you get is an almighty cock up. You Americans love your politicking. You all end up talking a good game but get nothing done.
Weak leadership has allowed this situation to continue.
Just my opinion after 25 yrs watching the system from most angles. American 'exceptionalism'. Don't make me laugh.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King.

Related issue is the constant revisionist history to support whatever notion is being promoted.

Too bad Kurt didn't mention one important aspect involved in making a democracy effective, which is having an engaged and educated citizenry.

Kurt, very thoughtful piece.

There is an important question which can't escape this conversation and one very identifiable wrong.

First the question. If USAR retained the exact same governance but changed the people sitting in the seats, would we be having this conversation? The answer might be no. Kevin Roberts has been a disaster as Chairman. He has handpicked yes-men as his fellow Board members. Congress is a collection of weak individuals who won't stand up and speak their mind. Most are just happy to have a title and a small story to tell in their local rugby community. Change the Chairman, the Board and a few strong willed Congress members and the current governance might work just fine, even be good. Certainly in this scenario, Nigel Melville would not be the USAR CEO, nor would many of the current USAR employees still be employed. We need to accept that KR and NM have surrounded themselves with individuals which won't make them look bad by setting a higher bar. Change two positions and everything changes.

The wrong though has to change. If you are a CIPP member you need to be able to vote for the leadership of the organization. Currently, there is no bona-fide voting structure which elects the USAR leadership. Even if each club (not person) got a vote on the Board positions it would be better than the current cozy voting structure.

USAR has again recently replaced Board members and still not offered insight or announcement. The "unelected committee of three" selects a candidate and bingo they are a Board member. Their first order of business is not to get on the bad side of KR, followed by finding a way to package the Board's work as good, when its actually very poor.

A new Chairman would fix much that is wrong with the governance structure and staff productivity , but in order to that we need to be able to vote. Roberts would lose a vote on being the Chairman, by 70-30%.

Closing in on 40 years of USAR (the organization) and there is much to be proud. In reality there was one bad stretch led by Doug Arnot as CEO, which created the mess we are experiencing. Arnot BK'ed USAR and forced the organization to go to the IRB hat in hand.

What we got was very limited IRB funding and the current administrative structure. This would be a good place to say, we don't mind being owned, but its being owned for chump change which is the galling part.

This all happened during 2006 reboot Kurt referenced. USAR has very steadily got downhill since. This is the beginning of Roberts and Melville. Out went USAR chairman Brendel and CEO Arnot. Interim Chairman Latham moved to the Vice Chair, KR lackey role.

Wish we could be hopeful of positive change, but just don't see it. The US rugby members are captives in this play.

Clubs need to commit to quit playing crap rugby too. Plenty of resources out there for free. How many clubs run fitness tests or even know what rugby fitness standard are?

A new organization is needed. The Varsity is showing you guys what needs to be done. Do it !!!!

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