Florida Rugby Union
January 29, 2012
In past years Florida has seen an abundance of subtle changes which when seen through seasoned eyes, has helped grow the sport from two (2) clubs to the present day 60 plus clubs.
As your Union President I believe it is important for me to inform you of any wind which may be blowing your way whether it strong or weak. It is also my obligation to leave the membership some sort of tangible asset when my term ends.
For years many administrators have asked exactly what does USA Rugby South do with all the money we send to them? That is a darn good question IF you do not completely understand the USA Rugby System!
Some of you still ask what does the FRU do with all the money we pay to them? Another good question if you do not participate!
I will speak on both subjects – that is the USA Rugby System and the FRU Dues at the meeting.
A very important change is the recent resignation of college clubs from being Full Members of their Local Area Unions. Why is this significant and how does it affect the FRU will also be a topic I will speak about at our AGM.
One more very important subject is our youth movement and where it is going and how it impacts the FRU. This too will be addressed at the meeting.
Finally, our most important resource (the referee) once again is being stretched to the limit by non full time members. How that impacts the FRU and the Senior Clubs, College Women and Non-Conference Men College will also be a topic I will address at our meeting.
An important part of our Annual General Meeting is to establish a budget. This budget is made up of expenses and revenues paid and spent by our members. The expenses are looked at and if they are acceptable, we then assess each member club their share of the expenses.
This subject we will discuss and debate prior to the budget being agreed upon I’m sure; but prior to the actual voting I will address “bullet points” which should be considered prior to an actual vote by the membership.
During the year it has been my responsibility to solve issues and preserve the laws of the game while fostering the growth of rugby in Florida. This means that I am responsible for overseeing discipline, events, contracts, competition and conflicts which may affect our membership.
One topic that seems to be very confusing is what exactly “a member in good standing” is or what not in good standing means. This along with other definitions, rules and regulations we will address and make clear at the meeting.
During this past year we reached out to our membership asking for a volunteer to step forward and become our Discipline Chair and after 9 months we have that person – Kerri O’Malley. She will speak on the subject of discipline on and off the field as well as her joint effort with me to re-write out Florida Handbook which is 60% completed.
When our government feels that one company is close to being termed “a monopoly”, that company is encouraged to split itself up into smaller pieces in order to give competitors and equal field to compete in or face government sanctions. The FRU has been around for 40 years and we are at the moment being chopped up into smaller pieces.
Across the country several years ago SBRO’s were formed to provide the growing rugby youth movement with a cleaner pathway to receive benefits from USA Rugby and thus provide our youngsters more opportunities to advance through the maze of elite selections needed to represent the USA. These SBRO’s typically join a LAU as 1 member but may have 20, 30 or more clubs they manage separately.
Recently, while one arm of USA Rugby investigated and appointed committees to form new Geographical Unions (GU’s) while doing away with present day Territorial Unions, another collegiate group (men’s) resigned from their LAU/TUs and formed new College Conferences OK’d by USA Rugby! After all of the dust settled, some men’s colleges were left with no clear path to winning a National Title. These colleges have been named Non-Conference Men’s Colleges. Soon we are told that College Women will make a similar break away from their LAUs.
After all of the reorganizations have been completed, the FRU will be exactly what it was 40 years ago – a senior rugby union with no colleges or youth to manage or oversee.
I will address the ramifications to LAUs and why in my opinion we need to discuss how the FRU can prepare for a much smaller membership while the cost to play and compete continues to increase.