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Date: Friday - 02.10.17

Luke Turner | Tulsa RFC | President

Last week I posted my NDS Report and only included the good stuff; the great courses offered, the great speakers, the camaraderie, etc. What I didn’t talk about and what wasn’t officially dealt with at the Summit, was the elephant in the room.

USA Rugby is in serious financial, structural, and competitive disarray. With all that is coming to light about the debacle that Nigel Melville has left for new CEO, Dan Payne, from PRO, RIM, the Rugby Channel, etc., it’s a bit disappointing that the board didn’t call for an open meeting with attendees, to discuss in depth, the situation we now find ourselves in. If they had, they would have witnessed a group who are resolved to unify behind Dan Payne and move USA Rugby forward. Instead they chose to stay in the shadows.
This weekend we are hoping that some light will be shone on the entire mess as USA Rugby Congress meets in Austin, TX. Congress is a representative body of the membership. It is comprised of elected representatives for Youth, College and Club rugby, and ten International Athletes. Their role includes, assisting in the development and implementation of the strategic plan, providing support for the USA Rugby Board of Directors and national office staff, participating in USA Rugby committees and serving as a liaison between the Board and the rugby community. They have one of their bi-annual meetings tomorrow prior to the Men’s Eagles match against Brazil. Here is a link to Talking Points regarding governance that USA Rugby Congress should consider from Tony Ridnell, one of the main voices calling for changes to be made to the Board. 
Clearly, this is a pivotal weekend for USA Rugby; and the membership have every right to demand results. We all have nothing to lose and everything to gain by helping Dan Payne succeed. It's time, however, for the BOD to become a more active, transparent participant, as Dan cannot do it by himself. Constructive, deliberate self reflection HAS to be part of the process, it is time for our organization to mature.

And mature we must, because the wolves are at the door, MRC, PRO 12, Super Rugby, etc. Foreign investors and leagues are foaming at the mouth to get into the USA market. If we don't come out of this weekend with some seismic changes and agree on a strategic plan for how to capitalize on all our opportunities, we will be swept aside and have no say in the future of rugby in the United States.
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