To the True South GU clubs and their members: As many of you may have now heard, USA Rugby has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy which is a type of bankruptcy for an organization to restructure both itself and its debt. Between that and the COVID-19 pandemic our sport is dealing with an unprecedented situation. The True South board wants you to know that we are engaged with the restructuring efforts and devising a strategy with other unions to bring back competitions. With regard to USAR, our Women’s Director Michele Yarbrough is one of four USAR Congress members that have been asked to work with their Board of Directors and has been actively working to create a path forward with World Rugby and USAR. Mike Millikan has been handling the extensive communications between other GU’s and the task force that has been put together. I’m monitoring the potential competitions format and timing for the Southern Conference which includes Florida, Carolina’s and Georgia. I would not expect to see any competitive 7’s competition this summer and the union is not endorsing any social 7’s tournaments. I can say that our finances are secure and sufficient to get through this. USAR does not owe us any money, nor do we owe them any. CIPP registration and the insurance that goes with it are critical parts of the ongoing discussions. It may be that the union or conference will have to take that on internally, it’s simply not clear at this point. I have had conversations with both referee societies to gauge their concerns. Referee certification is part of what USAR handles meaning World Rugby provides the guidelines and class courses while USAR deals with the logistics. This is a bit of a sticking point as World Rugby will not act with anything less than a national governing body so our union and our conference will not have any say in this. It is important for each of you to know that as long as there is a national stop in place for playing rugby due to COVID 19 – if you play or practice during this time – your CIPP insurance will not cover you. If we reach a point where the stop is lifted and the National Governing Body is still in Chapter 11 we will provide further guidance on the CIPP insurance at that time. I expect to have more clarity with all these issues by the end of April and the board will continue to monitor the situation and provide our membership with hopeful outcomes. In the meantime, let’s look after each other, stay in touch and help our community where we can.
Peter Steyn, President, True South GU
True South Rugby Geographical Union
From Randall Johnson: MSRRS Chair:
As we are all aware, USA Rugby has filed for Chapter 11 and as such there are many unresolved questions that will hopefully be answered in short order. This letter is to state the MidSouth RRS position on USA Rugby’s circumstances as well as address the COVID situation. MidSouth RRS’s position on the COIVD situation is very simple: We will follow all mandates from the various federal, state and local governments. Once group sporting events resume, MidSouth will provide referees to member rugby organizations within our purview. In regards to the USA Rugby situation; MidSouth RRS had prepared in advance for the possibility of rugby without USA Rugby and with a gracious grant from True South Geographical Union, took steps to insure our full time referees through the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). Understanding the uncertainty surrounding CIPP coverage, the NASO option was the most prudent path to allow uninterrupted referee coverage for our constituents. What this means for your organizations is that referee coverage for all matches will be uninterrupted once rugby is allowed to resume regardless of USA Rugby’s situation. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. — Randall Johnson