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USA Rugby Congress Meets, Dues Going Up

Int'l News

USA Rugby Congress Meets, Dues Going Up

The USA Rugby Congress has announced that it will be raising dues.

The Congress met this past weekend in Washington, DC, and went through a fairly detailed review of several issues facing the organization. Chief among those was USA Rugby's continuing financial difficulties. With overspending and a drop in revenue hitting the organization hard in 2015 and 2016, and with the for-profit arm, Rugby International Marketing, having more control over securing big sponsors, USA Rugby has had to look to dues to increase revenue.

So following this meeting, dues will rise for the first time since 2004 (interestingly, also a year when USA Rugby was running into some financial issues). Registration fees for adult players, college players, high school players, and youth contact players will all rise $5 for the year (usually August-July). Executives or Administrators will also see their dues go up $5.

Rookie Rugby players and coaches will not see a dues increase, while club registration will go up $10, and referee registration $20.

In 2015, membership dues brought in $4.68 million for USA Rugby. It's reasonable to estimate that the new structure might bring in an additional $500,000. The new CIPP fees will be implemented starting August 10, when the 2017-18 registration season starts.

CFO Tim Jones and Board Treasurer Rob King reviewed the organization's financial position and fielded questions from the congress around financial accountability and holding budget managers accountable. King laid out new financial accountability measures adopted by the board and the audit committees, ensuring ongoing oversight would be in place from many people, not just one. This move at least implies that such accountability wasn't in place in earlier years.

In addition, Jones and King noted that revenues for 2017 are higher than expected and, with cuts in expenditures, things are starting to look up financially for USA Rugby, and the possibility exists to grow a reserve fund.

Two board members were ratified by the Congress, with Chad Keck remaining on the board for another term, and freshman Boardmember Barbara O'Brien joining. From Denver, O'Brien served as Colorado's Lieutenant Governor and Denver City School Board President.

Meanwhile, USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne, said on USARugby.org: "This was an extremely constructive meeting. Members of congress rightfully came to this meeting with some tough questions for us, and were focused on raising the level of accountability from the national office. The board and our staff were extremely receptive and addressed congress' concerns, and left the meeting with several items for immediate action.

"The USA Rugby Congress made a huge step this weekend towards the growth and development of rugby in the United States; addressing our funding needs to push youth, collegiate and adult community rugby to strength in coming years."