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USA Rugby Outlines Issues When Non-USAR Members Play Member Teams

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USA Rugby Outlines Issues When Non-USAR Members Play Member Teams

Can't we all get along?

USA Rugby has finalized an outline of what being a member means, and what not being a member means.

A communication from USA Rugby CEO Ross Young and obtained by Goff Rugby Report (which will probably be released soon) set forth a list of benefits for membership, which include membership, access to USA Rugby-certified referees, eligibility for national teams, and some other services.



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But the big piece comes later, as Young, on behalf of USA Rugby, outlines what not being a member of USA Rugby means. While saying any team or competition has the right not to be a USA Rugby member, competition in a non-member group will be considered non-compliant within World Rugby regulations.

This is a statement very specifically directed at National Collegiate Rugby (NCR). Teams in NCR, or a similar organization, can play within its own group, but will not be able to play against USA Rugby member teams with USA Rugby specifically sanctioning those matches. In addition, the union that hosts such a match might be open to some form of sanction (i.e. punishment) by World Rugby.

That doesn't mean such a crossover match can never happen. Young in his letter said USA Rugby could sanction a non-member team if certain unnamed criteria are met. He also stopped short of denying refs to non-member organizations, but touched on how USA Rugby provides certified refs and World Rugby-endorsed ref and coaching certification. Could that be an 

Play between teams in different membership groups is the crux of the divide between NCR and USA Rugby that we have outlined before.

USA Rugby can't unreasonably bar a team from playing, but what is unreasonable is up for debate. In addition, even the ted Stevens Act states that a reasonable fee might be required for a team to compete when it is not a member of a national governing body. What is reasonable? That has been a debate between USA Rugby and NCR. Now USA Rugby is saying it is getting ready to set forth what it requires for an NCR team to be able to play a USA Rugby team. Is it full USA Rugby membership? Is it a match fee? It's going to be something. 

(Note: the women's NCAA league has been paying a per-team fee for the right to play a specific number of outside matches. If players from those teams are called up to USA National teams, they have to pay for a full USA Rugby membership. NCR was reportedly offered a similar deal but does not appear to have agreed to it, with their officers arguing instead that they have the right to play who they want.)

As we in GRR have been saying, this needs to be settled, and saying "I'm rubber, you're glue" is insufficient.