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Will USA Youth & HS Play Hardball?

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Will USA Youth & HS Play Hardball?

Youth action in Southern California.

USA Youth & HS (the governing organization for the sport for younger players) continues to push for a negotiation with USA Rugby over what USA Rugby does, and how much it should all cost.

A large meeting among Youth & HS representatives were given a presentation by the Executive Committee on where USAY&HS stands.

The presentation discussed what GRR had discussed earlier, namely the dues structure. What we had seen earlier was $20 per member and $7 per member for insurance. The breakdown is now slightly different, with the base fee being $17.69, and insurance $7.31, for a total of $25. That is less than HS players have been paying in previous years ($35), but is the same for youth players. Rookie Rugby fees increase from $5 to $15. 

Coach, referee, and admin dues remain the same ($65, $65, and $35). 

USA Rugby broke down the $17.69 base fee to salaries ($5.40), Operational Costs ($4.91), Business Expenses ($3.69), and a reserve fund ($3.69).

Using the 2019-2020 membership numbers, the USY&HS membership should be around 50,000. That means that the non-insurance gross income from Youth & HS Rugby would be around $900,000.

That would make the Youth & High School group the most powerful among the three main groups (Y&HS, College, Senior Club).

With that kind of influence, Youth & HS can throw its weight around a bit. As USAY&HS Interim President David Pool said earlier this week, "I think it's just really about the membership, the State Governing Bodies, feeling comfortable and feeling like we're getting value for what we're paying."

Pool and the rest of the Executive Committee made this plain on Wednesday. They said that USAY&HS is still negotiating with USA Rugby on a Community Agreement, but they haven’t signed one, and there are some issues.

They want to be ready to play September 1 (USA Rugby doesn’t appear to be ready), they have a plan for coach education, and are looking to develop a professional business model. This means, in part, that USAY&HS wants dues money to pay for staff.

But they also want to pay for coaching and admin training, and are exploring their own insurance and athletic trainer platform (similar to what NCR is doing).

According to at least one person at the meeting, USAY&HS was offering its membership two options: work with USA Rugby and negotiate with them, or go it as an independent organization.

Some of those attending got the distinct impression they were being prepared for that second option.

With a strong membership base and being the one demographic World Rugby is really concerned about, Youth & HS could potentially parlay those attributes into getting USA Rugby to change, or in getting World Rugby to recognize them as an independent entity.