The executive board of the FRU wanted to take an opportunity to recap some recent progress within the Union and solicit feedback (survey below) from the membership. The FRU LAU voted at the July meeting to apply for Geographic Union (GU) status. At the meeting we elected a new board to take effect once USA Rugby (USAR) approved our application, which happened in late November. As of December 31, 2013, the LAU ended and the GU took over as the governing body for collegiate and senior rugby for the majority of the state of Florida. Most of this transition, we hope, was seemless, as many of the officers remained the same between the old FRU LAU and new FRU GU. The transition to a GU, as discussed at the summer meeting, meant that we would move forward into 2014 with more autonomy over our Union scheduling, our finances, and player development.
As part of the GU application and approval process, the FRU agreed to acquire part-time administrative support for the union. This fall the Florida Youth Rugby Union (FYRU) were able to secure funding for a USAR grant for their own administrator. The grant required matching funds, so the FRU provided those funds to the FYRU in exchange for shared access to their administrator. For this reason, we did not publicly search for our own union administrator. This arrangement with the FYRU will be reviewed on a yearly basis similar to our contract with the FRRA referees society. We are very pleased to welcome Evan Haigh to work in collaboration with the FRU and FYRU. We hope this partnership with the FYRU will increase youth player retention into the Senior/Collegiate game as well allow for more co-sponsored programs and events between the FRU and FYRU. Evan comes to us from Serevi Rugby, where he was Director of Coaching & Programming. We are very excited about Evan joining rugby in Florida, as he has a long rugby history in playing and coaching, and a degree in sports administration. Evan tells us it is his “aim is to turn Florida into a sustainable hot bed of rugby in the United States”.
In addition, the executive board has been having monthly conference calls to further rugby in the state, including but not limited to negotiations with the referees society on a new contract, working on scheduling issues, updating the budget, and beginning planning for 2014 events such as 7s tournaments and revamping of the state tournament held in the Fall, All Florida Day. The executive board will be having an in-person working meeting this upcoming Sunday, February 8, to integrate Evan and to do more detailed planning for the upcoming year. We would appreciate your feedback and have included a short survey so that we can get your input for the executive committee meeting.