USA Rugby Description of GU program
Why is Florida applying to become a GU?
If you take a look at the map, this is the way unions across the country are moving to streamline their structure and competition. We aren’t pioneers in the process, but don’t want to be left behind, either.
What items have we submitted?
At the February meeting, the membership approved Kerri O’Malley and Jane Bolin to work with Martin Gardner to take our existing by-laws and budget and fit them into the GU budget and GU bylaws. We’ve linked examples of the template for the GU budget and GU bylaws. Right now our application is under consideration with USAR.
How will my dues change?
This question was moved up on the list because we understand that most clubs are concerned about money. Right now, each member of the FRU pays $17 extra on their CIPP registration, that money goes to our membership in USAR South. When we become a GU, we will no longer be a member of USAR South. At that time, we will need to take over the competitions like championships, all-stars, and high performance programs that used to be organized by USAR South, as well as cover expenses such as Union liability insurance, which we did not have before. The GU model and USAR favors collecting dues on a per player basis instead of on a per club basis. Since we were already paying $17 to the South, we then estimated what clubs are paying per player to the FRU for the club membership. We estimated that Senior Clubs ($765) carry a roster of about 50 players. College Women’s clubs ($465) carry on average a roster of about 30 players. College Men ($650) carry about 40 players. This works out, on average, to $16 per player. We took the $17 we were paying to the South and added it to the $16 we were paying to the FRU to come up with $33 per player. This will be collected when you CIPP register. On the bright side, this is one less bill your individual club will be responsible for. In addition, in the past, we would have fewer clubs seeing the benefits of the championship events or fewer players and coaches participating in the high performance programs. Now, with the money at home, we will see a greater benefit from our dues.
Why can’t we pay less?
We added on the cost of a part-time Union administrator as part of becoming a GU (see the example budget page). Also, in the past, we did not have funds in our BUDGET for championships or high performance programs, we have added those back in as part of the GU process. We know that the membership did not want to spend more than they already do, so these championships and high performance programs were funded at a minimum level.
How will competitions work?
In the past, when we advanced from Florida we competed in USAR South Championships against clubs from the Carolinas, True South, and Georgia. We are still going to do that. In fact, this past year the Senior Men still had a championship with clubs from these unions when both the Carolinas and True South were already GUs. These will now be called Conference Championships. If you have more specific questions, it is best to contact the FRU VP for your competition (men, women, collegiate, or 7s – we have one for each). It will also mean more to win Florida, as part of the championship structure we have added in a small amount to cover a prize for the winner.
How are the by-laws different?
Executive Committee is now the Board of Directors, and we have a few less (Article IV)
We tried to use the USAR template as best as possible, but added in some of our own items where appropriate. At the last FRU LAU meeting, we added in a 7s director. This had us with an Executive Committee of 9 people. That’s a lot of people. We used to have the president of FYRU as a board member, and we removed that. We also are going to have a single collegiate director instead of 2 directors. We made this change so we would have 7 elected officers (uneven numbers prevent ties on voting). The colleges will still have two separate people that organize their competitions, or dedicated chairs for their competitions. We adopted a structure similar to that of the other GUs with 7 directors.
Members are members, not the Board (Article III)
In the past the structure was set up such that the member clubs, who each got one vote, had a person on the Board along with the Executive Committee. We just revised this to say that we have members, and each full member gets a vote on Union matters that are subject to voting.
Budgeting (Article VI)
For those of you that have been to a meeting, you know one of the worst parts of the meeting is the budget. In fact, most years, the budget does not change very much, and we argue over line items that aren’t really a lot of money. But the main reason we argue is that we don’t want our dues to change. When we adopt the budget for the first time, all of the members will vote on the budget and the dues amount (which, as stated above, is very close to what clubs are paying now). In the future, if the dues are not going to change, the Board will present the budget at the annual meeting that they have agreed upon. But we won’t go through line items and voting on the budget unless there will be a change (more than 10%) in dues. The membership can let the board know if they don’t like items in the budget, and the board can make changes as they then need to. However, we thought that the member clubs could vote in a competent Board, the board could set the budget, and the clubs would need to vote if their dues are changing, but would not need membership to vote yearly on the budget unless dues are going to change. There are other GUs that work this way, and their meetings are a lot more productive than ours. We are also asking that the Board negotiate the contract with the FRRA referees prior to the Annual Meeting, instead of going over this during the meeting. This year’s negotiations with the FRRA essentially had clubs paying a similar amount to last year to the refs based upon the number of games they really played last year (not estimates like the year prior, when some divisions paid for fewer games than they played). The main difference is that we are now paying per league game instead of for all games for ref development and travel. Do you think the $10 increase per club was worth talking for about an hour? Neither do we. The Board will do their best to negotiate the best contract possible with the FRRA.
Why do we need new elections?
We are essentially forming a new Union. If you are happy with executive committee now, just vote them back in.
Can I review the by-laws and budget before the meeting?
YES! Please do. There may be minor changes based upon feedback after the USAR review, at which point we will update this page and highlight changes to the version online. Here is the full version of the FRU Bylaws July 21 2013 and Florida GU budget (in revision) as approved at the 21 July 2013 meeting.
This page was put together by Kerri O’Malley, FRU LAU Secretary, to explain the GU process. The answers above are her opinions on the process and changes. If you have more questions, please contact Kerri (me). As I receive questions, I will reply and post the answers up here. Chances are that if you want to know something, so does someone else. Please give me a day or two to get back to you, I only check the GU email every few days and also may need to contact USAR or the other current officers for clarifications.