A Letter to all USA Rugby Congress Members. From Tony Ridnell 4

Earlier this week, I sent the following letter to as many members of the USA Rugby Congress as I could obtain email addresses. The next Congress meeting is this weekend in Austin, TX.

This is important stuff.  It effects every single person involved with rugby in America; including the kids, and their parents and up the age grade spectrum. It effects men, women, boys, girls, future players, rugby mom’s, and Eagles. As in any organization, the functionality of the Board is of vital importance.  It’s leadership/guidance relied upon in times of crisis. We’ve been in crisis for a long time.  The rugby community in America has tolerated mediocrity from this entity for far too long.  It is time for a change.  Everyone knows it. It is now the Congress responsibility and duty to make it happen.

To:  All members of the USA Rugby Congress

Your Congress meeting in Austin this weekend carries significant importance.  Most of you have seen my writings and thoughts regarding USA Rugby, RIM, The Rugby Channel, etc.… I am not trying to be confrontational or negative.  I have serious concerns on the viability of TRC, and RIM – and more importantly its financial effect on the ability of USAR to fund its programs, national teams, and other initiatives.

I urge you to scrutinize decisions that have been made in the past by our Board of Directors regarding these matters.  This also includes the sanctioning of ‘PRO’ Rugby.  There has now been a consistent showing of poor decision-making and leadership.

Here is the first responsibility of the Congress according to the Bylaws:

The role, powers, and duties of the Congress shall include:

  1. To receive and review periodic reports on the activities of the Corporation and actions taken by the Board and to report back to its constituent Members;

Here is the first responsibility of the Board of Directors according to the Bylaws:

Powers and responsibilities of the Board include, without limitation:

  1. To formulate (in consultation with management) and monitor the implementation of the strategic plan of the Corporation

As I have noted ad nauseum USA Rugby has not had a meaningful Strategic Plan, managed and executed for over 10 years. A picture show is not a “plan”.  This fact alone should create serious worries from our Congress about the ability of our Board to responsibly ‘direct’ this organization’.

Some of you have asked me, “Well Tony, what is your Strategic Plan?”  I state it here as succinctly as I can:

  • Coherent, progressive player development platform:   (Youth > High School > Academies > University/Age-Grade>National Teams)
  • Integrated, escalating competition with aligned incentives:   (Colleges > Clubs > Hubs > Pros > Eagles)
  • Financial resources to overcome our geographic distribution:      (Sponsorship & Resource Prioritization)

Some of you may not feel comfortable with the content of my writings.  It is complex.  There will be congress members attending the meeting that are well versed in these matters. They will make themselves known during the meeting.  Please speak with them and gain a further understanding of the criticality of these issues.  It is my assessment the entire future of USA Rugby and its finances are at stake.

Be courageous during this meeting.  Individually, and collectively the Congress has tremendous power, but you must act in force.  Review the individual and collective performances of the USAR Board of Directors. If you are not satisfied, join in with other Congress members for a Vote of No Confidence.

RIM, PRO Sanctioning, Financial failure, Event Management failure; It is your responsibility as a Congress to ensure understanding, and that the people responsible to execute our programs are capable and passionately committed to succeed.  The verdict must be a complete re-working of our Board and this entity called RIM.

An “Open Letter to Congress” (attached) has been circulated. I fully support its content.  In addition, I have received signatures and endorsements from the full spectrum of USA Rugby participants; from RWC Captains, Coaches, and Managers to those involved with Youth/Age Grade Rugby of the youngest ages who are also concerned with the future of our Union and game in this country.

I will personally be in Austin this weekend. If anyone would like to speak with me personally, my cel is xxx.xxx.xxxx.  Please text first to check availability.

See you in Austin!

Tony Ridnell

Other Articles I have written on this subject include:



  1. The biggest problem with USA rugby is the pool of players never change. The politics in USA crushes any players on the edge of the Eagles or getting anywhere close to the edge. Many players then leave for other countries/leave for other clubs or just stop playing. Players need opportunities to prove themselves and grow. Ireland just hit this problem Sexton got hurt before 6 nations …. they had no 10 that was ready to go. They limited paddy jacksons opportunities to perform at 10 to be ready to go when Sexton gets injured or can’t compete.

    The best nations give players the opportunity and chances to grow.

  2. Pingback: On USA Rugby, John Mitchell, RIM, The Rugby Channel, & the Board. « Tony Ridnell

  3. Pingback: USA Rugby Congress member Stephen Lewis – Calls it like it is « Tony Ridnell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s