The membership of USA Rugby, through its elected officials in Congress, has made a strong statement to repel any shift or change to the Union’s leadership and/or structure. On July 29, by significant majority the newest nominee to the Board, Ms. Barbara O’Brien and the current RIM Chairman, Chad Keck were ratified to the USA Rugby Board of Directors.
- Congratulations to Ms. O’Brien, ratified as the first female at large Board member. There is a lot to be done for the equality of importance for Women’s rugby, where both genders must be spoken of equally and as often. She was a strong advocate for youth rugby when her son played.
- The Congress also ratified some small dues increase, which is a necessary move for the Union.
During this process, the Congress received personal letters and/or directed social media posts from people with the following pedigrees:
- Founders of the USARFU – 1975 (x2)
- RWC Coaches and Captains
- US Rugby Foundation Director
- Union/Conference heads
- Collegiate Coaches
- Major Benefactors to USAR
- Former Director of the USA Rugby Board
- Many other players, coaches, administrators
These letters all cited demand for change at the leadership level on the Board, and its structure.
It should be noted that each ratification was met with between 5 – 10 ‘nay’ votes for each candidate. These votes against ratification indicate Congress is beginning to tire of poor Board performance and is in fact making a statement, “perform or there will be change”. Before the meeting, there were numerous congress members not fully aware of the issues. I hope congress members will continue to engage and increase their understanding of the complex issues before the Union. Many of them continue from the February meeting.
Thank you to the Congress members who spoke up for change.
Thank you to each and every person who contacted me personally.
Thank you to the now thousands of people who vocally supported the changes Congress has come to see as vital and necessary. Your support will be welcome in future endeavors.
Thank you to those who don’t support me individually but support the changes USA Rugby requires.
We are grateful for the positive announcements from the Congress meeting, yet the issues still remain. The most important are:
- Financial accountability at the NGB level
- Financial performance at the RIM level (to include The Rugby Channel).
- Strict Adherence to Bylaw 5.1 regarding the ‘Formulation and Implementation of the Strategic Plan of the Organization’ as the Board’s primary responsibility.
A Comprehensive, well-vetted, aligned, and well communicated Strategic Plan of the Organization would eliminate 75% of the ‘problems’ that the membership contends with the NGB.
We all look forward to continuing our 100% support and love for USA Rugby, it’s national teams, and its programs. Best wishes to our new Board member, and thank-you to all who serve in these positions on the Board and Congress – working hard for what you believe best for rugby in the USA.
Other Articles I have written on this topic: