USA Rugby Chairman Writes Letter to Us (That’s Me & All of You!)

The National Governing Body’s newest headline? Chairman’s Statement. Perhaps a step towards even greater communication with all of us.

4-2-2006 – Chairman’s Statement
It is a great honor to serve as Chairman of USA Rugby at such a pivotal time in our organization’s history. It is also a great responsibility to ensure that our 65,000 registered members are benefiting from our organization and getting the most from their participation in this great sport.

With one small vote at the USA Rugby board meeting earlier this month, our union took one giant leap into the future. While some may worry that the reduction of the size of our board from 26 members to 9 will make the voices of our constituents less audible to the directors, it is designed to have just the opposite effect. ALL directors will be responsible and responsive to ALL constituents – not just to the particular constituency that elected them. Moreover, the existence of independent directors on our board should bring resources to the organization that will benefit the sport as a whole.

The International Rugby Board has invested substantially in our future and we are committed to being good stewards of that investment. The rest of the world wants our organization to succeed. I hope our constituents feel the same way and will become part of that success.

Our men’s national team will be hosting its first domestic matches in an expanded Churchill Cup this summer and will be playing in the qualifiers for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France. Our women’s national team participates in its fifth World Cup later this summer in Canada. With a more commercially friendly structure to USA Rugby, we hope to develop the resources necessary to place our national teams among the elite teams in international rugby. That is very much part of our new strategic plan.

However, the strategic plan adopted by the Board earlier this month is comprehensive, and addresses all levels of play from youth rugby, to the new North American 4 competition, to recreational men’s and women’s play. In a process set up by our consultants at ASMT, we have listened to your comments and have incorporated them into our strategic plan. Our national office is preparing operational plans to further the goals that we have set for the organization, with your input.

We also look forward to studying how USA Rugby can partner with and utilize administrative levels below it to further the interest of our sport. Your TU presidents themselves have encouraged a review of the roles and responsibilities of territorial and local area unions and how they interact with USA Rugby.

With the structural changes, with our strategic vision, and with a lot of work in the coming months, we hope to make sure that your involvement in the sport of rugby is all that you want it to be and that we will give you reason to take pride in what is your national union.

Bob Latham
Chairman, USA Rugby

Written well, in my opinion, for a positive PR piece. No absolute promises, but lots of positive, almost personalized messages to all of us, the 65,000 dues-paying members. I’ll leave it to the rugby media to rip apart and pick clean, but did you pick up the messages? We’re being responsible with your investment in the union. Our new board size will work better for you. We’re developing the resources to make our national teams elite. We listened to your input (twice said). And we want you to be proud.

What do you all think?

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One response to “USA Rugby Chairman Writes Letter to Us (That’s Me & All of You!)

  1. =-wes

    USA Rugby has been a bloated, overstuffed gorilla for quite a while now. While I think this re-structuring is a good idea, that is way way overdue, I keep hoping that an alternative to USAR will emerge. Don’t get me started on the idiocy of USAR’s role in the demise of MLR.

    My biggest issue with USAR’s youth rugby program, is that it needs to involve parents more (much more) than it already does. When I started playing rugby my parents would occasionally come to games, but had no understanding of the game, so consequently I could get no feedback from my parents. Encouragement could only come as grand statements like, “you looked good out there son.” When I played a terrible game, and was looking for someone to take apart my performance… You may say that coaches are there for this.. but they are not (providing tactical guidance is not the job of the coach, he is to provide strategic guidance. What I needed, (and what may kids need) is for mom or dad, to be able to talk with me about my performance from an educated standpoint. LET ME BE HONEST HERE. Rugby WILL NOT succeed in the US without USAR teaching ADULTS the game of Rugby.

    Parents feel intimidated by things they do not understand… and rugby is a complex game with many many rules. Rugby is a game that MOST 30 to 40 year old (the ones with kids that could play rugby) did not grow up playing, and have a difficult time understanding.

    Now I am rambling, but I’ve been writing USAR (about this issue since 1995 and no one has EVER ONCE! responded to my letters (probably 7 or 8 total). VERY FRUSTRATING USAR! Very Frustrating…

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