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Priority Changes Afoot at USA Rugby

Tuesday Sep 22, 2009 in Off the Field USA Rugby

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USA Rugby will likely undergo some significant organizational changes within the national office in the coming year, following certain decisions coming out of the recent Board of Directors and Congress meetings.

According to USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville, management of the game in the USA will be divided into five areas:

High Performance
College and High School
Governance, Finance and International Relations
Events, Marketing and Communications
Game Development

Key among these may well be the College/High School area, where Melville said USA Rugby will be hiring or assigning staff to assist.

Melville said this plan wasn’t a response to the proposed American Collegiate Rugby Association, which a large number of disgruntled collegiate coaches have proposed. The Association, still in the discussion stages and first reported on in Gainline.us, is an offshoot of college coaches’ desire to increase their say in the college game.

Coaches have been angry for some time of the failed start of the “College Commitment” touted back in 2005. They had expected USA Rugby to assist in legitimizing the game on campus. It didn’t happen.

“It’s a very important part of the game,” said Melville. “College is a focus for us. And that came out of the Congress and Board meetings. We need to be supportive of college rugby.”

Meanwhile Melville, who said he will be involved in college initiatives because he is interested, will concentrate on developing High Performance.

“It’s very expensive,” said Melville. “But it’s important to have it. We’re going to look at the IRB support and what is right for us.”

National teams, then, will be more separate from USA Rugby in terms of their commercial deals and their funding.

Meanwhile the college game may well get its first full-time advocate and employee.

- Alex Goff

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