SCRRS’ position on “Black Market” matches

Posted by ncsmeda on December 21st, 2016

From the Desk of the President:

It is rather unfortunate that I must write this notice to the Society but in the effort of continual openness, transparency, expectations and understanding, I must provide the following guidance as some of you may not be aware of the Society’s position on Black Market matches. This notice is rather long but there is much that you should be made aware of that has recently transpired.

First of all, Black Market matches is a term widely used to describe matches that are not allocated and therefore not sanctioned by a local governing body or USARU. These may include touring side, friendlies, pre-season matches, and now matches that are outside of allocations of the USARU High Performance (HP) group. In the past, WE have done a very good job in a combined effort to reduce and almost eliminate these type of matches.  Most clubs and governing bodies understand the necessity of having matches sanctioned and allocated by the local referee society. The need to do so is fairly obvious. Much like all Societies, SCRRS provides the structure for allocations, not just for referees but for coaches, performance reviewers (PRs), etc. We manage allocations on many levels so we can be accountable to our clients and also to the referees. In addition, the Society provides an efficient and effective way of ensuring our commitments to our clients (ie SCRFU, GCCIR, USARU, SCYR, NYRO, WPL, PAC12, Southern Utah) have their needs fulfilled. We track and record all of our matches for billing purposes, training and development needs, our business needs (such as Cal State business licence requirements and establishing the legitimacy of the 501 (c)(3) non-profit). Our billing is established based not just on the referee match fees but also on delivering coaching, PRs, and administration of the Society. So understanding that the Society is a group of like-minded individuals focused on common goals goes without saying, but understanding why it is important to ensure everyone understands why Black Market matches are not in the best interest of rugby or the Society as a whole.

Recently, SCRRS became aware through validated rumors that an effort was being made by folks OUTSIDE of the Society to solicit referee services from within our ranks. Some referees have been contacted by D1-A College Rugby representative(s) without any approval from SCRRS. I don’t know any of the terms of these solicitations. Clearly this is extremely disrespectful to the Society and is an attempt to undermine the efforts you all are putting towards achieving your personal goals as developing referees. Since I have become your President, I have NEVER nor will I ever disrespect another Society with these type of actions nor should these type of actions be accepted by SCRRS. SCRRS condemns the efforts that are being made by D1-A to ‘hand-pick’ quality referees for their own benefit without an agreement with SCRRS for providing services. These actions by D1-A are nothing less than attempts to selfishly meet their internal obligations since USARR recently terminated their contract with HP referees for a plethora of reasons. I will be posting an email exchange between myself and D1-A shortly that may shed a little more light on this and if anyone wishes to discuss this, please contact me ASAP and I will explain in more detail what is/has transpiring(ed).

Obviously I am all about positive rugby experiences, but this underhanded action by a select rugby group is not to be tolerated or supported on any level. The D1-A actions also extend beyond our boundaries into other Societies and I have been in contact with a few of them. They are conducting business in a similar fashion as SCRRS – advising their referees they are NOT permitted to referee any Black Market match, and if a referee does referee a match that is not sanctioned, they may face disciplinary actions from their society. The actions of D1-A may end up putting some of you into a decision-making process whereby you evaluate the potential sanctioning and/or consequences. If you are in the situation where you may have been asked or have committed to supporting D1-A, please reach out to me and I will provide direction. I, in no way, am making any negative judgement on your decision but instead want you to understand the potential consequences. Everyone who knows me understands I have been extremely supportive of referees and their growth over the past 3+ years as well as approachable on obtaining goals. SCRRS does not want to have any discipline actions against any referee so if you start to question the actions of an external group, maybe you should ask yourself, “do they have my best interests in mind?”

The D1-A issue was created by D1-A from the termination of their contract with USARR. The D1-A Commissioner contacted me in early October to see if we would be able to provide services.  I agreed, and that was it from them. They made no effort to come to terms with SCRRS since they were working a ‘backdoor’  effort to circumvent SCRRS (and other societies) while dangling a carrot to which I spoke to several of you about when this was brought forward by D1-A. However, their actions speak louder than words and I will share much of their words with you shortly. In the end, they felt they could solicit and manage their own referee group which is an extremely biased situation and will put the referees in serious situations of failure from many levels.

In conclusion, SCRRS does not support Black Market matches and no SCRRS-affiliated referee is permitted to conduct any referee action for such matches. If you are one of the referees that feel has a better opportunity to go places and make more money with this select group, I encourage you to re-evaluate the situation and understand this is contrary to all principles within any Society established under the governance of USAR. USARR does not support these type of activities as set forth by the D1-A group either.  If a referee decides to referee a match that is not sanctioned by the Society, you may be sanctioned under ARTICLE III (d) of the SCRRS Bylaws as approved in November 2015. As I have stated, PLEASE reach out to me before you accept any assignments that are not allocated by SCRRS. There is a much greater picture here that most of you understand so I appreciate your continual support to reduce the abuse of referees that is still prevalent by only a select few. Moving forward, I know this is somewhat political in nature, so understanding your executive has EVERYONE’s best interest in mind when we make difficult decisions – they are made for the Society as a whole and for the sport of rugby which has supported our efforts for years. Building positive experiences into 2017 and beyond!

Respectfully

Phil

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