In an effort to better serve its members the USA Rugby Board of Directors, in conjunction with Territorial Union representatives, has named four Geographical Unions (GUs) as part of a pilot program to review a new streamlined union structure. GUs are designed to support anticipated growth in the game and to provide increased member services at the local level.
The Northeast Rugby Union (NRU) split into two GUs: New England RFU (a former LAU) and Northeast (formerly Met New York and New York State LAUs). Texas, a former LAU within the West Territorial Union, is now a standalone GU. Southern California, a former TU, is the fourth pilot GU.
Geographical Unions are defined based on a combination of club density in an area and natural geographical boundaries. A GU may be a single state, multiple states, or parts of a large state.
The template for a GU's organizational structure, financial models and bylaws were developed over a two year period by a committee commissioned by USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations, Nigel Melville, to research the best and highest performing models from existing LAUs and TUs, other rugby-playing nations, and other national governing bodies (NGBs).
One predominant feature of GUs is a full-time USA Rugby administrator who will live in the GU and partner with local rugby organizations to help facilitate and implement USA Rugby programs at the local level while supporting growth. Pilot GUs will start with part time administrators and transition to full-time over a two to four year period.
The TU/LAU Review Committee is made up of members from around the country including: John Coppinger (Pacific); George Durocher (Mid-Atlantic); Martin Gardner (South); Jeremiah Johnson (Midwest); Danita Knox (South/Committee Chair); Bill Middleton (USAR Board of Directors); Joe Olzaki (New England); Bill Sexton (West); and Steve Vent (Southern California).