CHICAGO, IL – The Midwest Rugby Football Union/ Competitive Region administrates hundreds of senior clubs in sixteen (16) states from western New York to the Dakotas. With so many clubs in varying stages of re-opening, it’s difficult for the Union to make a broad determination regarding competition for its member clubs.
In July, the Midwest asked its members for thoughts regarding competition this fall and their obstacles with COVID-19. A majority of clubs stated that if permitted to train and compete by their state and/ or municipality, they plan to offer programming and schedule competitions. Several other clubs stated they would not be offering any programming or competition this fall. In addition to this feedback, some states and Local Area Unions have stated the suspension of competition for the remainder of 2020. Under these circumstances, it has been decided that league play will be postponed for the foreseeable future.
With that in mind, the Midwest sought out ways to offer its membership safe, alternative “competition” while conventional game play was unavailable. A plan involving the establishment of Local Area Union organized touch leagues was discussed, but ultimately not feasible. Therefore, for the fall 2020 season, the Midwest is allowing member clubs to offer programming and friendly competition if permitted by their locality.
Clubs should not be making determinations as to what USAR RTP Stage they believe they are in. LAU Compliance Officers/ Administrations should be interpreting local jurisdiction’s reopening guidelines and translating them to the USAR RTP Stages. LAUs should post what Stage their member clubs are operating on the Regional Stages tab at www.midwest.rugby/covid-19-rtp.
As of the publishing of this announcement, the State of Ohio’s reopening corresponds with USAR RTP Stage 5 and therefore intersquad competition is permitted between clubs in that state. The Midwest is pleased to work with the Ohio Rugby Union and their member clubs wishing to compete this fall in friendly matches.
Prior to participating in any competition, clubs must submit their COVID-19 Return to Play Safety Plan to their LAU Compliance Officer and have established a compliance monitoring structure. Clubs must also train for at least three (3) weeks prior to any competition and their compliance must be tracked weekly by the LAU. LAUs should report this information on their LAU tab at the website listed above. Clubs are to use this resource to ensure that any teams they are competing against are also compliant with USAR and Midwest RTP policies.
Clubs in USAR Stage 3 or 4 who are planning to hold training should register their players, coaches, admins, and club so that liability and accident insurance is in place for these events. A new, less expensive “Training Membership” is available for teams offering programming in these stages. Once a club is in USAR Stage 5, players should then “upgrade” their membership to a full Senior Player which permits competition. Clubs may then schedule friendly matches with clubs who are also in Stage 5 and are adhering to the Midwest’s and USAR RTP protocols. Again, please discuss your club’s stage with your LAU Compliance Officer prior to scheduling competition and do not make the determination yourself.
For clubs not in USAR Stage 3 or above or not planning to offer programming this fall, we still encourage your clubs, players, coaches, and admins to register as such so that you’re covered in the event you’re training or you’d like to take part in programming offered by LAUs, the Midwest, or USA Rugby; however registration is not mandatory.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Union by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.