The USARL Board of Directors (BOD) is pleased to announce the ratification of the initial draft of the USA Rugby League Constitution that was adopted as the cornerstone for the unified future of Rugby League.
The constitution draft addressed all current league issues, yet has been developed to allow modification and additions to be added by a BOD as the USARL and Rugby League expands and grows in the United States. The foundation of the constitution (that will soon be released publicly) is to hold Rugby League as its focus, yet also be progressive and thus allow for the long terms future growth of the sport in an even changing and developing market.
The BOD has also implemented a “minimum standard of operations” that clubs must be able to meet in order to participate at the “Top Tier” level of competition. This standard includes commitment to travel as the Rugby League expands in geography, venue selection and facilities as well as basic club commitments such as websites and social media. The BOD agreed that the time has come to place “levels” of participation in order to accomplish the two most important goals of the USARL, to increase the standard of play and club operations, as well as ensuring an avenue is created to assist and develop new clubs and expansion regions. All members of the USARL embrace the basic concept of allowing all clubs to grow and prosper to their maximum potential, whilst ensuring a “no club excluded or left behind” attitude is embraced for developing teams and regions.
Due to the implementation of the new standards for Top Tier teams for the 2011 USARL Season, the decision was made to move the Pittsburgh and Fairfax teams to “developmental” clubs. Both teams had expressed the challenges they faced during 2010 that had led them to either forfeit of games or limited financial support to field their most competitive teams. Pittsburgh noted the travel and local venues as their biggest 2011 concerns, while the Fairfax Eagles also had the additional burden of competing on the same geographical market as the DC Slayers. Both Clubs with the support of the USARL have decided that their best option is to join the USARL as “Clubs under development” during 2011, giving themselves a year to find more suitable venues, financial revenue streams and sponsors along with developing their player rosters by attending a limited number of games and Rugby League events throughout the year.
The USARL will continue to offer all their resources in sponsor proposals, player development, coaching assistance and progress in officials to ensure the clubs are ready for entry in the 2012 competition. In essence the both the Pittsburgh Sledgehammers and the newly named Alexandria Storm will focus on all development aspects as a full member club but reduce their costs with limited travel and limited needs on venue rentals. (Note: The Fairfax Eagles will move to Alexandria in the Northern Virginia area to ensure less conflict and competition with the DC Slayers. The more developed Fairfax players have agreed to join the DC Slayers team and thus strengthen that team. The DC Slayers should become a formidable force in the 2011 USARL season).
There are also three (3) additional clubs that have been formed and are able to commit to the minimum operating needs.
- The “Turnpike Titans” will operate from the Northern New Jersey area just outside of Manhattan (NY)
- Oneida FC from Boston will operate under the watchful eye of the Boston 13s management team, yet as a separate club.
- The Rhode Island Rebellion (formerly NY Kodiaks) will operate from Providence Rhode Island.
This move allows for a better venue due to the limited access available in the Manhattan (NY) area. It also puts a forth club in the region along with the NH Warrior and both Boston clubs.
Having four clubs in the region has allowed for lowered travel costs and the ability for the two Boston teams to share some resources such as venues. These are two key factors in lowering overall operating costs, thus providing additional teams and playing numbers.
The official teams who will compete in the Inaugural USARL Championship as USARL Full member teams:
(commit to travel to any location and guarantee no forfeits)
- Philadelphia Fight
- Jacksonville Axemen
- New Haven Warriors
- Boston 13s * Oneida FC (Boston)
- Rhode Island Rebellion (Providence RI)
- DC Slayers *
- New Jersey Turnpike Titans (Rutgers)
The USARL has also been approached by, and will offer any available support for the following regions.
- Denver Wolverines (Colorado)
- Utah Avalanche (Utah)
- Seattle Force (Washington State)
- Orange County Outlaws (California)
- Dallas Rugby League (and other Texas areas)
These teams and regions are considered developmental areas that will be supported with as many resources as the USARL can provide. They will include support in sponsor proposal development, coaching and official development, league wide sponsorship deals, web-based and social media support as well as options to play a limited amount of games via tournament inclusion and potential regional representative side games. The USARL will support them with their efforts to develop both a regional competition that will be comprised of local area teams or the formation of a team from their area to compete in the USARL in future years.
The 2011 official USARL Schedule is due to be released by the end of February and it will start with the Inaugural Philadelphia 9’s on the May 28/29 weekend.