On Wednesday, October 2, seven of the eight teams hoping to start a West Coast elite club competition met in Glendale, Colo.
Earlier we reported that it was all eight, but Olympic Club's representative had to pull out at the last minute.
During that all-day meeting, USA Rugby club director Jim Snyder made a presentation where he reiterated what he had said earlier on RUGBYMag.com, to wit: All eight teams hoping to start a pan-Western league would be welcome to join the Elite Cup, possibly in a single conference.
Snyder said that the main conditions for USA Rugby were: promotion and relegation, with teams being promoted by doing well in DI. In addition, teams would have to abide by USA Rugby eligibility rules.
Snyder left the meeting after running into some opposition from representatives from Glendale Rugby and the City of Glendale, and from Belmont Shore.
The rest of the meeting served to hash out a plan for a privately run league, and as time went on a few teams started to harbor doubts - it seemed to be all a fait accompli, with the City of Glendale, led by Mike Dunafon and Pat Guthrie, running the show.
Some of those attending the meeting told RUGBYMag.com's Alex Goff that a press release would be sent from Glendale stating what had happened. According to sources, this press release was supposed to say that progress had been made toward forming a new league. However, the release went too far, implying that the all of the clubs had signed on (they hadn't), and that USA Rugby had provided sanction for the American Rugby Premiership (which could not have happened, because Snyder does not have the authority to do that).
The upshot is this: Some clubs are angry that the City of Glendale spoke for them when they had not formally agreed to anything. Other clubs are angry because, as they see it, league members are backing out. USA Rugby is angry because the release said they supported something they didn't support. And it could all fall apart.
We might see an American Rugby Premiership, but not with all eight teams, that seems assured. We might see an expanded West Conference of the Elite Cup, but with Glendale and Belmont Shore left out in the cold. We might see something completely different.
While this goes on elsewhere, too (French and English clubs saying they will break away from the Heineken Cup), this seems to be extremely common in the USA.
What is clear is that what was supposed to be a meeting of the minds and a chance for everyone to work together for the betterment of the game instead became a meeting of the egos and a chance for at least some to protect what's theirs. Words that end in "show" or begin with "cluster" come to mind.
We will continue to tell you what others are saying about this, but be warned, the whole thing seems to be one big, fat goat rodeo.