Tuesday, December 20, 2016

PRO Rugby Terminates All Player Contracts

PRO Rugby has let all players know that they are exercising the Voluntary Termination clause in each of their contracts. This likely signals the end of PRO Rugby. In a letter to players PRO Rugby CEO Doug Schoninger blamed issues with U.S.A. Rugby has a reason for exercising the termination clause. The door was left open to resolving the issues but with the league not able to make much happen on the expansion and sponsorship front, as well as deteriorating relations with various groups it doesn't look likely. It looks like the end of PRO Rugby in the current form.

Despite having their Voluntary Termination clause exercised players are still employees of PRO Rugby through the end of the clause. Schoninger also notified players that payment that was due on December 15th will be paid later this week. He cited the ongoing issues with U.S.A. Rugby as the reason for the delay.

Take the jump to read the letter.

PRO Rugby Players, 
As some of you may or may not know, we have been having serious issues with the cooperation and the enforcement of our agreement with USA Rugby. We have been actively trying to resolve our issues with USA Rugby for over four months and, unfortunately, it appears that USA Rugby will not honor the commitments they made to us. 
Because of this, we are notifying all presently agreed players of PRO Rugby that we are exercising the Voluntary Termination clause in your contract (section 5(b)). We are hopeful, but with no assurances, that we will be able to resolve all issues with USA Rugby prior to end of the termination clause period. We will keep you up to date with any progress or news as it becomes available. 
Please remember, until the end of the termination clause you are still an employee of PRO Rugby and all duties and obligations should be adhered to. 
Because of the above, payment for the period ending on December 15th was delayed. These payments will be issued tomorrow, December 21st for receipt no later than December 22, 2016. 
I am very sorry that we were forced to take this action and we are trying to do everything we can to ensure that PRO Rugby, its players, coaches, and employees are all treated fairly. 
Doug Schoninger


  1. The American Rugby Juggernaut will not be stopped. That is all.

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  3. Sooner or later USA rugby needs to let the business people run pro rugby. Pro rugby is about entertainment that happens to be a sport, just like every other pro sport. Schoninger was the first business person to take the risk (MLR aside) and USA rugby screwed the pooch once again. Good luck Mr. Schoninger and thank you for at least trying. More than I can say for USA rugby.

  4. It appears that PRO Rugby wants a monopoly on professional Rugby in the US and USA Rugby will not enforce such a monopoly. PRO Rugby will need to compete with other businesses seeking to establish professional rugby in the US. USA Rugby is not interfering in this case. PRO Rugby is learning that they have no assets, unique capability or competitive advantage.

  5. Based on reports from Rugby Today it appears that Doug Schoninger is not paying bills or salaries to players and staff. It also appears he has tried to change contractual conditions and has not provided health care for employees - which is colossally irresponsible.

    If I were the players and coaches I would tell this guy that unless everyone is made whole, payment schedules are established and health care is provided then he can stuff it.

    This guy wants exclusivity while he is stiffing people in the process.

    Further reports (go to their Facebook page and sift through various comments) indicates he has had payment issues in the past leading one to ask how deeply the Melville administration looked into his background - because it would appear red flags were there.

    The next time someone not known in the rugby world or at least the sports world comes to USA Rugby with a pile of cash don't get blinded by the money. If it's too good to be true it probably is.

    At least next time around this can be used as a learning experience.

    1. If you have links to any of these allegations, please share them because if you are right then USA rugby really did screw up, but if they are false, then USA rugby really screwed up. Sooner or later USA rugby needs to be held accountable. Bottom line is that it is 2016, 21 years after the game became open and there is still no pro league, nor media presence, and only USA rugby can be blamed for that.