Referee Allocations Priority Policy

The allocation policy is simple in concept:

We rank all of the competitions with a score from 0-9. Competitions with a lower rank are assigned first, so we assign all level 2 games before assigning any level 3 games etc..

The rank is derived from USA Rugby’s national standard ranking system and is based on the complexity [to referee] and the relative strategic importance of a particular competition. So for example a men's D2 game has a lower rank than a Boy's D2 game, and thus would get priority assignment on referees. Each of our referees also has a rank, and we put the highest ranked referee on the toughest available game. There's a table below which shows the competition levels for each of the leagues that PNRRS assigns to, if you'd care to see it.

There are three frequent situations where our standard gets broken:

1. Distance. If we would need to move a referee more than 100 miles to cover a game, then we generally don't make the assignment, and try to fill it with a more local ref. If none are available locally, the game may fall further down our priority list.

2. If the available referee is not properly qualified for that match (i.e. if there's more than 2 grades between the ref and the game), then we try not to make the assignment with safety in mind. This is managed on a case by case and exceptions basis. We all know that not every game in a competition is equal in terms of intensity and equally we all get that a novice ref shouldn't be sent out to ref the Seawolves. We can mitigate this a little with newer refs of particular talent, or by sending one of our experienced referee coaches to help manage the game, but we try and stay away from this mismatch. The potential for it to go wrong if a ref isn't up to the game is pretty high.

3. There are some clashes or preferences between clubs and referees. Examples; if a referee is an active Saracens club member, then they cannot referee Saracens matches: Some referees have a strong preference for particular types of games (e.g. some of our female refs strongly prefer to officiate female games): Some referees have a bad history with a particular club and will not referee that club any more.

We estimate that these exception affect about 10% of the matches we allocate.

Whether PNRRS sends a single referee or a team of 3 (referee + 2x assistant referees has two factors:

1. If a league has asked us for ARs.

2. Whether we have referees available to fulfil the request.

As of November 2019 the only leagues that have requested ARs as a matter of course are BCRU Men's Premier and BCRU Women's Premier. PNRRS often sends ARs to BCRU Men's D1 and CWU Men's first team games. For ORSU's WPL games we send ARs only, the main ref is assigned by USA Rugby.

Every other competition is assigned a center referee only, 'though we do occasionally send ARs to games as a development / training exercise. In this case the clubs are not charged for the AR.

If ARs are needed for playoff fixtures or due to a disciplinary issue at the club (either due to PNRRS policy or by league / union request), they should be specifically requested in writing to PNRRS.

The second portion of this is availability - generally speaking we are short on active referees. About 20% below our minimum and perhaps 50% below where we'd like to be for a healthy referee society. This means that when we get into the busiest part of the year (Feb-April) there are often several games per week that we cannot find a center referee for. So sometimes, we just don't have anyone available to send to be an AR as we are struggling to find enough center referees to allow the game to take place.

Current competition levels:

Competition nameLevel
Major League Rugby (MLR) 1
BCRU Men's Premier League 2
BCRU Men's Premier Reserve 3
ACR1 Sevens Qualifier 4
BCRU Women's Premier League 4
College Men D1A (PNRRS) 4
PNRRS Womens Premier League 4
Central Varsity Programs 5
PNRFU Men's Division 2 5
PNRFU Sevens Series 5
Rugby Wa Girls National Champs 5
BCRU Women's Division 2 6
NCRC 7s BSU leg 6
NCRC 7s Finals leg 6
NCRC 7s OSU leg 6
NCRC 7s UofI leg 6
NCRC 7s WWU leg 6
NCRC Friendly 6
NCRC Palouse 7s 6
Pacific Northwest Inbound Tour Game 6
Pacific Northwest Social Tournament 6
PNRFU Men's Division 3 North 6
PNRFU Men's Division 3 South 6
Rugby Wa Boys Varsity D1 6
Rugby Washington Sevens Series 6
CCWRC 15s League 7
CCWRC 7s Tournament 7
PN0RU (Old Boys) 7
PNRFU Non-League/Friendly 7
PNRFU Women's Division 2 7
Rocky Mountain Collegiate Rugby Conference 7
Rugby Wa Boys JV D1 7
Rugby Wa Boys Varsity D2 7
Rugby Wa Girls Varsity 8
Rugby WA U14 Boys 8