USA Rugby Policies

Effective August 9, 2023


USA Rugby shall expect and require that all persons associated with USA Rugby to conduct USA Rugby business with integrity and to maintain the highest standard of personal conduct in the affairs of USA Rugby.

  1. Purpose

This policy constitutes the Code of Conduct (Code) of USA Rugby. This Code of Conduct is intended to protect the safety and well-being of individuals who associate with USA Rugby, and to ensure that all individuals who associate with USA Rugby conduct themselves with integrity, maintain a high standard of ethical conduct, and promote the Olympic & Paralympic values, spirit, and ideals.

2. Applicability of Policy

This Policy applies to all USA Rugby members, board members, officers, directors, committee members, task force members, employees, coaches, independent contractors, officials, and volunteers, and anyone participating in USA Rugby events and activities (collectively, “Affiliated Individuals”). All such Affiliated Individuals should become familiar with the rules and standards of this Code.

3. Legal Compliance

USA Rugby requires that Affiliated Individuals follow the Code of Conduct and abide by all applicable USA Rugby policies and procedures; United States federal, state and local law as applicable, including the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act; and foreign law as applicable. If an Affiliated Individual should ever encounter a conflict of law, such as a conflict between United States and foreign law or have any questions about the legality of any action, contact the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (contact information below) for further information and guidance.

3. The Code of Conduct

All Affiliated Individuals must:

  • Adhere to the anti-doping rules and policies of the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, USOPC, World Anti-Doping Agency, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and World Rugby, as applicable.
  • Adhere to the rules and policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, including, but not limited to, the SafeSport Code and the USA Rugby athlete safety policy.
  • Comply with the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions, and commit to promote sport free from manipulation, corrupt conduct, or using or disclosing inside information for any purpose.
  • In competition, compete to the best of his or her ability while being safe and sportsperson like.
  • Respect and comply with the laws of the state and/or country in which I am training, traveling, or competing, including, but not limited to, laws governing the possession and use of drugs and alcohol, and providing of drugs to any person and of alcohol to minors.
  • Be responsible for his or her own behavior and for reading, understanding, and abiding by all applicable policies, including those of USA Rugby, as well as the competitions and events in which he or she participates.
  • Respect and abide by all other rules, policies, and procedures of USA Rugby, and of the facilities and accommodations in which he or she trains and lives at and/or uses.
  • Never engage in discrimination of any kind on whatever grounds, be it race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, national origin, or other status.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship by showing respect toward teammates, coaches, competitors, officials, and audience members at all events and competitions.
  • Refrain from foul language, violence, and behavior that could reasonably be deemed dishonest, offensive, intentionally malicious, or illegal.
  • Respect the property of others and not vandalize, damage, or steal any such property.
  • Agree to refrain from authorizing the use of photographs, films, or videos of a member in USA Rugby apparel or equipment or the use of the USA Rugby logo for the purpose of trade, without the prior written consent of USA Rugby.
  • Understand that any act, conduct, or personal appearance, even if not expressly enumerated above, that violates the spirit and intent of this Code of Conduct, or brings disrespect or dishonor to myself, my fellow athletes, USA Rugby, or the United States, is a Code violation.
  • Understand that, if under the age of 18, his or her parents or legal guardians may be notified of all written reports of counseling or misconduct.
  • Understand that any dispute or action arising from this Code of Conduct will be resolved through USA Rugby’s Grievance Procedures.

Specifically, all Board/Committee Members and USA Rugby staff must:
  • Function primarily on behalf of USA Rugby and not on behalf of any one constituency or group.
  • Respect confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature.
  • Maintain a thorough knowledge of USA Rugby governance documents, policies and procedures.
  • Be independent and impartial and not influenced by self-interest, outside pressure, expectation of reward or fear of criticism.

Specifically, coaches, and those functioning as coaches, must:
  • Treat all athletes with respect at all times.
  • Be aware of the health and safety of all athletes at all times in regard to our sport. If the conditions are unsafe, follow best practices and not allow the health and safety of the athletes to be compromised.
  • Recognize the signs of injury, physical and psychological stress in themselves and in athletes, take these indicators seriously, and refer or seek out appropriate and qualified support.
  • Be prepared with an executable emergency plan for their primary use facilities that has been shared and practiced.
  • Assist the athlete in forming goals and expectations that are realistic and practical with consideration of the age, resources and experience of the athlete.
  • Consistently give the athletes the opportunity to develop their sport and non-sport skills translating into other facets of their lives (e.g. time management, goal setting) at a minimum of once per season.
Specifically, officials must:
  • Maintain a current and thorough knowledge of the rules and officiating procedures of our sport and officiating procedures.
  • Conduct themselves impartially, professionally and in good faith.
  • Assist with the development of lesser-experienced officials as needed.
  • Take ownership of actions and decisions made while officiating.

Specifically, parents, fans, and spectators must:
  • Encourage athletes to compete within the rules and to resolve conflicts positively.
  • Never ridicule a participant for making a mistake during a competition, practice or training session.
  • Respect the decisions of officials and encourage participants’ continued effort.
  • Respect and show appreciation to all competitors, officials, and volunteers.

5. Reporting Obligations

No code of conduct can address every situation, nor can it take the place of good judgment and integrity. USA Rugby maintains an “open door” for anyone who has questions or concerns. USA Rugby will support all efforts to comply with this Code of Conduct.

If Affiliated Individuals need advice or assistance concerning the application of any aspect of these standards, consult your supervisor or manager, or USA Rugby’s COO, or the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (contact information listed below). Affiliated Individuals are expected to seek advice and clarification promptly when they are uncertain about proper actions or practices. Affiliated Individuals should be alert and sensitive to situations that could result in unethical, illegal, or improper actions. Affiliated Individuals have an obligation to report potential or actual violations of this Code of Conduct to the Chief Operating Officer (“COO”), and/or the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

USA Rugby has zero tolerance for retaliatory conduct by any Affiliated Individual against any person who comes forward with a good faith complaint or issue. Retaliation for reporting in good faith an alleged violation of this Code of Conduct will itself constitute a violation of this Code of Conduct.

For more information about the definition of retaliation and USA Rugby’s zero tolerance approach to retaliation, please see the USA Rugby’s Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Policy.

6.Investigation of Potential Violations

USA Rugby takes its obligation to investigate potential violations of the Code seriously. All properly filed complaints regarding the violation of the Code will be investigated and resolved in accordance with the USA Rugby Grievance Procedure as published and available on USA Rugby’s website.

In no event shall USA Rugby deny or threaten to deny an athlete, coach, official, or administrator the opportunity to participate in protected or amateur athletic competition without fair notice and an opportunity to a hearing in accordance with the requirements of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, the USOPC Bylaws and the USA Rugby Grievance Procedures.

6. Resources and Contact Information

Affiliated Individuals may contact USA Rugby’s COO and/or the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee with questions or complaints.

USA Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer:

Jonathan Atkeison | EMAIL:

Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee:

Denis Shanagher | EMAIL:

Athlete members also may contact the athlete representative(s) to the Board of Directors as well as USA Rugby’s USOPC Athlete Advisory Council Representatives:

Victoria Folayan | EMAIL:

Brett Thompson | EMAIL:

Specific to the Olympic and Paralympic Movement:

Team USA athletes may contact the Athlete Ombuds for independent and confidential advice on a variety of sport related matters, including their rights, applicable rules, policies or processes, and questions related to resolving disputes and grievances. The Athlete Ombuds can also help Team USA athletes connect with legal counsel or mental health resources if needed. All other NGB athletes (i.e., athletes competing domestically at the masters or youth level, recreational athletes, foreign athletes), are welcome to visit the Athlete Ombuds website to review informational resources and should work directly with their NGB to understand additional resources and options available to them.

Individuals who wish to report concerns related to this Code of Conduct as it relates to involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement may also submit a report using the USOPC Integrity Portal. The Integrity Portal allows individuals to submit concerns to the USOPC confidentially and/or anonymously. Reports may be made online or by telephone.

HOTLINE: 877-404-9935


USA Rugby is committed to sustaining an ethical organization free of conflicts of interest and perceived conflicts of interest. Each Affiliated Individual (as defined below) has the responsibility to administer the affairs of USA Rugby honestly and prudently, and to exercise their best care, skill, and judgment for the sole benefit of USA Rugby. Those people will exercise the utmost good faith in all transactions involved in their duties, and they will not use their positions with USA Rugby or knowledge gained therefrom for their personal benefit. The interests of the organization must be the first priority in all decisions and actions. USA Rugby requires that any of its Affiliated Individuals recognize, attempt to avoid activities or investments that involve, might appear to involve, or could result in, a potential conflict of interest.

The most recent Conflict of Interest Policy can be found in the Board of Directors Approved Policies.


No person should use for his/her personal gain or disclose outside USA Rugby any confidential information obtained through his/her association with USA Rugby. This includes spoken, written and computer generated data.

No person shall make any illegal or unethical payments from the assets or resources of USA Rugby or in a capacity representing or acting on behalf of USA Rugby.

All persons shall be responsible for preventing the loss, damage, misuse or theft of property, records, funds or other assets belonging to USA Rugby.

  1. Purpose

USA Rugby is committed to sustaining an ethical workplace free of conflicts of interest and perceived conflicts of interest. USA Rugby therefore has adopted this Gifts and Entertainment Policy to provide instruction to USA Rugby employees, board members, officers, committee members, task force members, hearing panel members, and volunteers regarding how to handle offers of gifts or other forms of entertainment from individuals or companies that do business with, or are interested in doing business with, USA Rugby. Additionally, it provides instruction on the NGB extending gifts to third parties. This policy should not be considered in any way as an encouragement to make, solicit or receive any type of gift or entertainment. Indeed, USA Rugby employees, board members, officers, committee members, task force members, hearing panel members, contractors and volunteers may not, under any circumstances, actively solicit any type of gift or entertainment. Further, USA Rugby will not under any circumstances permit or authorize participation in any business gifts or entertainment that might be considered lavish, inappropriate or illegal. The only permitted gifts or entertainment are those outlined in this policy, and those gifts or entertainment must be properly disclosed.

2. Applicability of Policy

This Gifts and Entertainment Policy is applicable to all USA Rugby employees, board members, officers, committee members, task force members, hearing panel members, contractors, and volunteers, as well as their spouses and immediate family members (“Affiliated Individuals”).

3. Non-Gifts

The following items/scenarios do not constitute a reportable gift or entertainment under this policy: a) Any item or event which is available to the general public and the Affiliated Individual pays fair market value for; b) Promotional items that are provided to all employees, all attendees at an event or items of nominal value (less than $50.00 retail value); c) A gift or invitation extended by a relative or provided by an individual on the basis of personal friendship; individuals subject to this policy must be mindful of gifts and invitations based on friendship as opposed to gifts and invitations provided based on one’s role with USA Rugby; d) An item which may be publicly displayed or shared among USA Rugby employees, such as flowers or cookies; or e) Food and/or beverage provided as meal or refreshment at a business meeting or reception attended by an Affiliated Individual as part of their official responsibilities, provided such food and/or beverage is reasonable for the event.

4. Receiving Business Courtesies
a. Current and Prospective Business Partners

Affiliated Individuals may NOT accept gifts from individuals and companies that currently do or may or may not be seeking to engage in business with, or make donations to USA Rugby unless they comply with the below policy.

Affiliated Individuals may accept the following upon approval by the CEO (and if given to the CEO, approval by the Audit and Risk Committee):

  1. Invitations for the Affiliated Individual to attend sporting events with an individual/company representative
    1. Travel to and from such events may only be accepted to the extent approved in advance by USA Rugby’s Audit and Risk Committee.
  2. On an infrequent basis, invitations for a spouse or family member to join the Affiliated Individual at sporting events with an individual/company representative;
    1. Travel to and from such events for the spouse or family member may only be accepted to the extent approved in advance by USA Rugby’s Audit and Risk Committee.
  3. Invitations to attend fundraising events with an individual/company representative at no cost to the Affiliated Individual;
  4. Invitations to attend other social, educational, or entertainment events intended to enhance the business relationship
  5. Perishable or consumable gifts provided that the gift is reasonable and not unduly lavish, and
  6. Other gifts with a value of no more than $100 per Affiliated Individual, per year, per individual/company;
b. Limitations

Affiliated Individuals may accept gift certificates within the limits set forth in this policy, but may never accept cash or financial instruments, such as checks or stocks, in any amount from any source.

c. Disclosure and Approval

Affiliated Individuals must promptly disclose any and all gifts or invitations received in their capacity as an employee or representative of USA Rugby to the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). Where the gift or invitation is made to the CEO, the requisite disclosure must be made to the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (contact information below).

Prior to accepting invitations or gifts that include travel and/or overnight accommodations, written approval must be received from the CEO. In the case of the CEO’s request for approval, such approval must be received from the Audit and Risk Committee.

In the event that an Affiliated Individual receives a gift that exceeds the permissible limits but is concerned that returning the gift may appear discourteous or it is not reasonably possible to refuse the acceptance of the gift (e.g., an anonymous gift, a gift being delivered by a third-party courier to the Affiliated Individual’s office), the Affiliated Individual must provide the gift to USA Rugby by surrendering to the CEO. The receipt of these surrendered gifts will be logged by the CEO as USA Rugby property.

5. Extending Business Courtesies
a. Current or Prospective Business Partners

There may be times when an Affiliated Individual wishes to extend a gift or an invitation to attend a social event (e.g., reception, meal, sporting event, or theatrical event) to further or develop a business relationship.

In such instances, gifts may not exceed $100 in value per person, per year, without the prior written approval of the CEO and/or the Audit and Risk Committee. Invitations to events must be reasonable and appropriate. Topics of a business nature must be discussed at the event, and the Affiliated Individual must be present. The cost associated with such an event should not exceed $100 per person/company per year, except with regard to sporting events and fundraising functions, without the prior written approval of the CEO. Moreover, such business entertainment with respect to any particular individual must be infrequent, which, as a general rule, means not more than four (4) times per calendar year. Any business entertainment in excess of this standard must be approved in writing by the CEO.

All such gifting and business entertainment must comport with the code of conduct or code of ethics of the recipient’s organization.

USA Rugby employees or Board members may not give gift certificates cash or financial instruments, such as checks or stocks.

b. Government Employees

The giving of gifts to federal, state, and local government employees is governed by a complex set of rules that is typically agency-specific. Generally, the giving of gifts to government employees is very limited or prohibited. Before offering a gift to a government employee, of any value, you must receive the approval of the CEO in advance and in writing.

c. Disclosure And Approval

All gifts or invitations offered by an Affiliated Individual must be covered by the appropriate USA Rugby budget and must be approved in advance by the appropriate USA Rugby supervisor.

Any potential gifts or invitations extended that exceed the limits and/or parameters noted above must be disclosed to, and approved in advance and in writing by, the CEO before they may be offered.

6. Policy Violations

Violations of this policy may be reported to USA Rugby by the processes outlined in the USA Rugby Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Policy. Violations will be referred to CEO or Audit and Risk Committee and subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. If the violation pertains to the CEO such violation will go directly to the Audit and Risk Committee.

7. USA Rugby Point of Contact

If an Affiliated Individual is unsure of any of the requirements set forth in this policy or has questions regarding a specific situation related to gifts and entertainment, they should contact USA Rugby’s CEO and/or the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

USA Rugby’s Chief Executive Officer:

Ross Young | EMAIL:

Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee:

Denis Shanagher | EMAIL:


USA Rugby members and employees shall:

  1. Maintain high standards of moral and ethical conduct
  2. Abstain from the use of illegal drugs and from immoderate consumption of alcohol
  3. Not commit a criminal act while representing USA Rugby;
  4. Abide by the rules of all USA Rugby competitions.


This code will be provided at least annually to each staff member, coach, national teams player, officials and administrators. (Staff members will receive and acknowledge the statement of policy at the beginning of their employment). The code is not intended to supersede any other policy (ie. National Team Agreement or Bylaw on Member misconduct, etc.) but is to complement and strengthen the organization.


All situations involving a conflict of interest in a business relationship, or in outside activities, should be reported and/or approval obtained. A staff person will make full disclosure of the nature and extent of any actual or potential conflict of interest to the Chief Executive Officer, while a USA Rugby Member will make full disclosure to the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. They will determine the existence of the conflict and the appropriate action if needed.

Reporting a questionable situation does not imply a conflict of interest or impropriety, but affords the opportunity of review and obtaining the necessary approval, if appropriate.

Individuals in a position of conflict are precluded from participating in any further consideration of or action related to the conflict matter. The existence of the conflict will be reported in the minutes of a committee or Board Meeting or, in the case of a staff member, noted in their personnel file.

Violation of this conduct policy is grounds for dismissal as a Board Director, Committee member or Employee, and may result in suspension or termination of USA Rugby Membership.

A conflict of interest disclosure statement will be circulated to volunteer leaders and employees at least once a year.