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concerned about where our reg fees are going

Aug 29, 2018
My dd is playing on her rec league 10u travel team this spring. They are considered a B team, she’s been on this team several seasons and the reg fees have never been this high before. Usually $400-500 range with at least 3-5 tournaments per season plus they’ve had 1 paid coach on their team the past 4 seasons. It also includes team jersey,practice jersey, bag, helmets, field fees etc.

This spring season which they’ve never done before, They charged us $700 for the season mid Jan through mid May to include only 1 tournament in April due to not wanting to conflict with the regular rec season which is a separate $350 charge. No uniform (will be a separate $240 charge) or paid coach and mostly donated community fields. So far only 1 indoor practice.

I noticed the president of the travel league is now on DDs pitching coaches schedule 2x per week (he has 2 dds on teams) and he told me he just loaded up on new gear for his dds. His 12u team is also playing more tournaments and has a paid coach. The other team has 2 paid coaches. Our team had 4 practice players too who don’t get to play in our 1 tournament but paid the reg fee.

I think our 10u team is financing the 12 and 14u teams, their coaches, and his 2 kids pitching lessons plus their gear. How would I figure out where our reg fee money is going? I’m feeling pretty ripped off right now.

Oct 11, 2010
Chicago, IL
Our rec. Leaque finances TB a little bit. A few players every year play for free too.

We are a non profit so books are open, I just need to ask and I can see them.

Maybe just ask to see the books, I do not think they can say no.
Apr 26, 2015
I would ask...if the org is any good they will be able to provide a spreadsheet showing where all your money is going.
I definitely understand where you are coming from. We played for an org where the HC always seemed to have new bats/gloves/etc for his DD and he honestly couldn't provide any record of where our dues went. When we changed orgs it was amazing...every month we got a breakdown of where our money goes and at the end of the season are given the option of rolling it over to the next year or receiving a refund check.
Feb 3, 2016
We pay $700 for Fall and Summer. 11 tournaments in the Summer. 4-5 in the Fall.
All uniforms and related Softball stuff on us.

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Jun 12, 2015
Our uniforms are covered in our fall dues. We pay around $1800 for the year, IIRC. Spring is around $750 of that, which I believe includes our winter workouts, plus our spring/summer tournaments (14 of them, from early March through early July).
Feb 26, 2018
The dues for my DD's 12U team is $1500 which includes uniform, bag, helmet, indoor winter practices/workouts, and all our tournaments.
Oct 2, 2011
I think our 10u team is financing the 12 and 14u teams, their coaches, and his 2 kids pitching lessons plus their gear. How would I figure out where our reg fee money is going? I’m feeling pretty ripped off right now.
You should 100% ask to see the team's finances or the organizations finances if the team does not keep their own account.
If you have to go to a board meeting, then you go to a board meeting. If you can get a few extra parents to go with you who are also concerned that would help.

If they hesitate to 'open the books' you can be pretty certain something is going on they don't want people to know about.

The model where younger teams help pay for older teams isn't that rare - but everyone should know that is the model the organization uses. Personally I would want no part of it. The justification is always something like "making sure our top teams are great attracts players" or "your kid will benefit when she is in XXU". This is of course total BS. Travel turnover is way too high to know you will be part of the org through even the next season - so why would you pay for something that is more than likely not going to happen.

As a lesson for you - ask for a high-level team budget for next season, how finances are handled and other details before paying so you know what your money is going to pay for.

Just for reference, our orgs finances are handled as follows:
- There is an organization account which is run by our treasurer who is also a board member
- Every team has their own account off the organizations account and a designated team finance person (not allowed to the coach or his spouse). Our org treasurer has full visual on these accounts so he has oversight to make sure nothing weird is happening
- Registration dues are all 100% team dues and live in the team account. So does individual fund raising.
- Corporate sponsorship goes 85% to team that procured it, 15% to org. Org share is used to produce banners, advertise sponsorship, etc - so the org in the end doesn't really end up with much more than petty cash on a sponsorship.
- Central account handles org expenses (city fees, shared equipment, sponsorships, advertising, tournament hosting costs, subsidized lessons, league wide casino night, etc) and revenue (tournament fees, concessions, merchandising, uniform and spirit order, casino night revenue, etc)

Team pay for all their costs out of their accounts. Often they are moving money to the org account to large org wide uniform or spiritwear orders, covering fees, etc - but things like team equipment, tournament fees, paying coaches, etc, etc are handled at the team level.

We run enough tournaments that the org is financially very stable - in fact most of our teams get a significant investment from the central org each season.
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Feb 21, 2017
This situation sounds shady. I can just provide my experience as head of local LL for a decade. Our spring teams we about $150 for 12-16 games which includes uniforms, paid for gear, umpires but had volunteer coaches.

Travel teams associated with the LL range from $250-$650 (using info from neighboring towns) but what is provided varies. Some were just one uniform, games fees, balls and maybe a bit of cage time. Some included extras like multiple uniforms, hoodies, bags, helmets and coach stipend.

Based on your information the $400-500 range for 3-5 tournaments sounds reasonable. For $700 I would expect full gear, 5-6 tournaments etc especially if the facility usage is free.

The question is your travel program a function of your recreation league? Is the recreation league associated with an organization (LL, Ripken, USA softball)? Is the recreation program considered a non-profit so do they have elected positions?

I ask because if they are associated with any of these national organizations or non-profits then there are very strict rules and you should have some rights to view the financial information. If not tied to any of this I would still question the financial situation and if you know anyone in the 12U or 14U teams I would find out what they paid and what was provided.

I can’t believe this crap still goes on...

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Mar 4, 2018
I guess I am on the other side of the fence than the rest of the people who responded. I do not run an organization, nor do I make any money of softball.

Did you not know what was going to be included when you paid for your daughter to be on this team? If not you should have asked before you paid. If you did not like what you are getting for your money, you should have found a different team or organization.

The team my daughter plays for was very up front with what you get for your money. For $2,400 you get 12 tournaments for the whole year, 2 practices per week indoors during the cold months, one 2 hour practice durning the week, and one 3 hour practice on the weekend. Two practices per week outdoors in the warm weather months, or you can move those practices inside when it is raining. 2 uniforms, bat bag, and cleats. If I did not like the deal I could have gone anywhere else. I guess I think parents that need to know where every dollar is going are just being a pain.

The organization that my daughter plays for has 16 teams. I am sure it is taking a ton of time to get all those teams setup for tournaments. The people doing all that work should be compensated.

With all that said, your fees seem on the high end for what you are getting.
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Jul 7, 2011
For a stand alone travel team you should expect 100% transparency in how YOUR money is being spent. You don't necessarily get to question every line item but it shouldn't be a secret. If you are part of some hybrid team that is part of a rec league it could be murkier. However, even then they should be able to break out what the "organizational fee" is for you.

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