Greetings Jr. Wolves Families,
The Executive Board wanted to reach out to our families with an update on our 2020 season. We’ve had an opportunity to meet with our governing bodies (IRCA & TCYFL) to gather information about requirements/changes/etc. that would be in place for the 2020 season. We’ve also been gathering information from our vendors, suppliers, and facilities about availability of goods and services. We’ve evaluated all information available and looked at from an “experience perspective”, and we feel that at this time, the Jr. Wolves will not be participating in the 2020 season for Flag, Tackle, and Cheerleading.
This is a decision that did not come easy for us. Our goal as a program, is to deliver a top-notch experience to our families and athletes each year. After careful consideration of what would be required by the program; along with athletes and families, we felt that the experience we’d be able to deliver to our families would be far less than the standard we’ve set for ourselves as a program. We understand that given the current global and state-wide situation that our sports would look very different from what we’re used to. However, we must also take into consideration the multitude of uncertainties that are still ahead of us, which could end up cancelling our season at a moment’s notice and potentially put our program in an undesirable financial situation that could impact the future viability of the Jr. Wolves organization.
In an effort to be transparent, here are some key determining factors that led us to our decision to cancel:
- Uncertainty of practice and field availability. It has been announced that students will be returning to the classrooms this year. However, access to practice and game facilities still remains uncertain. We’ve been unable to get an official answer from the schools as they’re still unsure of what the school year will look like. We also have a very limited choice in alternative practice locations that are not currently budgeted for.
- Uncertainty of season duration.The TCYFL clearly stated that the duration of the season is strictly dictated by health trends for COVID19.Meaning that if there is a change in trending directions of cases, etc. that could trigger an immediate shutdown of the season regardless of how many games (if any) took place, etc. This, in our eyes, is a very large financial risk to take with our families’ money, and subsequently the program’s money when refunds would not be available.
- Additional financial costs and responsibilities. Our program does have financial reserves available, however those funds are currently earmarked for future planned ongoing expenditures including mandatory equipment replacement, rent, insurance, etc. Our registration costs for 2020 were determined and put in place prior to COVID19 coming to the forefront of society. The additional requirements for sanitation, preparation, ongoing maintenance of facilities and equipment were not factored into registration fees and would need to be funded from either direct fundraising or capital reserves. We, as a program, try to look at least 2-3 years in advance for large expenditures and factor those into our yearly registration fees as well.
- Financial risks associated with cancellation and refunds. Should we progress forward with a season, we would have to immediately do so under the directive that there would be no refunds for our registered families should the season get cancelled at any points. Our organization is small, and our reserves are minimal, and we simply cannot afford to purchase all the necessary items for the season AND provide refunds to families. That is a long-term viability risk the program does not want to take with our finances, along with the finances of our families. The IRCA has not posted any clear information regarding refunds for any competition fees should they get cancelled. Therefore, we have to view this as a no refund approach and our program would be out those fees (several thousand dollars for each competition event). We want to ensure that there are future seasons for the Jr. Wolves program as a whole, not just this year.
- Additional operational requirements. Based on the requirements set forth by our governing bodies, there would be a need for additional staffing/volunteers to help facilitate daily/weekly tasks associated with sanitation, record keeping, etc. to ensure our athletes, coaches, and families are kept safe throughout the season.
- Uncertainty of uniform & equipment availability. From an equipment perspective, we’re very fortunate to have our equipment back from our vendors. Many programs still are waiting for equipment to ship back from suppliers. While being financially responsible, at the time we normally would have placed our jersey/uniforms, we held off on placing those orders because we did not have any clear direction if a season would or would not occur. Factoring in overseas lead times and shipping delays, we are not confident we’d be able to get uniforms in hand in any reasonable amount of time to be viable for usage.
- Mandatory rule/requirement changes for our programs. Given the current state-wide requirements for social interaction, along with additional program specific (cheer & football) requirements including strict limits on practice and game protocols the efforts required by all parties involved (program, coaches, athletes, and parents) the overall experience we’d be able to present to our families would be chaotic at best.
What do we do now? We’re shifting to a refund phase of the season, and please bear with us as this is relatively uncharted territory on handling refunds at a scale this large. As was mentioned in previous update communications regarding possible refunds, currently families have several options to choose from and each are explained below.
- Full refund – Because the program was holding off on making expenditures that are directly tied to registration fees, we are able to provide a full refund for any current registration fees. Any future pending payments (split payment options) will be cancelled in the system.
- 2021 Season Voucher – If your 2020 registration is currently paid in full, you can request that your 2020 registration fees be carried over to the 2021 season in the form of a voucher. This would lock you in for 2021 at the current 2020 rate. We do anticipate registration fees to increase somewhat for the 2021 season across all levels. If you have pending future payments, those can either be completed manually by logging into your Sports Engine account and completing those pending payments, or let the system automatically process the payments at the determined scheduled dates. Vouchers will not be issued for 2021 on partial payments. Vouchers will only be issued once 2020 registrations are paid in full. Vouchers are not transferable outside the immediate family.
- Scholarship Donation – If you’re not able to return to the program in 2021 (8th graders, etc.), you also have the option of designating your 2020 season fees (partial or paid in full) be directed to our general scholarship fund. Those funds would be utilized in future seasons to help fund an athlete or family that’s requesting scholarship assistance to participate.
To make your refund designation, we ask that you fill out the Refund Request Form linked HERE and designate in the Reason for Request field your choice of refund (FULL/VOUCHER/DONATION). Families must utilize the refund request form for tracking purposes. Most refunds can/will be returned directly to the credit/debit cards used to make the initial payment, but please note that due to limitations of the Sports Engine system, some refunds may come in the form of a check mailed back to the family. We ask that families please have patience as we process the requests.
Is that it? One thing the Jr. Wolves program prides itself on is our sense of family. Our athletes and families spend a lot of time together throughout the season at practices and games and folks look forward to spending that time together. We’re currently still evaluating the feasibility of having a Sideouts fundraiser event this fall (depending on state regulations, etc.) as an opportunity for our families to meet up and spend some time together in a relaxed social atmosphere. We’d still have some sort of silent auction type event (much smaller scale) to help raise general funds for the program. Again, we’re still looking at options for that as well as any possible other virtual events (should restrictions be put in place that limit in-person gatherings). Please keep an eye out on our social media platforms and direct email communications for any information.
Again, it’s with a heavy heart that we’ve had to deliver a decision such as this. We all want our kids out on the fields this year, but we feel that doing so with so many uncertainties would not make for a fun experience for everyone involved. We’re looking forward to the 2021 season and hoping that the global and local pandemic situation looks much different at that time. We’re also hoping that as our governing bodies progress through the 2020 season, they’re able to gather feedback and evaluate successes and failures and incorporate those into future “normal” seasons. We’ll be actively monitoring the IRCA and TCYFL throughout the year and taking notes.
Any questions, comments, or concerns should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time, patience, and understanding.
Jr. Wolves Executive Board