What’s Wrong with Travel Ball?

So if you thought we were all done with organizations I hate to break it to you, but, we are only getting started.

15. Organizations – What it costs?

When we talk about what it costs for a team to join an organization there are as many costs as there are organizations. In our last discussion, we talked about the perceived benefits of joining an organization, and even though we didn’t say it in so many words the next question is: “Are you getting your moneys worth?”

For full disclosure, all of the following discussions about the fees and dues for the different organizations are based on what I was told by different coaches and parents with first hand knowledge. The only organization that I have direct knowledge about their fee structure is Atlanta Premier which charges team dues of $1000 per year. Whether you feel that is a lot, a little or just right will depend greatly on your personal experience with whatever organization, or organizations for some teams, you have dealt with.

There appear to be a couple different models for collecting fees due to an organization. The amount each organization charges is really driven by what their organization goals are and how they use that money to reach them. Several organizations have paid positions where some number of people are either making a living or at least supplementing their income by running or working for an organization. Many more use the fees collected from their “regular” teams to support their flagship teams. This support usually means paid coaches, paid expenses for some or all players and even paid expenses for players and their families. And others use their fees to pay for coach training programs, organization events like Christmas parties or banquets and tryout days.

So the places where the money gets spent is varied just like the ways in which the fees are paid.

Team fees paid as a lump sum to the organization is one method. Now most of the teams are passing that fee along to their players families. The team collects up the money and sends their payment in. Some teams will offer different types of fundraisers for their families to help offset the fees. While some fortunate teams are sponsored by someone and that sponsorship pays the organization fees. One way or another the money is collected up and the bill gets paid. As Stone Cold Steve Austin said, “that’s the botton line!”

Another very popular option is where each team member is required to pay monthly dues to the organization. Whether it’s $25 or $35 or $50 a month (and I’ve heard of higher) seems to depend on which organization you belong to. Now whether you sign up for auto-pay or send in a monthly payment make no mistake about it, someone sends in the money. And, some organizations require each team to have a minimum number of players who pay monthly dues so if you have a smaller roster you end up paying for players you don’t have on your roster.

And finally, some organizations are a hybrid of the two models. Each team pays a flat team fee and also pays a monthly or yearly fee per player. I remember an old saying about “they get you coming and going” but in this case it just seems to be another version of the same idea. It costs you a certain amount to be a member of an organization and there are several ways for those fees to get paid.

So whether you’re getting your moneys worth or not is tied to several variables. As we discussed in the last blog, are the perceived benefits real and how much value do you attach to them. If you are really receiving all the benefits of being in an organization then the cost is very much a “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” discussion. For the satisfied organization member then the fees are the cost of doing business and for the dissatisfied person they see it as a bad investment.

As I have mentioned several times already I do not begrudge anyone who does a job to get paid for their work. I would never ask anyone to provide a service or merchandise and lose money doing it. My real concern is tied much more to what is a fair amount to make for those efforts. And more importantly is the amount of money that many people who really cannot afford it are investing. Again, is it a good investment, that discussion will continue.

Now, why do so many teams jump from one organization to another, year after year? My guess is that we’ve already touched on several of the explanations but, don’t worry, much more to come on that one!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?