Many parents who signed their kids up for baseball or softball with the Midland Valley Recreation Association are upset that the MVRA is issuing $10 vouchers for future seasons, instead of full $75 or $50 refunds. The seasons may be canceled altogether due to the current pandemic. But the board members with MVRA say there is nothing they can do about the refunds.
The registration forms for MVRA baseball and softball declare there are ‘absolutely no refunds.’ But with no games played, many parents expressed anger and confusion as to why they could not receive a full refund. Some parents took to social media suspecting foul play with their registration money, but board members say that is not the case.
“I got it all here,” says MVRA treasurer Liz Toole, while holding an outline of the nonprofit league’s income and expenses. “I got the bag with all the receipts here,” she added.
“If they want to look, they are welcome to meet with me anytime and go over all my records,” said Toole. “I don’t care, I’ve sat here and cried over this stuff trying to make it right,” said a frustrated Toole.
According to Toole’s records the league started with a surplus of $1,875.50 from the previous year. Their registration fees for the upcoming seasons from parents totaled $16,145, with $7,940 from baseball and $8,205 from softball. They collected another $2,950 from sponsorship, bringing the total budget to $20,970.50 according to Toole.
“But I have spent $11,122.63 already from buying insurance, baseballs, softballs, a pitchers mound that we had to have, light bills, water bills,” says Toole.
The Dixie Youth Baseball mandated insurance policy and league fees total $2,439.70. South Carolina Dixie Youth state director Paul McCulloch tells WJBF they are giving leagues the choice to have the league fees refunded or defer them to next season. The MVRA has to pay a minimum rate to Dominion Energy and SCEG for the lights totaling $1,953.16 so far this season. The water bill totaled $247 and they have a trash pickup contract that costs $1,567.04.
Other expenses include office supplies, testing for umpires, pest control, cleaning supplies, and dirt for the fields.
That leaves a balance of $9,847.87.
Toole says that money will be applied to two bills for uniforms contracted to Carolina Screenprint in Aiken, South Carolina. “The boys uniforms are over $4,000, not counting the girls,” says Toole. She says the boys uniforms have already been printed and they have asked for the softball uniform order to be filled as well. The board says the uniforms will eventually be distributed to players whether they have a season to play or not.
“So we’re looking at now just a handful, maybe us, Belvedere, Greg Park, having a season, giving them (kids) something to do,” says Toole. The MVRA board scheduled a meeting for Wednesday evening to discuss their options. They also say they plan to hold a public meeting this week for parents.
Other leagues, such as Aiken and North Augusta receive government funding and issued full refunds for youth sports that were canceled due to the current pandemic.
Although it is registered as a nonprofit with the state, the MVRA does not have Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) status. Donations to the MVRA of cash, equipment or property are not tax deductible. This has scared off large companies that employ people in the area from donating or sponsoring the MVRA according to multiple sources.
Toole says the MVRA has been rejected for 501(c)(3) status in the past because she believes they applied incorrectly.
Toole also said the board wanted to apologize for derogatory remarks made about former MVRA board president Josh Chavis on the MVRA Facebook page. She says the post was not made by any current board members. Things got heated when the board posted they would only be issuing the $10 vouchers. She says they shut the page down when they realized former board members had administrator access to the page.