The reality of "Pay to Play" model and the possibility of the "Play to Stay"
Do you ask questions of the organization board prior to signing up?
Do you ask for an itemized or otherwise specific guide for how the incoming monies will be spent?
Do you request information about the sports medicine and safety of your athletes?
Do you explore being on the board or participating as a volunteer ambassador?
You see - in a pay to play model for youth sports programs many parents ASSUME the sports organization knows best. However, most sports clubs operating in the United States do not have anyone on the board with a professional sports management skill set.
You see - in a pay to play model for youth sports many parents don't know which questions to ask thereby allowing the organization to run a league without efficient sports management structure and an accountability tool.
You see - in a pay to play model for youth sports most organizations don't identify sports medicine as a function of their event. Take football for instance. In well managed youth football organizations the incoming monies goes to helmets, jerseys and pants, padding, mouthguards, socks and cleats, coolers, field rentals and footballs. But what do they do for athlete safety? Most of them struggle to schedule and therefore rely on volunteers, spectators and supporters to come up with service costs or time on the sideline.
How much of the monies goes to sports medicine and safety for the youth athlete?
How much of the monies goes to safety and technology for the youth athlete?
How much of the monies goes to concussion baseline monitoring and AED acquisition?
Are kids playing time equal or does MORE MONEY equal more ATTENTION?
What lessons are being taught implementing this model of sport?
You see - it is so hard to identify the overall costs of these questions, to the organization and the student-athlete development, so we wanted to look at other ways to create a sports organization program. One model we came up with is the "Play to Stay" model.
Implementing a "Play to Stay" model
You see - no professional sports league runs an event without sports medicine, safety and technology being on-site. Why? Because it's mandatory.
You see - the "Play to Stay" model directly benefits both the sports organization and the student-athletes welfare. Here's how. The focus with the "Play to Stay" model is the student-athlete who maintains two responsibilities: Stay in School and Stay out of Trouble. The student-athletes maintain their focus on their extracurricular activities by participating on a team and being united in sport with their friends and family.
The sports organization creates partnerships and fundraising that contributes to their mission and the students within their program. Minimal standard dues from the families who can afford it and for those who can't putting together brand ambassador teams who contribute little at a time sharing the program, values and opportunity to as many people as possible. The "Play to Stay" model becomes the community voice for youth sports programming, development and oversight.
The sports organization delivers sponsorships and partnerships that allow them to afford the cost of running a genuine sports club including sports medicine and safety, including technology.
The sports organization opens doors for coaches and athletes alike to gain emotionally engaging experiences in safe coordinated environments.
The coach is able to support and lead every player from practice through to games.
The coach is able to keep kids safe by ensuring they will play when they stay in school and stay out of trouble.
The coach is able to deliver leadership in all aspects of sport: winning, losing and participating in a team family culture.
This blog was written by Brian Keene, Executive Director/Founder of TeamASSIST.org who holds a Bachelors of Science from NC State University in Sports Management, Parks, Recreation and Tourism, completed internships in the NBA/WNBA creating and implemented marketing brands on-site sponsorship activation and worked in the NFL as a Retail Manager.