Parents Navigating ‘Refund’ Terminology

By Jon Buzby | Posted 6/26/2020

The majority of spring youth sports leagues did not and might not take place.

Yes, there are a few organizations still trying their best to salvage the spring season with makeshift summer ones. USA Football is currently working with medical and football experts to work on a responsible return to play protocol.

The question is: Will parents get their money back?

The answer to whether or not they will be is going to vary. In some cases, organizations offered individual training challenges, zoom practice sessions and other creative ways to keep teams together and kids active. This might take place of a refund.

I’ve heard some are offering a full refund, most likely because the majority of their costs were not incurred before the season would have started. While others have flat out stated there will be no registration fees returned. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

Many of those not returning registration fees are instead offering “credits” for future programs. However, parents should take notice of the word “programs.”

Programs are not the same as registration fees. Therefore, most likely, parents thinking they won’t have to pay to play in the fall, are probably incorrect. So, when in doubt just ask.

Instead, programs might include summer camps, seasonal clinics and other “extras” that normally require fees. While some organizations might offer a small discount for fall registrations to “make up” for the lost spring season.

It was an unprecedented time we went through this past youth sports season, and we need to remember that organizations faced a situation they never had experienced before. I can guarantee you this – every organization going forward will have fine print in the registration paperwork that we will all sign saying, “We understand that should the season be canceled for any reason, registration fees will NOT be refunded.”

For now, each family has to deal with their individual situation in terms of how much they push for a refund if one is not initially given. But no matter the case, go into that decision realizing that any “credits” offered are probably not going to include the next season’s registration fees.  

Stay safe and healthy.

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.