It saddens everyone here at SportsSignup to read stories like this one, “A former youth baseball league president admits to stealing money from the Gladewater Youth Baseball Association… using the league’s credit card for his own personal use.” We’ve all come to expect a few less-than-scrupulous employees trying to make off with money that isn’t their own in the business world, but it’s extra hard to hear about a member of a youth sports league running off with the organization’s funds. It might be the parents’ money, but the league’s young players are getting ripped off too—it’s their team/season that is jeopardized and something that is supposed to be fun and a big source of joy in a child’s life, youth sports, is now marred by greed and scandal.
Youth sports embezzlement on any level, for any amount, is something that should never happen. While it might seem strange to think of a community sports league like a business, sports administrators need to be aware of how much money is coming in and out of their office and where those funds are getting sent to, just like any other business would. How can a sports organization better protect their funds? With better transparency. And, believe it or not, your online sports registration management system can help you do that.
1. Credit card payments create a lasting paper trail.
One of the nice things about being able to pay registration fees online with a credit card is that is creates a very lasting and very traceable paper trail. Unlike a check, which can get lost in the mail, filed away in the wrong folder, or discreetly deposited into another account, credit card registration revenue is collected immediately and electronically deposited into your league’s bank account each day. Your parents are emailed a receipt and your treasurer doesn’t have to keep track of hundreds of checks, meaning you don’t have to keep track of your treasurer. While we wish you could trust your league treasurer implicitly, stories like this aren’t as uncommon as you might think.
2. Receive account statements showing all activity each month.
Reconciling the books is always a pain but with an online registration system the books are managed for you. Each month you’ll receive an account statement that shows all activity, including funds deposited and withdrawn, each month. If something doesn’t look right (like a major withdrawal you don’t remember approving) you’ll see it right away.
3. Control who has access to your database.
Although many people shop online nowadays and happily input their credit card information during checkout, there is still the lingering concern about who actually sees that credit card information and what they might do with it. A secure registration system means your database is on lockdown and only those who you approve have access to it. While this may not stop a greedy employee from stealing funds, it immediately cuts down on the number of people who have the opportunity to do so. If something looks fishy you’ll be able to narrow down the suspects almost immediately.
A rouge employee caught embezzling funds from your sports organization can completely undermine your league. Parents don’t want to put their money (or their kids) into an organization that steals from them and some travel teams have even been shut down after the coach was caught stealing. Protect your league, your parents and your players and insist on transparency when it comes to managing your organization’s funds!