The More Questions We Ask, The More Rabbit Holes We Go Down!

Lets look at the 2016-17 SRRBBL P&L, as it is a document that continues to provide copious amounts of questions, it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Here is the SRRBBL 2016-17 P&L, again:


One of the line items is the “(Equipment, Website, Supplies, Incidentals)”, in the amount of $9,000, and then the subset of “Incidentals includes balls, whistles, meeting expense, rentals, clip boards, score books, ice packs, needles, etc.”

First, how are “balls, whistles, clipboards and needles” listed as “Incidentals”, aren’t they “Equipment?”  One would think they are equipment…in the sport of basketball.  This whole line item is confusing, and it seems to point to manually created financials and poor record keeping.

Second, the amount of $9,000.  That number, at first review, seems acceptable…other than it is a perfectly round number, which is great…precise spending, to spend exactly $9,000 even!  But then again, all the numbers on the P&L are rounded to the nearest 50 or 100.   Again, one would think this points to manually created financials and poor record keeping.

Moving on, one could estimate and break out Equipment / Incidental costs in the following manner:

Picture4These costs are online costs and are not wholesale, you most likely can buy cheaper equipment at wholesale rates.

The amount of $10,454 seems good.  But then you have to assume that some of the equipment lasts more than one year, especially basketballs.  Even clipboards.  So maybe $10,454 is too high–maybe cut it down, to say $4,700, just as a guess, to account for used equipment.  Maybe the price of needles skyrockets, so the costs should be $6,000.  One quickly begins to realize that this is a pointless exercise.  At the end of the day, there are many ways one could calculate costs and guesstimate what was truly necessary, and there are too many variables.  Clearly not very team could be given new equipment, because that would be more than $9,000, based on conservative estimates.  But $9,000 and $10,454 are not too far off from each other.

Now, take all of that analysis and thought process that was just written about Equipment / Incidentals, and basically throw it out.  Why?  Save SRRBBL reached out to 15 SRRBBL Coaches this past week from the 2016-17 season, asking if they received balls, whistles, icepacks, etc.  (15 Coaches is a ~ 15% sample size, anything bigger than 10% carries weight.)  The responses tell an interesting story.  The answers from 13 of them was “No”.  That is 87% that said “No”.  The other two coaches did not respond.  Now, to be fair, four coaches did respond with the following:

“Anton did offer equipment one time, but never followed up on it. I heard if you went to him, he had equipment to give to you.  He never advertised that he had the equipment.”

“I think the last two years they had them available if you needed them, but most coaches have 2-3 boards lying around the garage.  About three years ago (and every year prior) they gave balls to everyone, but the ones they gave out three years ago were absolutely horribly quality (I think they were indoor/outdoor).  The had the same balls available the past two years, but I’m sure there were very few takers.”

“I did not get any of these items, but my understanding was you could go to their office at RBMS to get a clipboard and whistle.  Ice packs were not handed out.”

“Two years ago I had to beg for a ball!”

The really odd and disturbing thing mentioned by four of the SRRBBL Coaches was that there were no icepacks provided, and when kids needed them in games, PRCS had to provide the icepacks.  Is SRRBBL buying ice packs and providing them to PRCS?  That would be odd, and generous, but then again, nothing surprises us these days.  If we all want to go down this rabbit hole, we should begin asking about Concussion Training and Awareness–all other youth sports in Sterling / Lower Loudoun require and provide that training, SRRBBL does not require or provide this training of its Coaches.  And do not get us started on how some SRRBBL Coaches were not vetted via a proper background check.

Another very interesting tidbit that surfaced, by asking these questions, was regarding travel uniforms.  For those who do not know, it is advertised by SRRBBL, to the SRRBBL travel players, that the travel players receive a $20 stipend for uniforms–the players have to pay for the remaining cost of the uniforms that exceeds $20, and it is normally no less than $50, depending on what is purchased. Makes sense.  But what was really odd again is that two of the 15 coaches were travel coaches, and they both said they did not receive the $20 stipend.  This information came to us unsolicited by one of the travel coaches, then we asked the other travel coach, and he confirmed the same thing.  If we want to continue down this rabbit hole, it is unclear which travel teams did or did not get the $20 credit for all of their players, because some did.  Wouldn’t SRRBBL want to be consistent on this policy, and maintain sound financial and fair practices–why would one player in SRRBBL Travel be provided a stipend and one would not?

Back to this this category of Equipment / Incidentals, it raises more questions than it answers.  So was there equipment?  Was it new or was it old?  Why are things like “basketballs, clipboards and ice packs” called out specifically on a financial document, and yet most coaches never got any of that equipment?  Did the league really spend $9,000, and if so, where is all this “unused new” Equipment / Incidentals that none of the coaches used?  Was any of this equipment used in the summer league by the Horizon Institute, Commissioner Perkins’ own company?  It sounds like a gold mine waiting to be discovered.  One would think that a youth basketball league would not spend $9,000, or even $5,000, or any money, on Equipment / Incidentals, and then not use it, right?  When one considers that over the last two years SRRBBL has gone from customized team jerseys to prison-like pennies for $8.50 per penny–that’s before they are printed–not understanding where the $9,000 is being spent is imperative, because the print on the prison-like pennies disintegrates half way through the season. Lets go down this rabbit hole, bring some popcorn and ask how does the printing of the jerseys get done, how much does it cost and who does it?

Yes, this $9,000 includes “Website”, which is maybe ~$500 annually for website and registering software.  Go as high as $1,000, if that seems more acceptable.

Yes, this $9,000 includes “rentals”, but if we are being frank, at this point, we are scared to ask what the rentals are–we’ve run out of good explanations and rabbit holes.

Could there be legitimate expenses that make up this $9,000?  Absolutely!  We would not know, though, because we do not know the details behind the numbers…the $9,000 number…which is rounded to the nearest hundred…and because supposedly the $9,000 includes Incidentals (basketballs) which are actually Equipment….that most coaches never received.

So, this $9,000, again.  Now take a look at the “Equipment / Incidentals” line item again on the SRRBBL 2016-17 P&L.  What is “meeting expense”? What meetings, in a youth non-profit volunteer league, require money to be spent?  If you ask any youth sports volunteer, at any level, whether it be a Coach or Board Member, they are not spending any league money on “meetings”–AT ALL!  As Commissioner Anton Perkins told the Loudoun Times-Mirror, We are a complete volunteer organization trying to teach children how to play basketball and have good values in the process, and we appreciate all parents who cooperate and exhibit such attributes.”   Now one could argue maybe there are some extra special meetings that 100% pertain to SRRBBL business and require money, but then shouldn’t that be something that is disclosed to the SRRBBL Members , or at least the SRRBBL Board Members, all of three of them, on a regular basis, at the regular SRRBBL Board Meetings, and maybe footnoted in an actual and legitimate financial report?  Hold up, we found another rabbit hole to go down: we want to ask why SRRBBL Coaches, and SRRBBL Members for the last four years, did not know of any annual or regular SRRBBL Board Meetings, and why those same SRRBBL Coaches have never once heard of SRRBBL Elections in the past four years?  Now, we know why there has been no mention of SRRBBL Board Meetings since early June–that is because the SRRBBL Board, all three of them, voted themselves back in as SRBBL Board Members and changed the SRRBBL By-Laws, on June 2, 2017, to allow for this.

Lets continue with the “meeting expense” topic.  Yes, on June 2, 2017, under continued mounting pressure from the SRRBBL Community , and PRCS, the SRBBBL Board created revised SRRBBL By-Laws and posted them on the SRRBBL website.  The new SRRBBL By-Laws can be found here on the SRRBBL website.

One section was added to the SRRBBL By-Laws, that was never in there before:

C. Section “No Compensation for Directors.”

The title of this section is truly one of the best misdirects we have ever seen…well played, SRRBBL Board…well played! In this section it mentions that the SRRBBL Board members cannot be compensated (because that would make the league ineligible for gym space with PRCS), but they also mention, “but nothing herein shall be construed to preclude any Board Member from serving the League in any other capacity and receiving compensation. Moreover, the Board member may receive reasonable reimbursement for travel and other approved expenses upon request and written documentation.”

That is an interesting revision to the SRRBBL By-Laws, right?  This entire new section speaks volumes. The new SRRBBL By-Laws allow for SRRBBL Board Members to receive compensation as coaches or in other capacities, as well as reimbursement for “travel and other approved expenses”.  Why was that added to the SRRBBL By-Laws all of a sudden?  Is there some youth basketball leadership conference in Las Vegas every year, where washed-up NBA players sign autographs and a one hit wonder band from the 80s is promoting their newest already-failed album?   Again, this is a volunteer organization–why would SRRBBL be using registration fees to pay volunteers of the league, or allow for meetings that cost money, versus using the money to benefit the players in the league?

We continue to point out that the SRRBBL 2016-17 P&L and the revisions to the SRRBBL By-Laws raise more questions than they answer, and when we ask the questions, we begin to realize there are additional sets of questions that need to be asked…we continue to find ourselves going down multiple, never-ending rabbit holes in our laborious efforts to understand the financial and overall management of SRRBBL, or rather…lack there of!