View Full Version : How about refunds for cancelled sixth events?

May 25th, 2003, 02:56 PM
I have heartburn with the POLICY (not RULE) that no refund is given when a swimmerís sixth event is dropped by the championship committee. When this policy is invoked, the affected swimmers are essentially taxed through no fault of their own or the meet host. Iím not familiar with any other type of event where a person pays to participate, is denied participation and is not returned the entry fee even though the event occurs.

Is there a reasonable reason why this policy exists?

Matt S
May 25th, 2003, 04:16 PM

I appreciate your irritation with this, but we have already talked this one through several months ago. USMS and its subsidiary activities are a VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION! There is no "them"; we're in charge. There is no pot of money that is supporting anyone's lavish lifestyle. The meet entry fees cover the costs of the event. Nationals cost what Nationals cost. If we are charging too much, we need to lower the event fees for everyone because, I repeat, this is our organization; we charge ourselves what it costs to do our events; there are no leftover funds for people who feel they did not get their money's worth.

I really do understand why you think this is unfair. At the last SC Nationals, if you signed up for 6 events, you would pay $54 ($30 meet entry fee + $4 x 6 events), while someone swimming 5 events would pay $50. If they had invoked the 6th Event Rule (which they did not this last time, BTW), both of you would have swam the same 5 events. Is it a little unfair? Yeah, but do we really need to get excited over $4?! Again, we are a volunteer organization. How do you want our limited supply of voulunteers at Nationals to spend their time? Making sure the meet runs smoothly, and that people get to swim what they want to swim when they expect to swim it? Or would you prefer they spend the HOURS it would take to cut $4 checks to the people who lost their 6th event? Just consider the cost of mailing them out. Ignoring the value of the time of the volunteers, the out of pocket expenses (postage, stationary, check fee) would be in the range of 15% - 20% of the value of the refund. Put it another way, while you were in Tempe, you probably spent more than $4 on gatoraide and powerbars (or leaving the waiter/waitress a decent tip after eating out on night). C'mon already, move on.


May 25th, 2003, 04:50 PM
Alka Selzer and Pepsid AC do a decent job on heartburn :)

I was not on the committee when the policy was made, but think about what it would take to refund the money. As I recall there is a very high percentage of the swimmers who will enter six events, somewhere around 40%. If checks were had to be issued to all of the swimmers for the last championships that would be 750 checks to be issued and accounted for.

Just think of what you would have to get to send out a check. First you have to get a list of every swimmer who entered six events. You have to find the address for each of those swimmers. Then you have to cut a check to each swimmer and perform the accounting controls to be sure that everything agrees.

After you issue the checks you have to account for all of those checks, what do you do if someone does not cash it? What about those checks that come back because of a bad address?

It has been my experience that after the meet, the meet hosts just want to account for everything then shut the organization down - the faster the better. If we had to issue checks to all the swimmers, that would take at a mimimum two months after the end of the meet to account for everything and most likely would take six months.

Who would be doing this accounting. USMS has depended on the volunteers for the organizaiton of its meets. How much time would be needed to cut the checks then account for them? Are we going to get a volunteer to do that. To hand cut 700 checks would take a couple of days. To account for them will take even more time.

OK, the meet makes an extra $3000 on events where the swimmer cannot swim in that event. We tell every meet entriant that you can have a chance to swim the sixth event if the the meet does not run too long. In order to have that chance, you will have to pay $4.00. It is the swimmers choice if he/she wants to take that chance. Most of the time we have been able to have the sixth event - a few of times we have not been able to run the sixth event. You pay your money, you get your ticket, you take your chance.

If it is upsetting to a competitor about taking the chance to swim the sixth event - just enter five.


May 25th, 2003, 05:17 PM
Perhaps we should refund the entry fee for that 6th event MINUS the real-world cost of processing it and sending it out (postage, envelope, check, labor, administrative overhead etc). Unless I miss my guess, the total expense would exceed the $4.

I've never understood why we charge by the event. We should simply have one entry fee that covers all events. It would eliminate a number of unnecessary headaches (and heartburn).

Dominick Aielloeaver
May 25th, 2003, 11:03 PM
After seeing the enormity of the nationals. I conclude < given allthe volunteers and the refrees the info that went over the computer etc. some may have been subject to misplaced events. But given all that I dont think any was not satifyed, nationals. So given some of us lost a few bucks, I say it is a donation well desvered.;) :)

May 27th, 2003, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by emmett

I've never understood why we charge by the event. We should simply have one entry fee that covers all events. It would eliminate a number of unnecessary headaches (and heartburn).

I agree, Emmett! That's what we do for all our meets in Kentucky. We charge a flat fee, and that way when we're planning budgets for upcoming meets, we have a more definite estimate. Also, having the flat fee encourages more participation. Most people go ahead and swim the maximum events, to get more bang for their buck. And it's a lot easier to put together relays if you don't have to go around collecting 1/4 of the fee from each swimmer.


May 27th, 2003, 02:19 PM
We do the same in Arizona. Our meets cost $30 for all individual events, relays and the meet t-shirt. Since we went to flat fee pricing, the number of participants in meets has increased. The number of splashes has also increased. This is good for several reasons. First, more people are swimming more events. Second, there is more rest between events leading to better swims.

It also is a big help in planning. No extra t-shirts are ordered and you can get a pretty good budget estimate based on previous meets.