The Directors would like to provide our Downstate family with the final update, as promised, regarding our conclusion of the 2019-2020 volleyball season. As our previous email stated, we have decided to officially cancel this year’s season. With this message, we’d like to provide a little more insight as to the decisions we have come to and how we arrived at those decisions. We would also like to take this opportunity to share some additional information about our plans and suggestions for the future.

For the last month, the Directors have been working on various fronts to facilitate refunds while still keeping the club in a state prepared to operate for next season. We are in constant communication with entities such as the DAC’s landlord (where we have formally requested relief from lease payments) and insurance carriers, to negotiate abatements or lower rates. At this point in time, Downstate has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan but has not yet been approved. It is our hope to receive funds through this program, in order to offset some of the club’s financial burdens. That said, we did not want to prolong our commitment to all of you, any further. 

In an effort, to be transparent about the club and our current financial standing, Downstate will carry a great deal of debt into next season and has lost over $100,000 in revenue this fiscal year. As a non-profit organization, Downstate operates on an annual planned budget. Based on assets we have available today, we have laid out a plan which utilizes those assets to process refunds while still paying the minimum amount of bills required in order to keep our facilities in operation. Our actions are, and have always been, an effort to ensure Downstate makes it to and through tryouts and into next season. 

After careful assessment of our funds and available credit options, the Board is able to provide the following refunds/credits to the Downstate programs, Travel, Aspire, Volleystars and Volleybees as follows:

As of the guidance laid out in the NYS Governor’s phased plan for re-opening, Downstate hopes to be able to resume operations sometime in July. With that in mind, when we are able to open, we plan to offer volleyball skills camps, during the month of July, for $99 per person. These camps will be available to all 2019-2020 Downstate players, free of charge.

For the upcoming 2020-2021 season, Downstate will hold tryouts for all Aspire and Travel programs, free of charge, to all returning Downstate players. 

Additionally, the cancellation of several multi-day travel tournaments allows for us to refund the planned travel expenses to our 2019-2020 National team families, as follows:

16 Black & 17 Black National teams: $2,000 per athlete;

14 Black/Red, 15 Black/Red, 16 Red & 17 Red National teams: $1,000 per athlete; and,

13 Black team: $500 per athlete.

We understand that most of us have felt the impact of COVID-19 in many ways, including financially, and it is our hope that these refunds and credits offer some relief. Please understand, our priorities have always been the athletes that make Downstate what it is. We always strive to ensure we are creating a safe environment for the girls, while still being sensitive to this evolving and unprecedented situation.

The above referenced refunds can be handled, per player, in one of four(4) ways:

  1. A complete refund for the allotted amount per your age group and program outlined above;
  2. A credit towards next season. In this case, you will receive a code to be applied to your account upon next season’s first payment; 
  3. A tax-deductible donation to the Westchester COVID-19 Response Fund of the Westchester Community Foundation (a division of the New York Community Trust); or
  4. A donation to a scholarship fund to help those athletes whose families are unable to afford the expense of club volleyball.  To be used 100% for scholarships during the next club season.  Note that Downstate is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so these would be tax deductible contributions.

The overall outpouring of support we have received from our coaching staff and parents has been recognized and appreciated. Thank you for understanding and working with us; but mostly, for being the support system your daughters have needed. 

We encourage our more senior Downstate athletes to utilize this dead period as a time to think about their collegiate goals. If you are of recruiting age, continue to communicate or reach out to college coaches. All athletes interested in collegiate play should consider, if feasible, attending summer camps, run by colleges in areas less affected by COVID-19. If you are an athlete already communicating with prospective coaches, work to continue to build on your personal relationship with those coaches. This is an unsettling time for colleges as well; many programs are unsure of what is to come in the upcoming season.

Downstate recruiting coordinators, are continuing to communicate with college coaches, and are therefore, still available to field Downstate athletes’ calls and questions. Our hope is upon resuming operations in July, athletes will schedule times to meet with both Matt and Nora, to regroup, and reorganize thoughts and college goals moving forward. In the meantime, recruitable Downstate athletes can certainly edit and send film from this past season, to Matt and Nora, for their review. The use of our Hudl accounts is still available to Downstate National team athletes.

We are aware of communication from our competitor clubs, regarding their handling of this season’s abrupt ending. The Directors have been in communication with various club directors around the country and have noted differing factors leading to the way they have worked through this situation. Many clubs in other areas of the country, which own their own facilities, have offered credits towards next season as the only option of a refund. Some clubs in our area, rent their gym space for practices, and were therefore able to provide limited refunds relatively quickly. 

Downstate is responsible for the Downstate Athletic Center, and is therefore, faced with the varying challenges previously laid out. That said, we recognize the financial burden the club must take, to ensure we offer the best possible scenario to our athletes’ families. More specifically, we do not take for granted the difference, between NYC and its surrounding regions in which Downstate primarily operates, and areas elsewhere around the country, with respect to the virus’s effects. By no small margin, we have been hit the hardest. As a result of that fact, we have tried to give back as much as we can to attempt to make this right, while still working towards keeping our Downstate club in a state prepared to operate once safely and legally permissible. 

We have created a COVID-19 blog page on our website. You can find all communication regarding this season, related to the virus, by clicking the following link: Downstate VBC COVID-19 updates. 

Please continue to reference our website for dates and information regarding upcoming camps and next season. As Directors, we hope to be able to provide more positive information in our next communication to you. Should there be any questions, feel free to reach out via info@downstatevolleyball.com.

Again, thank you for your continued support. Stay safe and healthy and we look forward to seeing you all come this July!

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