Danville youth sports lack insurance, organizing entity

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

Several youth sports programs for Danville kids in elementary school are not actually run by the Danville Independent School District and do not have liability insurance coverage, Superintendent Tammy McDonald told Danville school board members this week.

“A lot of people in our community assume it is under Danville Schools,” McDonald said of the youth sports programs, including football, wrestling and cheerleading. “Technically, it is not sitting in any way under Danville Schools. There’s not any documentation that it is under Danville Schools.”

McDonald said the school district’s insurance agent is Johnson-Pohlmann; there is currently no coverage for a youth sports program available.

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“I have been talking with our agent to find out if that is available,” she said. “At this time, he has not been able to find an underwriter that will actually provide insurance for second through fifth grade. He is still working on that.”

“It’s scary to know that we haven’t had insurance,” said Danville High School football head coach Clay Clevenger, who also helps manage the youth football program. “I’ve just inherited a situation that’s really a ticking time bomb.”

Liability insurance could be available for about $800 a year if a non-profit entity was formed to run the youth sports programs, Clevenger said. 

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Danville football coach Clay Clevenger discusses youth sports funding with the school board Tuesday night.

McDonald explained that while such a non-profit could shop around for a small policy from different vendors, the school district is locked in to getting all of its insurance policies through the same company.

In researching the youth sports history, McDonald said she found that there was a limited liability company set up for the Danville Youth Football program when it was first pulled out of Danville-Boyle County Parks & Rec. But then the organizers realized it needed to be a nonprofit rather than an LLC. The LLC was dissolved, but no one ever formed the nonprofit group.

McDonald also provided board members with a sheet of information about potential costs if the school district decided to take the youth sports programs under its wing. Board Chair Steve Becker said it looked like it could cost about $50,000 annually after accounting for things like stipends for coaches and equipment maintenance and replacement, but that price doesn’t include insurance.

In February, the board was presented with the idea of creating a youth sports coordinator and adopting the youth sports programs as the district’s own. The programs provide valuable benefits for students’ development and serve as “feeder programs” that provide talented athletes for teams at the middle- and high-school levels, officials said at the time.

But running a youth sports program in-house is not common. McDonald said this week in all surrounding school districts that have youth sports programs, those programs are run by the area’s Parks & Rec agency or a non-profit entity. If the school district chose to support a non-profit with funding instead of running youth sports itself, it might avoid some costs like coach stipends, she said.

The school board could discuss and potentially take action on the issue at its regular meeting Monday evening. Becker said however things shake out, he’s not sure the current $35 registration fee for the football program will be enough — that may need to be increased to help cover costs.

“Everybody assumed there was liability insurance through the district … but that’s not what happened,” Becker said. “… With the reality of the world, we’ve got to make sure this thing is right and it’s done correctly, legally. It’s for the kids. It’s for the protection of the kids.”