Big Sioux Youth Basketball leaving kids without a team

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - For many kids in the region, the basketball season is underway, but for some, the opportunity to play is being taken away from them.

One of the biggest organizations for youth sports in the region is Big Sioux, but this season, they faced complications with putting together teams, leaving some parents scratching their heads.

Shannon Rausch and her family moved to Dell Rapids in August. Her two children were very involved in sports and upon coming to South Dakota, they looked for ways to get involved.

“Our daughter is in volleyball. She just tried volleyball for the first time this year and she’s played basketball,” Rausch said.

The volleyball season through Big Sioux went smoothly, so they looked at their basketball league.

“Everything seemed fine. We registered our daughter,” Rausch explained.

Fine until they got an email on Nov. 2.

Parents like Rausch have been scrambling to find something for their kids. The YMCA league had already started their season by the time she received the email.

“We’re willing to have our daughter play up on an older team, a fifth-grade team if that would be an opportunity, or drive to a neighboring town even if Dell Rapids didn’t have a team,” Rausch said. “You know, at least give us the opportunity to weigh those options ourselves.”

Many sent emails to Big Sioux, but few have received a response, leaving them to wonder why their child can’t play. The email didn’t state the problem, only the cause of the problem.

“Without any answers, yeah, your brain just kind of goes wild thinking about what the answers are, what the reasons are,” Rausch expressed. “You know, I’ve kind of held back from people that I’ve talked to about it because I don’t want to start or spread rumors.”

The Big Sioux Youth Basketball organization lists its board members on its website, but the only method listed to contact the board is email. Rausch said that she had sent multiple emails and even tried messaging on Facebook. She and many others have not heard back.

Rausch said that after nearly two weeks, she still has not gotten a refund. To make matters worse, after the initial registration deadline, Big Sioux sent emails about opening late registration.

Knowing what they know now, many parents said that Big Sioux dropped the ball on this.

“If you already knew you had too many registrants, why open up to a late registrant opportunity?” Rausch asked.

When asked what the conversation with her daughter about not being able to play basketball was like, Rausch said that they had not told her yet because she had been researching alternatives. She knew it would be a difficult conversation.

Kids from multiple cities and multiple age groups have been affected by cuts. Rausch added that she had heard from other parents who got charged more than the advertised fee even though they were not late registrants.

The organization does have plenty to look over. The Big Sioux website lists every boys and girls basketball team from 2nd through 6th grade and the number of teams per grade and gender currently ranges between 23 and 48.

Still, without a response from Big Sioux on what the issue is, families have said that they make guesses on whether there were large organizational changes, there aren’t enough coaches, not enough court space in Harrisburg where games are held, not enough officials for each game, etc.

We have reached out to Big Sioux, and at this hour have not received a response.