NextUp Town Hall Recap: PPP Funding, Small Business Loans, PLAY Sports Coalition, and More
This week, we hosted our second NextUp Town Hall on financial management. We were joined by government relations experts Terri Kowski and Jason Marmon, and corporate lawyers Benjamin Brodsky and Nicholas Simon, for a conversation about how youth and local sports organizers can continue navigating the CARES Act and set themselves up for success when we return to play.
Here’s where it stands today and what you need to know.
To secure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, look to your local or regional bank.
“Your first point of contact should be your bank,” says Simon. “It’s going to be difficult to find a new banking relationship right now. If you’re not getting through with them, rather than going to another large or mid size bank, go to a community bank in your neighborhood. They’re going to have a better chance of getting you through. If that doesn’t work, going to the fin-techs could work: the PayPals of the world. They have a different set of rules they’re under than traditional banks so they may be receptive to new customers.”
“If you have problems or questions, call your members of Congress and your Senators,” adds Marmon. “Get them involved and engaged. It’s hit or miss — some offices are really good and others might not return your call. But if you don’t call, you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
If you have mainly 1099 employees, PPP may be a challenge.
“The PPP program really only works for businesses with W2 wage employees,” says Simon. “If you don’t have a payroll that’s W2 wage employees, you can still apply, but it’s going to be hard to get someone to loan to you. At the end of the day, the time and effort isn’t worth the money you’re going to get. You’re better off trying to re-negotiate your rent.”
Your loan will only be forgiven if you get back to full payroll by 6/30.
“The CARES Act provisions are designed to help you bring back employees as quickly as possible,” says Simon. “As long as you get back to full payroll by 6/30, you get full loan forgiveness. And if you’re planning on terminating employees starting July 1st, know that there’s some risk in doing that.”
You can’t apply for both PPP Funding and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
EIDLs existed prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and were activated when small businesses needed money to rebuild their physical property and deal with losses due to a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado. Simon explains that EIDLs may be a better option for sports organizers, but it’s important to note that these funds must be paid back. You cannot apply for an EIDL if you’ve received PPP funding.
The problem with the CARES Act, Kowski explains, is that it wasn’t designed to support youth and local sports organizers—many of whom employ 1099s and are not eligible for PPP funding for this reason. She is one of the lobbyists that is helping us promote the PLAY Sports Coalition on Capitol Hill—petitioning Congress for an $8.5B relief bill that would keep the industry afloat.
Access for everyone
“Our effort on the hill is about figuring out how to allocate funds to those who aren’t being covered by the existing stimulus bill,” she says. “We want to give priority to people who are reaching at-risk kids. We also want to make sure that this is transparent and that funds are easy to access. Right now, CARES is leaving behind a lot of people who don’t have the resources necessary to figure out how to apply and what to do. So a big part of what we’ll be focused on is making sure that people can actually understand and access this.”
What happens next?
Kowski and Marmon say that right now, they’re focused on convincing Congress that these funds should be allocated to the youth and local sports industry, and getting bi-partisan support. From there, they’ll figure out how to allocate the funds, how organizers can apply, and more.
Learn more about the Coalition and get involved here.
As we begin to think about returning to play, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll need to make very smart decisions about personnel, employee and participant liability, and more. Have a plan for your personnel, and do your research in advance.
Update your liability waivers.
“I’m not advising my clients to assume that the federal government will protect them,” Brodsky says. “I’m urging them to take precautions themselves. Modify your liability waiver so that everyone from participants to spectators are signing something acknowledging that if they’re gathered in close groups, they understand the risk and are releasing the league or club from any liability.”
The same goes for your employees, he says. “I’d also recommend you give them something to sign saying they recognize they’ll be in contact with someone who could potentially be sick or make them sick.”
Know the government guidelines, and follow them.
“Before you open up, know the guidelines that your state and county health department have put out around masks, cleaning, and distancing,” Says Simon. “Know them and follow them. That’s your best bet for protecting yourself. Make sure your employees, parents, players know that as well—distribute it before you return to play.”
Be smart about your personnel decisions.
If you don’t need to retain your employees due to PPP funding, make sure you’re up to speed on employment law before you terminate or furlough anyone.
“You need to make sure you go back and look at your employment contracts—if you have them—before you make personnel decisions,” says Brosky. “Make sure there’s not a severance clause in your contract that you forgot about. If you don’t have employment contracts, you need to look at the laws in your state and see if there are requirements. California, for example, has laws about how paychecks are paid out once people have been terminated. There are a lot of easily accessible state employment resources online.”