FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) — Tackle football is turning into flag football for the youth football program in Fowlerville after complications with equipment.

This will affect the recreation teams from 1st-8th grade.

Organizers sent out an email to parents Wednesday night saying the company they sent their helmets to in January to get recertified is sending them back incomplete, just a week before the season is about to start.

For parents, they are upset and trying to reach out to anyone who can help with getting helmets.

Fowlerville Superintendent Wayne Roedel said they have around 300 kids signed up for tackle football season. 

The following email was sent to parents from Fowlerville Recreation Coordinator Cheryl Dixon.

The email shares in detail what has led up to this decision.

Dear Parents,

As many of you may know, we have been struggling to get our helmets back from our distributor both reconditioned and recertified to make it safe for our athletes to participate in the fall football season. 

On January 4th, all of our helmets were picked up by Integrity Sports Services out of Wadsworth Ohio and taken to their facility for reconditioning (inspection, recertification, and repainting). Since May, I have been in contact with my rep, requesting status updates. I had been reassured that we would have our helmets back in July with no trouble. In July, I was informed that they were running a bit behind but that they would have no problem having them to us by the first week of our season for distribution. On July 27th, I was notified that they had been sent back to us without any reconditioning occurring. Since then, I have been trying to communicate and coordinate with them via phone calls, voicemails, texts, and emails for pickup and completion of the job that they committed to do with little to no response with answers as to how they would fix this issue. Once the helmets were received back, I also attempted to contact other vendors who informed me that they could not take on any other clients at this time due to their own current contracts to fulfill. 

I have been in close contact regarding all of this with my Recreation Oversight Lauri Coe, Superintendent Wayne Roedel, High School Athletic Director Brian Osborn, and our High School Varsity Football Coach Jon Fletcher. I met with Wayne and Lauri today to decide how to proceed best for our community. We felt that in the best interest of our kids and their families, instead of leaving us with no time to prepare, and then cancelling the entire season and having nothing to offer them, we as a community would run a fall flag football season for this year for grades 1st-8th. 

(Out of sheer coincidence, 30 minutes after this meeting occurred, I heard back from my rep at Integrity Sports, whom I had been trying to reach again multiple times this week, that they would not be fulfilling their end of our contract. They will be doing nothing more with our helmets. It won’t fit their schedule. They would have left us in a lurch.)

We will still have the parent meeting this Monday night, August 15th at 5:30pm as planned to give you more details as to how the season will work with all of the information we have for you at that time.

Beginning Monday, August 15th through Sunday August 21st, we will have an open registration/”un-registration” period.

At this time, you will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to have your child participate or unenroll from the program. If you choose to un-enroll please let me know. If you choose to continue on and allow your child to participate there is nothing more that you will need to do. This also gives those who may be interested, time to get registered. Please note: If you choose to remove your child from the program, you will receive a full refund. However, once that decision is made, you will not be given the option to change your mind and re-register them for this season at a later date. After the week is over, full refunds will not be issued, rather the drop fee of $50.00 will be reinstituted because we will be under the assumption that you wish to continue with the flag football option. No late registrations will be accepted after Sunday August 21st. We are turning on a dime to create a season for our kids to get to enjoy the game of football, even though it will be different than years past. There will be no room for late additions. 

Here is the information that I can give you now. There will not be any equipment pass out or evaluations next week during the registration period. This will give us a week to get coaches up to speed, and all participants starting together on the same day. Again, we will still have the meeting on Monday August 15th to answer questions and give more details.

I’m so sorry for this huge turn of events. It was not anticipated that Integrity Sports would choose to not honor their commitment to turn our equipment around in a timely manner, much less at all. 

I truly feel that we as a community can make this happen for our kids this year. When I look at the alternative, which is another season going by without any football, my heart breaks. I am willing to do everything I can to make this a successful alternative for them. I hope that you will take this leap with me and that I will see you all on Monday at the parent meeting to give you all details that have been ironed out along with any additional information available to you, and to answer every question that I can.

Would you please respond to this email with your players name so that we know that you have received the communication?

Sincerely,

Cheryl