Statement from Owner Duncan Smillie

Open Letter to the Rocks family

It seems like an eternity has passed since we left the court at Bristol with our victory underlining the win at Plymouth less than 24 hours previous, that was March 14th, 12 days ago but so much has changed in all our lives personally and professionally since then. For the avoidance of doubt this is not a self-help guide to get through the coming weeks and months, we will leave that to the professionals, this is more an update on where we are as a club now and where we “think” this is going. We know that the Rocks are a big part of many lives so it is important we keep everyone informed on what this means going forward, in the meantime please stay as safe as you can and we look forward to seeing you all on the other side of this.


Players & Coaches

Most Rocks, and indeed BBL players, are contracted on a single season basis with their contracts ending on the last day of the clubs BBL season. I think most people believe that the season ended for the Rocks on March 14th which is very disappointing given the season we were having but the general consensus is that all sport is over for at least 3-4 months. It is our intention to pay all players until the end of the originally scheduled season but had to make some decisions quickly and as such our five non British players and our coach are now all safely home with their loved ones, this is where they belong and it was important for us to get them home as quickly as possible.


Staff & Office

We only have two full time employees off the court at the Rocks, other services are delivered by volunteers and/or on a contra basis with partners. The Emirates Arena was closed on March 19th and since then we have been working remotely doing what we can in these unusual times, any contact or enquiries should be directed to, this will be the case until the arena is reopened.



From a Rocks perspective this is without question our biggest challenge, because of the way sport is funded in the UK basketball receive a ridiculously low level of funding, Scotland receive less than £500K per year and that is to fund the national governing body and to facilitate grass roots basketball, suffice to say the elite level of the game does not receive any of this. We essentially have 3 income streams – Tickets/Game Day, merchandise and sponsorship, 100% of that money goes back into our basketball programme, other than the 2 full time staff in the office (without whom there would be no programme) all income goes back into the team, coach, players, travel, housing, cars, game day etc.

We would estimate that the financial impact of season 2019/20 ending early will be around a six figure sum, when you also consider that from next season our community funding and academy funding have come to an end and that those 2 initiatives combined are also a six figure sum



We are doing everything we can now to make sure we can put together a programme next season that we can all get behind but it’s a challenge however we believe we can get there but we are going to need a lot of support from our fans and partners at a difficult time but that is not for now We all have more important things to deal with right now than sport. This letter is written on the third day of the UK lock down, unprecedented times indeed which will give us a lot of time for reflection, if you have room for the Rocks on the other side of this then we’d love you to be part of the Rocks family in whatever way you can.

For now please take all the advice that is being given and keep you and your loved ones safe during this time.


Duncan Smillie


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