September 26, 2010
The following article appeared on the USA Swimming Web site last week. It has to do with the recent issues of some USA Swimming coaches taking advantage of children. Club Wolverine has always performed background checks on all its new coaches and updates these every two. USA Swimming announced the following plan and Club Wolverine wants you to know that we will follow this plan completely. If you have any questions feel free to contact coach Bailey. The following Web address is the USA Swimming site that details the plan.
USA SWIMMING EXPANDS ATHLETE PROTECTION EFFORTS ACROSS MULTIPLE AREAS
Through decisive action at today's House of Delegates meeting, USA Swimming will expand its athlete protection efforts across multiple areas. The measures, which were put forth by the Board of Directors, will educate the membership on the issue, implement athlete protection policies, expand background checking to include all non-athlete members and require those employees and volunteers that interact with athletes to become members, and therefore undergo background checking. Additionally, the House of Delegates passed legislation making it mandatory to report credible information regarding sexual abuse.
By USA Swimming bylaws, the above legislation had
to pass by at least a 90% margin, with the exception of the
non-athlete member background checking and education requirement,
which required a two-thirds vote.
"We have been committed throughout this process, to doing the right thing, and taking actions that, first and foremost, will foster a safe and positive environment for our athletes.” said out-going USA Swimming President Jim Wood. “Our membership really stepped up today to provide their overwhelming support to this important issue.”
The background checking program was expanded in two ways with Saturday’s action. First, all non-athlete members (volunteers, officials, etc.) must satisfactorily pass a criminal background check as a condition of membership .This represents between 30,000-40,000 additional background checks for the organization. Coach members have been required to pass a background check since 2006.
The House of Delegates also voted to require employees and volunteers of USA Swimming, Local Swimming Committees and clubs who interact directly and frequently with athletes, to become members of USA Swimming, and therefore be subject to the background check requirement. This will also apply to club owners. The checks, which have been required every two years for coaches, will now be updated on a continual basis, to avoid any gap in information.
Additionally, the Board voted earlier this year to implement expanded background checking criteria. Along with the database check, coaches and officials will now be required to undergo a county court search (all counties of residence in the last 7 years) prior to becoming a member of USA Swimming.
All background checking legislation will go into effect January 1, 2011.
With legislation passed on Saturday, all non-athlete members of USA Swimming will be required to complete an “Athlete Protection Education” requirement as a condition of membership. The education must be updated every three years. All members must be in compliance with this rule prior to registering for the 2011-2012 season.
The House of Delegates voted to formally add the Board-approved Athlete Protection Policies to the USA Swimming Code of Conduct. Any violation of these policies can result in disciplinary action up to and including revocation of membership. The Policies are effective immediately. Earlier this year the Board also adopted “ Best Practice Guidelines for Athlete Protection.”
House of Delegates added Article 306 to the USA Swimming rulebook,
which reads in part, “It is every member’s
responsibility to promptly report any incident regarding sexual
misconduct by a member … to USA Swimming’s Athlete
Protection Officer. Reporting must occur when an individual has
firsthand knowledge of misconduct or where specific and credible
information has been received from a victim or knowledgeable third
party….” Failure to report, retaliation against
any individual who reports in good faith, and reporting in bad
faith were added as Code of Conduct violations.
By Board action earlier this year, it is USA Swimming’s policy to report any such incident involving a minor, to law enforcement.
USA Swimming Clubs, will now be required to conduct specific pre-employment screenings prior to hiring any coach, employee or volunteer who would be in a supervisory position over athletes. To assist clubs in fulfilling this requirement, USA Swimming recently completed a 20+ company RFP process to identify approved third-party providers.
Earlier this year, the USA Swimming Board approved a proposed policy that USA Swimming will, after offering a due process hearing, add individuals who are no longer members, but who are found to have committed misconduct or who refuse a hearing, to its suspended-for-life-list. The House of Delegates strengthened that action Saturday, by adding verbiage to USA Swimming’s rule book, that makes it a condition of membership that an individual submit to the jurisdiction of USA Swimming with respect to any rule or code violation that occurred during the period of membership, whether or not that individual is still a member.
The USA Swimming Convention concludes Sunday, September 19, 2010.