Archive for the ‘Criminal Background Checks’ Category

NMAA New Bylaws Levy Sanctions For Bad Fan Behavior In High School Sports

High schools under the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) recently took a significant step towards curbing unsportsmanlike conduct in sports. Nearly 80% of the membership approved an update to Bylaw 7.7.4 that governs Crowd Control & Unsportsmanlike Conduct. But what exactly does this mean, and will the new regulations make a difference? Let’s break it down.

The Revamped Rules: A Snapshot

Starting from the 2023-2024 school year, the modified bylaw now presents the following changes:

For Team Members: Should any team participant (including coaches) engage in an “egregious act of unsportsmanlike conduct” twice or more in the same season, at the same school, and in the same activity, the team will be suspended from that activity for the rest of the season.

For Spectators: A non-team participant who exhibits unsportsmanlike behavior twice or more in the same conditions as above will result in the suspension of all spectators for that activity for the remainder of the season.

Defining Unsportsmanlike Conduct: The NMAA Handbook now defines unsportsmanlike behavior as not just a violation of specific sport rules but also as actions that don’t align with the “Compete with Class” initiative and broader educational objectives.

Consequences Extend to the Next Season: If the second violation occurs at the end of the season, penalties could spill over into the next season for that same activity.

The bylaw also lists examples of what constitutes egregious unsportsmanlike conduct. This includes fans engaging in violent acts, verbal abuse against officials, and more. For those interested in further details, here’s a link to the NMAA Handbook.

The Real Problem: Is Legislation the Answer?

While the efforts of NMAA are praiseworthy, one cannot help but wonder if merely changing bylaws will change people’s behavior. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has already tried to discourage unruly fan behavior by imposing fines. But has it worked? Data suggests that it has not significantly reduced incidents and as a result the SEC is upping the penalties.

Digging Deeper: The Root Causes

It’s essential to examine the underlying reasons for such conduct. Is it the hyper-competitive nature of sports? Is it parents pushing their children to win at all costs? Could it be symptomatic of a more violent society at large? The reality is, many stadiums and arenas already have fan codes of conduct prominently displayed. Despite this, disruptive behavior persists. To truly effect change, we need to investigate the root causes.

Legal Complexities: The Devil Is in the Details

Moreover, the bylaw opens a can of legal worms. Questions about what counts as an “egregious act,” what happens in the case of false claims, or how this affects sponsorship deals and similar contracts are bound to arise. If such rules are to be effective, they will need to be scrutinized for every possible interpretation and loophole.

Conclusion: The Jury’s Still Out

In conclusion, NMAA’s newly revised bylaw is a significant step in attempting to manage unsportsmanlike conduct. However, the efficacy of such a rule change remains to be seen. While the bylaw is ambitious, it raises numerous questions that need to be addressed for it to be truly effective. For now, it seems the journey to civil sportsmanship is still fraught with challenges that extend beyond mere rule-setting.

In My Opinion

The new bylaw may not have gone far enough to control parental bad fan behavior in high school sports. One additional idea is to punish the player with practice and game suspension for their parent’s bad behavior. Knowing that their child will face consequences for their bad behavior is likely to be a powerful positive motivator for parents. For other ideas on controlling sports violence, see my blog entitled Sports Anti-Violence Risk Management For Amateur Sports Associations.

Acknowledgments

This article was inspired by the original work of Gil Fried and published in Sports Facilities and the Law, a free-subscription publication for industry professionals. To read more from the publication, visit Sports Facilities and the Law.

$300M Locker Room Peeping Lawsuit Alleges Child Abuse / Privacy Issues

Lessons to be learned about managing locker rooms to prevent child abuse and invasion of privacy

The class-action lawsuit filed in S.C. State Court alleges that Bishop England High School in Charleston, South Carolina knowingly allowed windows for staff viewing of students inside the boy’s and girls’ gym locker rooms. The windows were apparently installed in 1998 when Bishop England opened their new campus. After 21 years, an undisclosed number of former and some current students spoke out against the school, which is under the oversight of the Diocese Of Charleston. The list of defendants includes not only Bishop England and the Diocese of Charleston but also Bishop Robert Guglielmone. Bishop Guglielmone recently retired in May of 2019 at the age of 75.

This case is illustrative for the youth sports clients of Sadler Sports Insurance that have locker rooms and changing rooms either on owned or leased premises or at other premises. Note that the definition of child abuse includes non-touching offenses such as voyeurism and the photographing of minors for sexual purposes when they have an expectation of privacy. There can be a fine line between the duty to monitor and prevent bullying and hazing versus sexual misconduct. The U.S. Center for SafeSport has published guidelines for locker rooms and changing areas which maximizes privacy and child abuse protection for athletes by not allowing a continuous presence by staff inside of locker rooms. Instead, staff should be located directly outside of locker rooms and should be on call if a problem arises but periodic sweeps are encouraged.

Public knowledge emerges from voyeurism charge against school employee with window overlooking locker rooms

Public knowledge first emerged in 2019 when the school’s sports information director, Jeffrey Alan Scofield, was arrested for voyeurism. The employee told detectives that his office window overlooked the boys’ locker room, and he set up his phone between the windows and blinds for video recording. He then downloaded the videos onto a school computer. The employee was subsequently fired, convicted of voyeurism, and sentenced to time served plus 18 months probation along with being listed under the state’s sexual offender registry with a requirement to seek mental health counseling.

Defendants sued for $300 million for invasion of privacy and sexually abusive actions

The lawsuit alleges that Bishop England engaged in “dishonest, deceptive and sexually abusive actions” when it failed to protect students. The charges include invasion of privacy, various acts of negligence, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment. The Diocese publicly denounced the accusation as having absolutely no merit stating thehigh school sued for $300 million for viewing windows in locker room windows were in place merely to supervise students to prevent smoking, bullying, fighting, and other improper behavior. The plaintiffs are asking for $300 million in damages. Larry Richter, a previous graduate of the high school in the 1960s, is the attorney handling the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. Richter enacted a previous class-action case against the Diocese of Charleston. He won a $12 million settlement on the grounds of child sexual abuse.

Since 1998, students undressed in front of coaches who had access to the windows. Richter claims the school did nothing for years to get rid of the windows. He further questions why they were ever installed in the first place.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, Bishop England has subsequently boarded over the windows and replaced them with a brick wall.

Trainings and procedures to protect students from child sexual abuse

Bishop England firmly states that they have all the proper procedures and screenings in place for new employees. The school requires all new staff to:

  • Pass a background check
  • Attend child abuse prevention training
  • Attend student boundary training
  • Sign a code of conduct overseeing how they interact with minors

Huge number of potential sex abuse victims from locker room setting

But despite these requirements and trainings, child abuse allegedly still occurred. With 687 students in the student-body, Bishop Englandsexually abusive locker room windows, high school sued High School is the largest Catholic high school in the state. Over the course of 21 years, the number of students victim to peering is theoretically in the thousands. The number gets even larger. Richter states that visiting athletes from other schools shared the locker rooms as well.

How this case applies to youth sports organizations that use locker rooms and changing areas

While this lawsuit’s subject matter occurred in the school setting, youth sports participants are subject to the same types of invasion of privacy and sexual abuse. Child abuse is not limited to just inappropriate touching. The definition of illegal child abuse is quite broad and includes voyeurism and inappropriately videotaping youth in various states of undress.

In the past, youth sports administrators keyed in solely on criminal background checks to protect their youth from predators. The problem with putting all the eggs in the background check basket is that the vast majority of predators don’t have a detectable criminal background. 

Therefore, merely running background checks is not enough to protect youth. The Safe Sport Act requires sports organizations at a minimum to provide:

  • Mandatory educational training of adult staff and volunteers with access to youth. This should include defining the various forms of child abuse including no touching offenses such as voyeurism and how to handle locker room and changing room settings.
  • Offer minor training at the discretion of the parent/guardian
  • Implement policies and procedures to reduce the chances of an incident
  • Report suspicions to local law enforcement within 24 hours
  • Prohibit retaliation for whistleblowers

Sadler Sports Insurance offers free child abuse risk management content

Be sure to check out our free child abuse/molestation risk management content which includes the industry-leading blog on the Safe Sport Act, child abuse risk management templates, types of criminal background checks, and sources of criminal background checks. The document entitled Sadler Safe Sport Child Abuse and Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan includes a section on how to manage locker rooms and changing areas.


Sources:

Caitlin Byrd. SC’s largest Catholic high school sued for $300M for invasive locker room windows. The State. February 4, 2021.

Drew Tripp. Bishop England, Diocese of Charleston sued for $300M over student exploitation claims. ABC News 4. February 4, 2021.

Catherine Kohn and Kenna Coe. $300 million lawsuit filed against Bishop England High School. Moultrie News. February 4, 2021.

 

Sadler Interviewed in Rough Notes Magazine

Sadler Insurance president sought for insight on amateur athletics risks

John Sadler was interviewed and widely quoted in the April 2013 edition of the insurance trade industry publication, Rough Notes. In an article entitled “Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics”, Sadler was quoted on a variety of topics as follows:

  • The increased risks of travel teams over recreational teams in terms of more intense competition, auto IMG_3490exposure from frequent travel, and motel downtime incidents such as drownings and near drownings.
  • Increased prevalence of individual sports instructors looking for General Liability and Professional Liability Coverage.
  • Carriers taking the sex abuse and molestation risk more seriously in wake of the Sandusky scandal by mandating risk management that goes beyond the passing of a criminal background check. Examples include the adoption of written policies and procedures such as the use of a buddy system where a single adult is never alone with a single unrelated child and an incident response plan that requires notification of law enforcement.
  • New carrier fears over concussion exposures and the imposing of Participant Legal Liability policy aggregates for larger associations that will cap total losses in a single policy year.
  • The new emerging cyber threats of hacker access to confidential information and media liability arising out of the posting of defamatory content on sports organization websites and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • The need for coach Professional Liability coverage for those frivolous lawsuits in which coaches are sued for benching an athlete or improper coaching that allegedly results in loss of a college scholarship or pro career.

Source: Knowledge To Win In Amateur Athletics; Rough Notes, April 2013

Criminal Background Check Vendors

Maintain a safer workplace with a successful screening program

When recruiting employees and volunteers, you want as much information as possible to make smart decisions. Below is a list of companies that offer criminal background check services for sports organizations.

Datasource Background Screening Services

Datasource Background Screening

 

 

For 25 years, as both a wholesale and retail background screening service provider, Datasource Background Screening Services has been wowing our clients with the breadth of our search scope,  and by providing the highest levels of accuracy and service and ease of use.  Our low-cost / high-service model makes a real difference for both individual teams and leagues.

Our service is full of tools and features that make your job easier, and we customize and refine your account services with us – all at no additional cost – in order to enable you to perform the very best background screening in the least amount of time and at the lowest cost. Combine this with our free customer support which is only a phone call away in Kansas City, our no-cost accounts, and our free user training, and your screening couldn’t be made any easier.

Enhanced Nationwide Criminal & Sex Offender Search, SSN Trace and Alias Search: $6.95

Enhanced Nationwide & Live County Follow-Up Search: $12.95

Getting started with Datasource is easy. We can have you up and running in a day. To get your questions answered and to get the full details visit our website at www.datasourcecorp.com or call 816-463-9282.

ProtectYouthSports.com

A good track record counts for a lot, and Protect Youth Sports has established a very firm and reputable standing within the youth sports market for Youth Sports background checksbackground screening.   Benefiting from this very much proven history could not be any simpler, as over 25,000 organizations have found before.

Many of the problems that youth sports leagues encounter with background checks are caused by low quality instant checks and state-level-only background checks. Instant checks and state-level-only checks lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.

  • Free video course on backgrounds checks and streamlining the screening process
  • No sign-up fees for qualified youth sports organizations
  • NAYS discounts– up to 20% off on already discounted packages
  • Prices as of 2-1-2017:
    • Basic – $7.95 (plus fees where applicable)
    • Plus- $15.95 (plus fees where applicable)

Nothing could be easier than getting started with Protect Youth Sports. Start by requesting your Free Video Course at www.protectyouthsports.com or call (877) 319-5587.

 Sports Background Checks

Today, background screening companies are being acquired at a record rate. Background check companies acquired by venture capital and private equity firms or that have gone public are beholden to their shareholders and investors with profit maximization leading to lower levels of customer service, product price increases and loss of database integrity.

Unlike these companies, Sports Background Checks is one of a handful of consumer reporting agencies that has not had its company, its software or its people bought or sold. Sports Background Checks is one of nearly a dozen brands, powered by Background Checkology, whose ultimate company goal is to help protect and serve those organizations that help protect and serve others. Our low turnover rate of key personnel and clients allows us to continue to grow and focus on providing better ongoing products, processes, and technology by employees that are familiar with you and care.

A common misconception is that a criminal’s history is stored under a social security number. The reality is that criminal history is stored and indexed by name and date of birth. The partial or full social security number is typically used as final verification. Criminals know how their names are listed on their criminal records and they will try to keep you off their trail by providing inaccurate information such as Bob in lieu of Robert, Lisa in lieu of Elizabeth, etc. They might even use tricks like using their middle name as their first name, create a misspelled name, using a maiden name or even creating a nickname when submitting information for a background check.

Consumer reporting agencies that perform a ONE NAME only background check often fail to identify these individuals.  Sports Background Checks minimum background check package offered is an ALIAS check that searches an applicants All Known Alias’ (AKAs) and runs background checks on ALL names found for both criminal records and against sex offender registries all at one price. When protecting our youth, organizations should go the extra mile and order, at minimum, an ALIAS check.

All accounts are FREE. There is no cost to sign up and no monthly or annual fees. You are billed monthly only if your account has activity. Simple rescreening notifications. Our reporting is amazing!

Mention Sadler Sports and get ½ Off our list pricing for the following products:

  1. National ALIAS Sex Offender Search with a National Multi-Jurisdictional ALIAS Criminal Check
  2. Add a County of Residence Check (Recommended in some states).

Additionally, our Coach Pay and Volunteer Pay options can potentially reduce or eliminate your organizations background check costs. If you participate in Safe Sports Training, as part of our process, your coaches can upload their completed Safe Sports Training Certificate during the background check process, so it is available to review along with the background check.

To learn more visit www.SportsBackgroundChecks.com or contact us directly at 816-702-6200.

*California Organizations – California legislation Bill AB506 went into effect on January 1st, 2022 and requires administrators, employees, and volunteers of youth service organizations to: Complete training in child abuse and neglect identification and reporting, undergo a background check and fingerprint submission via the California DOJ. If your organization falls into this category, mention AB 506 when applying to learn how to become compliant.

 National Center for Safety Initiatives

The National Center for Safety Initiatives is the only company licensed by Criminal background checksthe National Council of Youth Sports to interpret the results of background screening according to the NCYS’ recommended guidelines.

NCYS membership represents more than 52-million boys and girls participating in organized youth sports.  Through the use of “NCYS Recommended Guidelines for Background Check Screening in Nonprofit Youth-Serving Organizations,” the youth-serving industry now has a comprehensive and practical standard to follow. There is no need for organizations to reinvent the wheel for policy, procedures, and best practices.

The Center is NOT another single vendor background screening company. Beware of look-alike programs. The Center will carry out the entire background screening process for you, performing the check through two national databases, interpreting the results, and releasing you of the enormous burden of following federal law regarding identity privacy, data storage, and personal notification of individual volunteer disqualification, and more.

Volunteers and administrators in your organization will be best protected from  possible losses due to costly litigation that can result from a lack of knowledge or resources. There is no need to train another staff person or rely on volunteers to handle this sensitive issue.  All of this translates to a reduced liability risk for you.

Need more information? Contact National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) at 772-781-1452 or youthsports@ncys.org. Contact the trained staff of the National Center for Safety Initiatives toll free at 866-833-7100 or by email at  info@ncsisafe.com.

Bradley Screening

Official Dixie Baseball/Softball Vendor

Criminal background vendorSpecifically designed for volunteer and nonprofit organizations, this screening service provides a report that includes the following: criminal data information on the full name and/or alternate names used by the volunteer, dates at listed addresses, validity of the SSN provided, age/date of birth, and available phone information.

Bradley Screening has access to one of the largest private-sector criminal history databases in the nation.  We draw data from multiple criminal record sources in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The report includes criminal data from criminal courts, state criminal record repositories, probation, prison parole and release files, sex offender registries and other government agencies, as well as additional criminal history data.

This report is meant to aid volunteer and non-profit organizations and agencies in determining whether prospective volunteers have a pattern of criminal behavior that would make it unwise for them to be working with children or other vulnerable populations.

For more information call 866-412-0545 or or email to inform@bradley-personnel.com

Intellicorp

An easy-to-use interface provides you with quality and validated criminal results at discounted prices. Experience the difference of our support capabilities, which includes personalized customer service, training and compliance. You also get the advantage of streamlined processes and paramount privacy and security  when it comes to protecting sensitive information.  IntelliCorp is a Verisk Analytics  company and has earned formal accreditation through the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Package Includes:

  • Validated Criminal Database
    • Validated Nationwide Sex Offender
    • Validated Department of Corrections
  • Unlimited Single County Searches (7 year address history)*
  • SSN Verification with Address History
  • Government Sanctions (Terrorist Search)

To Sign-up:

http://www.intellicorp.net/marketing/RegisterNow.aspx

 

JDP

Youth Sports Organizations throughout the U.S. rely on JDP to screen their volunteers and ensure the safety of their children. JDP’s fast and simple ordering processes allow youth leagues to initiate and complete background checks efficiently and accurately, allowing organizations to get their coaches on the field quickly, with FCRA compliant results.

As a provider of USOPC validated screening, JDP is a trusted name across all youth sports.

Our mission is to end abuse, for every child, every day. In fulfillment of this mission, JDP has partnered with IBM Watson to develop Cognitive Screening. This revolutionary tool will allow JDP to search millions of data points not found during a standard criminal search.

 

JDP’s Youth Sports background screening services include:

  • Social Security Number Verification
  • JDP National Criminal Records Search (housing nearly 700 million criminal records)
  • JDP National Sex Offender Registry
  • Federal, State, and County Criminal Record Searches

Since 2009, JDP has been helping shield organizations and their people from preventable harm with our comprehensive background screening solutions. Our fast, reliable and flexible services are trusted by over 10,000 organizations, who use JDP to conduct more than 6 million screenings every year. We’re proud that our Top-Notch Service has been recognized by HRO Today Bakers’ Dozen Enterprise Screening provider list and that our clients have given us a satisfaction rating of over 98%. JDP is proud to be accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).

Screening packages are available from $5.75.

Learn more about JDP’s background screening services for youth sports teams here: https://www.jdp.com/industries/youth-sports-background-checks/

 

 

 

A Reality Check for Youth Sports Administrators

Learn from the Paterno, Spanier, Curley and McQuery mistakes

This blog post isn’t specifically about the Penn State case and who was or wasn’t fired. Rather it’s a reality check for all involved with youth: no one is invincible. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Mike McQuery did not commit the physical crimes against children that Jerry Sandusky did.  However, they were responsible and liable for their own actions when there is even a hint that someone is abusing a child.

The Penn State case is making national headlines because of its legendary coach and its football program, but it’s important to understand that such behavior occurs frequently in youth sports.  Most readers of this blog are involved in teams/leagues/youth programs in sYouth sports risk managementome capacity or another. Are you a coach, athletic director, team mom or a parent on the sidelines?  Whatever your position, today is the day to step back and realize where exactly you fit into the lives of the kids participating in your youth sports organization.  You are there to protect them at all costs.

Our previous blog post, Child Predators in Youth Sports, is a must read for anyone who is involved with children. It includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article written with the help of actual predators in youth programs detailing how they got away with their crimes. Did you know that, according to the article, studies have found that the average molester victimizes about 120 children before he is caught? That’s extremely disturbing! The blog post also offers useful risk management guidelines that your organization can implement today. And share this post with others so that we all can make a difference.

Follow this link for more articles on preventing sexual abuse and molestation.

Make No Assumptions When Appointing Volunteers

Criminal background checks are a must

by Michael Pfahl

Call it a “sixth-sense,” “gut-feeling” or that “little voice.” We all have it and make the conscious choice to listen or ignore it whenever it makes itself known.  Have you ever wondered if every person who was  stepped up to help as a volunteer should have even been asked in the first place?  That gut feeling becomes even more obvious when someone is over the top with enthusiasm about volunteering for a specific duty without even being asked.

Southeastern Security Consultants Inc. is the nation’s leading expert on volunteer criminal background checks.  Co-founders Randy Rodebaugh and Byron Palmer teach their clients to make no assumptions and listen carefully to your gut when it comes to providing anyone with the privilege of working with youth, seniors, and people with disabilities.  These two professionals are the antithesis of cynicism but hold firmly to the belief that when it comes to selecting volunteers, adopt the axiom TRUST but VERIFY.

“Listen to that inner voice because it only knows the truth.  Don’t become distrustful but at the same time don’t be naïve.  Don’t assume anything or feel that you know someone because you really don’t,” says Palmer.

It appears the hCriminal background checke is right.  In the first year after launching Operation TLC ² in 2007,  the  screening protocol through SSCI kept 243 of 3,500 would be volunteers with serious criminal histories out of parks and recreation programs in 16 states.  That’s a shocking 6.9% and these are people who signed a consent form to conduct the background check.  It is impossible to gauge the number of people with criminal histories that self-eliminated during when asked to consent to the check.  Another revealing statistic is that 13% of the potential volunteers that were disqualified committed their offenses outside their state of current residency.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans, or 26.8% of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service in 2009.  Let’s cut the number in half and make the assumption that 31 million volunteers today have one-on-one access to children, youth, and people with a disability or the elderly.  Statistically speaking and applying the 6.9% disqualification rate across the estimated 31.7 million, we potentially have 2,139,000 volunteers currently working in a volunteer position that, based on their personal criminal history, simply should not be provided the privilege.

Coaches and administrators are often overworked.  It’s much easier to fill a critical volunteer position without ensuring due diligence.  But employing a warm body recruitment method and ignoring the inner voice can be a huge mistake, putting the most vulnerable people being served in jeopardy.

Being overly trusting and making assumptions about our volunteers as part of our common practice can contribute to the perception.  The reality is that bad things can and do happen.  It is much easier to ignore the little voice that sometimes screams for you to question a person’s motive.  Make no assumptions and listen intently to that little voice.

Follow this link for more information on Operation TLC2 and the Minimum Standards For High Quality Background Checks

D.Michael Pfahl D. Michael Pfahl is president of DMP Consulting, Inc.  He has over 35 years of experience working with park, recreation, and conservation agencies to effectively train volunteers for public service.  He is the founder of Operation TLC² Making Communities Safe, a National Park and Recreation Association initiative to provide agencies with resources to help manage volunteers and ensure safety.