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Mandatory for USSA Coaches and Officials

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Effective immediately, USSA is implementing a required background check for all coaches and officials, to be conducted by the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI).

Quoted from the FAQ Page of the web announcement:

"USSA will now require background screening as a condition of employment and participation as a USSA member coach or official. In order to complete your USSA membership registration as a coach or official, you must go through the background screening."

"Among the key items NCSI will be researching will be convictions including felonies, driving under the influence, sex-related crimes, and drug-related crimes, as well as identity verification."

The USSA offices are closed until August 7.

For currently available information, visit USSA.org.
post #2 of 27
I think it's not a bad idea, although I think any decent club should already be doing this. With the responsibilities coaches have, none of the background checks performed are out of line.
post #3 of 27
I think the concept is great- perhaps over due. It also looks like they have made the process pretty easy- let us hope it all goes easily---
post #4 of 27
USSA Background Screening – Criterion Offenses
Convictions for the following crimes will prompt a determination that an applicant “does not meet” the criteria to serve the USSA.
Sex Offenses
All sex offenses regardless of amount of time since offense. Examples: Child molestation, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sodomy, prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure, child pornography, etc.
Felonies
All felony violence, regardless of the amount of time since offense. Examples: Murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated burglary, etc.
Misdemeanors
A. One misdemeanor drug offense within the past five years or multiple offenses in the past 10 years. Examples: Simple drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, etc.
B. Two driving under the influence offenses within the past five years or multiple offenses in the past 10 years. A driving under the influence offense within the past five years will be cause to prevent any individual from driving any vehicle in which any minors or USSA personnel are carried.
C. Any other misdemeanor within the past five years that would be considered a potential danger to children or is directly related to the functions of that person. Examples: Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor.
post #5 of 27
I’m not sure how I feel about the new policy. On one hand I understand the importance of keeping child molesters out of a youth program, but I think the insurance company has caused them to over react and I wonder how many coaches and officials they will lose due to exclusion or those who feel so strongly that it is an invasion of privacy, that they don’t re-new their membership. I wonder if they have a maximum attrition rate that will cause them to revamp the criterion. 25%? I’m guessing that there may be a lot of coaches or officials who have 2 DUIs or 1 drug offense. If they suddenly don’t show up for work next year, won’t people think that they are a sex offender?
Apparently they treat a marijuana paraphernalia misdemeanor the same as a child molester. I’m not sure why a DUI is a cause for exclusion. I understand that you might not want that person driving for insurance purposes, but how is that a threat to the athletes otherwise? This process also applies to all those volunteer USSA officials. I'm not sure that we can afford to lose too many of those kind of people. And it looks like item C. could be a bit vague.
post #6 of 27
Overall, a good thing. On the DUI issue, we had one coach fired at the hill I used to work at, she was showing up drunk while coaching the kids. She was the main reason we left the program.

Another coach (this guy could lay down a carve), used to spend at least an hour each weekend trying to get me to allow my (then ten year old son), to go away with him. Always "just the two of us", freeing me to teach, whenever I suggested a "three of us" he would start to waffle. As if I was that f'in stupid.

Another coach just lost his job because he got caught with "a bit" of pot. Hell, it wouldn't have even made the local paper if he was smart enough to show up for the mandated court appearence ..... he "sent the fine in the mail" and figured that would be enough. The kids were sticking up for him, but quite frankly, I don't want someone that stupid teaching my kid.

Rumor has it he is setting up his own, non USSA race school and clinics. Now I know why. You wonder how he will talk his way out of this one when people question his status?

:
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Eye opening post Yuki. Who does the hiring there - dopers, drinkers and pervs... man!

Whatdaya think? Should PSIA follow suit and require backgroud checks?
post #8 of 27
I think it makes sense. I'll bet the most programs were doing checks already. I've been involved with a group that offers a variety kids' activities (not skiing, though), and a full background check is absolutely standard.

I suppose if almost everyone is doing checks, the few programs that are too clueless to bother could start to have a significant risk of winding up with the handful of people who can't pass one.

My comments are, of course, aimed at USSA coaching programs for juniors.. For masters' programs, a bit of an "interesting" background might even come in handy ....
post #9 of 27
Just out of curiousity, does anyone know if there was a specific reason for the USSA for instating such a regulation? Was it that there were direct complaints by parents or co-workers, or was it that the executives found that change should be followed suit by another institution?
post #10 of 27
My guess is that it evolved from all of the attention to the er.... problems in the schools. So many coaches and teachers in NJ (at least), have been in the press (busted), and I'm not just talking about the few "hotties" that have made the national press.

Where do pervs go for action ...... where the kids are, so it's pretty logical.

Regarding drugs and alcohol, there is a high tolerance for it among the instructors and how much time is spent in the bar. If the PSIA were to adopt a similar standard I'd be you would see a 15% "attrition" rate.

Regarding hiring, my guess is that a racer who is looking for work and wants to return to skiing may walk in the door after a few years at college and based on past performance, start as a coach. Did they pick up a few "bad habits" along the way? What has transpired during those years of absence? I have watched a few very talented kids start hitting the skids once they hit their first years in high school and college.
post #11 of 27
looking for sex offeenders is great, if they have actually been charged/convicted....
i can think of two very high level coaches that were just "let go" when their trangressions were revealed and both were hired almost right away by other orgs or clubs, maybe the clubs/teams should at least check the references o the people they hire to start....
plus can anyone think of any other sport that has the amount of coach/athlete dating and/or then marriage that skiing has....?
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman View Post
... maybe the clubs/teams should at least check the references o the people they hire to start....
Except that the usual advice an employment lawyer gives you is that you never give a bad reference. Indeed, they usually say never to say anything except to confirm titles and dates of employment.

Quote:
plus can anyone think of any other sport that has the amount of coach/athlete dating and/or then marriage that skiing has....?
True. I don't know why, really. It famously complicated one racer's career in the US ....
post #13 of 27
It wouldn't hurt to raise the standards of knowledge, teaching and, for some, behavior in coaching for both skiing and boarding. I've seen many fine people coach who want to learn and then impart that to their athletes. I have also seen a large number of drugged out and drunken types who abuse their colleagues, make inappropriate comments to and about female coaches and athletes, and even bully younger coaches. If we can keep them out of the sport, all for the better. There is no place in coaching for these socially out of control thrill seeking personalities who are generally abusive. Friends I know who coach WC ski and WC board tell me that these types really ruin a lot of North American club experiences and are part of what holds NA athletes back. High level skiing and boarding are like playing the violin or learning to do scientific research. It takes years to learn and requires the proper social conditions for young people to grow into them. And, morally, when kids experience the downside of this behavior, they quit, become cynical or, worse of all, become "hard" and may perpetuate the cycle later in their own lives. Contrast those learning outcomes with why the kids got on the hill in first place and your can see where the USSA is headed.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
Except that the usual advice an employment lawyer gives you is that you never give a bad reference. Indeed, they usually say never to say anything except to confirm titles and dates of employment.
Recently, a number of states have provided a form of immunity to employers so that they may speak candidly about former employees so long as the statements are made in good faith despite their sometimes being subjective in nature (work attitudes, inappropriate language and behavior and the like.)
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
Recently, a number of states have provided a form of immunity to employers so that they may speak candidly....
Good to know.

And a good development too (in my humble opinion).
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fasterskis View Post
I’m not sure how I feel about the new policy. On one hand I understand the importance of keeping child molesters out of a youth program, but I think the insurance company has caused them to over react and I wonder how many coaches and officials they will lose due to exclusion or those who feel so strongly that it is an invasion of privacy, that they don’t re-new their membership. I wonder if they have a maximum attrition rate that will cause them to revamp the criterion. 25%? I’m guessing that there may be a lot of coaches or officials who have 2 DUIs or 1 drug offense. If they suddenly don’t show up for work next year, won’t people think that they are a sex offender?
Apparently they treat a marijuana paraphernalia misdemeanor the same as a child molester. I’m not sure why a DUI is a cause for exclusion. I understand that you might not want that person driving for insurance purposes, but how is that a threat to the athletes otherwise? This process also applies to all those volunteer USSA officials. I'm not sure that we can afford to lose too many of those kind of people. And it looks like item C. could be a bit vague.
I agree with you entirely. Nothing will actually get established with this. USSA stated to me, that they would not be allowed to make any statement to me in case that there is one person amongst my staff that would meet that criteria. This is one smells funny and you have to sell yet again all your Information to a source that cannot be trusted 100%.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fasterskis View Post
I’m not sure why a DUI is a cause for exclusion. I understand that you might not want that person driving for insurance purposes, but how is that a threat to the athletes otherwise?
I can appreciate your point, but the USSA might be going with current social science findings that find a higher incidence of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) in alcoholics, and more alcoholics have DUI's than non-alcoholics. So, they go with the stats in an attempt to clean house. Btw, ASPD types tend to have little or no regard for the safety of others, are deceitful, show a lack of remorse, etc. Maybe the USSA has its own findings and has concluded that too many coaches with DUI's are also difficult to work with or are not so good at coaching.
post #18 of 27
Quite frankly, if they do not show up for work next year because they have a problem with privacy issues and what people may think .... too darned bad!

Would I assume that if someone drifted off the radar because they failed to renew, I would not make the assumption that they are a molester but, I may make wonder if they fit into one of those categories.

For far too long, bad coaches with some real head problems were on the hill. The one coach that my son had was released the following year after I had complained that the kids were coming to me with her verbal abuse and tirades. I took it up with management and they did the ostrich head in the sand routine; the following year (I left), she was fired after she knocked a kid down while she had alcohol on her breath.

Regarding the coach that always wanted to take my son on overnights for some extra lessons, I never did approach management, I had nothing to go on but innuendo and my gut ........ my gut is usually right. Nonetheless, I am glad we bailed.

My renewal is in the mail ......
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
For far too long, bad coaches with some real head problems were on the hill. The one coach that my son had was released the following year after I had complained that the kids were coming to me with her verbal abuse and tirades. I took it up with management and they did the ostrich head in the sand routine; the following year (I left), she was fired after she knocked a kid down while she had alcohol on her breath.
You are right - too many bad coaches out there. You did the right thing to complain about your son's coach. That is what good parents do. Btw, I am not surprised that booze was involved, given the confrontational behavior and out-of-control personalities that I have seen some coaches exhibit after a few drinks.
post #20 of 27
Originally posted by Lostboy:
"Recently, a number of states have provided a form of immunity to employers so that they may speak candidly about former employees so long as the statements are made in good faith despite their sometimes being subjective in nature (work attitudes, inappropriate language and behavior and the like"


Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
Good to know.

And a good development too (in my humble opinion).
Really? So, if you were the employee in question, would that prevent you from having any access to knowledge of possibly unfounded or indefensible allegations or any recourse against them?
post #21 of 27
Hey, it's a humble opinion.

Something worth cultivating, I think (the humility part, anyway).
post #22 of 27
Got my card. Guess I passed. :-)
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
Hey, it's a humble opinion.

Something worth cultivating, I think (the humility part, anyway).
Agreed, but entirely beside the point.
post #24 of 27
Mine came too. I wonder what the problem is?
post #25 of 27
I would hope there would be no problem, however we ought to be aware that a potential for the abuse of innocent people exists whenever discussion is shielded from view. Obviously reasonable measures have to be taken to protect children and others from deviant behavior and this measure sounds like a reasonable precaution to me. I would think the more common form of abuse would be from those who fail to accept that their coaching and instruction exist as a service to those they are there to assist and instead try to live vicariously through the efforts and successes of those they are supposed to be there to help. I think we've all been aware of those coaches who blow up at their team members and who think more of winning than of the well-being of those they coach. I can think of no excuse for this behavior but I suspect that it is sometimes tolerated because parents themselves put such high value on winning.
post #26 of 27

Overdue

The change policy may have been prompted by the rape of a student at Beaver Creek last winter. The instructor is supposed to have been a long time employee and hired by the family over several seasons.
post #27 of 27
State statutes on limited employer liability, in states that have them, not surprisingly, vary somewhat. However, such laws generally provide employees a means to access to their personnel files and the opportunity to have errors corrected. Employers are typically immune from liability except where the employee can demonstrate that a representation was made in bad faith.

Refusal to correct a known personnel file error or a knowing misrepresentation about an employee which is detrimental to the employee and shared with a prospective new employer constitute the kind of things that could expose an employer to liability. Different states provide different damage remedies where bad faith is established. Both employees and employers can check with their state labor departments to see what the state law provides where they live.
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