The world of professional sports is no stranger to controversy—steroids, gambling, drinking—it’s become an unfortunate side effect of our country’s love affair with professional sports. Even amateur sports like college football and basketball, which were once seen as immune to the problems of professional sports organizations and were supposed to be about “the love of the game,” have been racked with scandal. The recent Penn State scandal may have trumped them all. Even if you know nothing about sports, have never watched a college football game and have never heard of the legendary Joe Paterno—you do now.
The legendary Joe Paterno’s assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, is being charged with 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. However, when news of the scandal broke, Paterno was fired after 46 years as Penn State’s head coach.
So what does the Penn State scandal have to do with youth sports administrators?
One of the most important lessons to be learned from the Penn State scandal is that, as a sports administrator, we are responsible for the safety and well being of youth athletes; it is up to us to protect them. Joe Paterno claims he had no knowledge of the sexual abuse going on, but that doesn’t make him any less culpable to the public, the boys abused and Penn State. Many have raised their concern over how something this horrible could go on for so long and no one raised the alarm. It is the duty as the sports administrator to know who is working with the athletes and be able to identify any inappropriate behavior immediately. We have the ability to stop child sexual abuse before it even begins.
The first step in protecting youth athletes is to run a background check on any and all volunteers that want to work within the organization. This includes coaches, officials, volunteers and so forth. Being the gatekeeper to the organization; who is being let in?
SportsSignup recognizes the importance of volunteer background checks, especially when it comes to working with kids. That is why we created KidSafePlus, a volunteer background checking solution to help sports administrators automate, streamline, and secure the coach and volunteer background check process, and ensure full compliance with Federal Reporting rules. Our partner, LexisNexis, searches a database of 200 million criminal records and uses Social Security Number Verification to make sure that person is who they say they are.
Click here to learn more about KidSafePlus and how you can better protect your youth athletes.