PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE AMATEUR SPORT ACT TO ADVANCE ATHLETE WELFARE AND SAFETY
by Katherine Starr
Unlike athletes and students in schools and colleges who are protected by Title IX’s sexual harassment and abuse provisions, athletes in open amateur sports are currently unprotected from coach or sport leader misconduct except by criminal law. While the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has promulgated recommended policies, it does not require its national sport governing bodies (NGBs) nor the local organizations and coaches who are members of these championship conducting entities, to have such protections in place. Thus, children and adult participants in non-school youth sports programs nationwide are vulnerable to pedophiles and unethical coaches who use parent and athlete respect for their positions to manipulate their athletes to engage in inappropriate relationships and sexual exploitation.
STAYING IN BOUNDS
Why a Policy on Relationships with Student-Athletes?
Sexual relationships between coaches and student-athletes have become a serious problem. NCAA member
institutions must unambiguously and effectively prohibit such relationships to ensure that sport programs offer
a safe and empowering experience for all student-athletes.
This NCAA resource is designed to educate member institutions and their student-athletes about why sexual
or romantic relationships between athletics department staff and student-athletes are inappropriate, how to
avoid those relationships, and what to do if they occur. When adopted and enforced by institutions of higher
learning, this model policy will help create a safe, healthy environment on college campuses. Although most of
the examples offered herein refer to coaches, the policy is intended to provide clear guidance for all members
of the athletics department (including coaches, administrators, athletics trainers, and other staff), as well as
student-athletes and parents.
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Download the USOC Coaching Ethics Code - required by all coaches when adopting a safe4athletes program.
UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE COACHING ETHICS CODE
This Ethics Code is intended to provide standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the USOC and its member organizations that choose to adopt them. Whether or not a coach has violated the Ethics Code does not by itself determine whether he or she is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur. These results are based on legal rather than ethical rules. However, compliance with or violation of the Ethics Code may be admissible as evidence in some legal proceedings, depending on the circumstances.
This Code is intended to provide both the general principles and the decision rules to cover most situations encountered by coaches. It has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom coaches work. This Code also provides a common set of values upon which coaches build their professional work. It is the individual responsibility of each coach to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. Coaches respect and protect human and civil rights, and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
By now all of have heard about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his non- action in response to the Sandusky incident (an assistant coach caught in a sexual act with a young boy). I would describe Paterno as playing the role of a “bystander”. According to Merriam-Webster a bystander can be described as one present but not taking part in a situation or event ; a chance spectator.
I got to thinking about this bystander behavior as I read about the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim club officials who were purported to have been aware of a coach-athlete sexual relationship with a sixteen year old girl as far back as 2006, but who did nothing. At first glance one could argue that we should address the policy issue that no coach should be in a relationship with an athlete regardless of consent or age, which we should be the case, no question there. However , the deeper issue here is the question of knowledge of the situation and why neither club officials, coaches nor parents responded to it responsibly?
The Orange County Register brought light to the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim team up and coming young coach Daniel Ad’m Dunesbury and his alleged relationship with a sixteen-year-old swimmer that occurred back in 2006. Click here to read the entire article.
Sexual abuse in sports of a young athlete is often not immediately recognized or understood, however over time everyone around the situation is affected in some way shape or form.
This situation is a perfect example why it is difficult for a young girl to speak up about the abuse. This response focuses on even the alleged victim unwillingness to come forward (Risk reward for the girl, there isn't any for saying something happened) and the timeline as to how they reacted.
Download the Safe4Athletes Brochure
- Available for Print or Download
Sexual Exploitation in Sports
Sexual exploitation in sports is not substantially different from sexual exploitation by an educator. However, because of the unique relationship between athletes and coaches, some additional issues need to be addressed.
Millions of children in the United States participate in school or community-based sports programs. Some of the many benefits to these children are learning responsibility, increased self-confidence, positive self-image, learning teamwork, and learning good sportsmanship. Although generally a positive experience, some young athletes risk being sexually abused by their coaches. Reports of coaches being charged with abuse, exploitation, and rape are becoming more and more common.
4 UNIVERSITIES AND HIGH SCHOOLS HANDBOOK
Revised March 2013
Schools and colleges that are recipients of federal funds are obligated to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and its specific obligations related to sexual harassment and gender equity. Athletics directors should consult with the institution’s Title IX coordinator and legal counsel to ensure that all adopted policies and procedures conform to these laws.
DOWNLOAD THE HANDBOOK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO IMPLEMENT A SAFE4ATHLETES PROGRAM FOR YOUR SCHOOL
The Olympics are fast approaching. Who doesn't love watching these glorious athletes defy the laws of gravity, overcome adversity, and battle staunch competition to soar beyond our imaginations? Who isn't swept up watching Shawn Johnson win the gold medal on balance beam, or Usain Bolt dash across the finish line, or Michael Phelps cut through the water to break every record many times over? We love our athletes. They inspire us, they make us believe the impossible is possible, and, truthfully, they ignite our belief in our own humanity. That's a tall order, but these athletes, many of them children, do this for us time and time again.
Elite Child Athlete Welfare Handbook
The Symposium on which this book is based took place at Brunel University, UK on 17 and 18th June 2010. Participants included researchers from sociology, psychology and sports medicine, policy makers from national and international sport and welfare organisations, and practitioners from various national and international sport governing bodies. All are committed to promoting the best in sport and preventing the worst, and to ensuring that young athletes realise their own potential in the safest possible environment. The purpose of this introductory chapter is to set the scene for the other contributions in the book and to offer some potential frameworks for devising research and policy agendas in this field.
Recent reviews of talent identification and youth sport in the sport science literature are summarised and critiqued in relation to athlete welfare. In particular, it is argued that the ‘time-economic motive’ (Vaeyens et al., 2009) has undermined the prospects for delivering children’s rights in elite sport. The work of Coté and colleagues (2003) is used to illustrate a wider approach to welfare in sport that opens up some possibilities for re-balancing both the discourses and the practices of elite sport for children. The case of Tom Daley, child Olympic diver, is used to highlight some of the welfare challenges facing sport organisations, support staff and others in their attempts to scaffold talented young athletes. Contradictions and tensions are set out that are intended to guide thinking on how best to cater for the welfare of the elite child athlete.