USOC won’t create central list of banned coaches

The U.S. Olympic Committee will ”encourage” but not require

sports’ national governing bodies to adopt standardized policies to

prevent abuse.

A report released Tuesday by a 10-person task force does not

recommend setting up a centralized database of banned coaches to

keep offenders from jumping from sport to sport. Four-time Olympic

cross country skier Nina Kemppel, who led the task force, said

members discussed the possibility at length but decided smaller

organizations don’t have sufficient resources to make such a

program work.

”In the future I absolutely would hope this could become a

reality,” she said on a conference call. ”I think the

practicality of doing this right now across all NGBs would be very

difficult.”

The task force, which included a psychiatrist, lawyers and

representatives from governing bodies, presented its report to the

USOC board over the weekend. It recommends that the USOC develop a

set of training materials and standardized procedures.

CEO Scott Blackmun said he didn’t expect resistance from the

more than 30 Olympic sports, but the USOC hadn’t decided how to

react if any governing bodies fail to adopt the standards.

As with the centralized database, the cost of background checks

and other preventive measures is a major hurdle for smaller groups.

Asked if the USOC would provide funds to governing bodies, Blackmun

said the board needed time to study the budget implications of the

recommendations.

Kemppel said the USOC could negotiate discounts with companies

that provide background checks to drive down the cost for governing

bodies. She also noted that there are other effective screening

methods in addition to background checks, such as contacting past

employers and references.

But those, like background checks, require resources that

smaller organizations may lack.

The issue of abuse in sports has been in the spotlight in recent

months with a series of allegations involving USA Swimming,

although the USOC did not want its announcement of the task force

in May portrayed as a direct reaction to those problems.

”The working group unanimously came to the conclusion that

sexual and physical misconduct is a real issue we need to address

both within our society and within sports,” Kemppel said, ”and

thus really recommended that the USOC take a leadership role in

helping to promote the overall awareness as well as the education

behind that.”