The following is the a synopsis of a response from Nate Boudreaux related to the challenges experienced by our membership. I see the genie has come out of the bottle once we review the recent settlements with sports and youth organizations coupled with the "me too" movement. A recent letter from a Senate subcommittee confirms that groups and organizations like USAWSWS are being audited or monitored.
I will try to share the ongoing conversations from the board and headquarters as information is shared that addresses our dilemma.
Many of the concerns people have brought up have been discussed previously by the USA-WSWS board of directors. As most of you know, these decisions were made with the best interest of the organization in mind, especially the safety of our young members who make up 25% of the USA-WSWS membership. Essentially there are two driving factors 1) making best efforts to protect our minor athletes and 2) liability concerns/challenges in obtaining general liability insurance that includes coverage for sexual abuse (as well as head trauma/concussion).
I will be updating the full USA-WSWS board regarding our insurance task force’s recent discussion with the insurance broker soon. We had that call on Thursday. In short, it is a very challenging insurance market (see attached marketing summary) and those carriers willing to write insurance that include coverage for sexual abuse want to see compliance (Safe Sport and background checks for specific individuals) and enforcement efforts down to the grassroots level to even qualify for coverage. It was a very eye-opening discussion. Without the proper insurance coverage in place along with proactive educational measures, one claim against the organization alleging lack of oversight or failure to protect young athletes could be crippling (see a recent sexual abuse settlement that USA Water Polo went through - https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/us/water-polo-abuse-settlement.html).
We are making some headway regarding background checks for officials and that will be discussed at the January board meeting. We received a clarification recently that only USA-WSWS “approved or assigned” judges would be subject to the USOPC background screen requirement for officials. That would mean only Nationals and above judges would be required to have a background check. There is misinformation circulating that all members need to be background screened – that is not true.
There will also be an email going out this week to all members to address many of these concerns and to try to help explain “The Why” behind Safe Sport - https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Water-Ski/About-Us/The-Why---USA-WSWS. I will also be hosting a virtual Town Hall in early January along with Bob A. and Doug R. and will invite our insurance broker to join to hopefully help explain things a bit more.
As it relates to giving your social security number for a background screen, this is not a USA-WSWS decision. After discussion with NCSI, our vendor, It is my understanding that no screening company can conduct a throughout background screen without this information. You are correct in that you do not need to input the number into the online system if you do not feel comfortable; however, they will need the number in order to conduct an adequate search.
Thanks again for the below. Your comments/concerns are noted.
Have a good holiday.
Nate Boudreaux Executive Director USA Water Ski & Wake Sports email@example.com