The mission statement of the United States Tennis Association ("USTA") is To Promote and Develop the Growth of Tennis. In pursuing its mission, ensuring the safety of all participants is of paramount importance to the USTA. As such, the USTA has expanded its criminal background screening policy as a legitimate business necessity to further its mission.
Criminal background screenings have been implemented by the USTA in order to:
- Ensure a safe, secure, and fun environment for participants to compete and continue to develop and enhance their skills;
- Provide parents and legal guardians with a sense of security for their children; and
- Deter individuals with ill-intentions.
Background screening is designed as a preventative measure. It is not a guarantee against incidents of inappropriate behavior or criminal activity. The USTA encourages parents and legal guardians to play an active role in their child’s development, both on and off the court, to ensure their well-being.
The USTA has required background checks for a number of years for various segments of its organization, but has recently expanded its national background screening program, effective January 1, 2011, that is required for all officials seeking USTA certification, and all coaches, athletic trainers, and massage therapists (collectively, "Applicants") eighteen (18) years of age or older with primary residence in the United States seeking to be contracted by the United States Tennis Association Incorporated (National), USTA National Tennis Center Incorporated, and USTA Player Development Incorporated (collectively, "USTA") to perform services.
The USTA has retained the services of an independent third-party, the National Center for Safety Initiatives, to conduct background screenings of all Applicants.
Who must submit to a background screen and how often?
Every odd year (2011, 2013, etc.), all officials seeking USTA certification, and all coaches, athletic trainers, and massage therapists eighteen (18) years of age or older with primary residence in the United States seeking to be contracted by the USTA (National) to perform services must submit to a background screening ("Biennial Screening"). Once an Applicant receives clearance through the Biennial Screening, the Applicant will be considered in good standing until the next Biennial Screening; provided, however, should the USTA become aware of any potential change in status (i.e., criminal activity), USTA shall have the right to demand additional background screening at any time. Additionally, it shall be the continuing obligation of all Applicants to inform the USTA if there has been any change in their status (i.e., criminal activity). If an Applicant does not pass the Biennial Screening (as determined by the National Center for Safety Initiatives), the Applicant will not be certified by the USTA (where USTA provides certifications) and the USTA will not contract that Applicant to provide services.
Cost of Background Check
The USTA has agreed to pay the fee of the Biennial Screening for all Applicants who are members of the USTA in good standing at such time that the Biennial Screening is performed. All Applicants that are USTA Members in good standing will be prompted to enter their valid USTA Membership number during the Biennial Screening process. Applicants who are not USTA Members in good standing are encouraged to become USTA Members prior to the Biennial Screening as Applicants who are not USTA Members in good standing will be responsible for the fees associated with the Biennial Screening ($20 base fee plus transaction fee will be prompted during Biennial Screening process; provided however, additional fees may apply depending on Applicants place of residence and/or should additional information be required by the National Center for Safety Initiatives to complete the Biennial Screening at which time the Applicant will be notified and required to pay any difference). Please be advised that the USTA does not financially benefit from the cost of the Biennial Screening.
Background Screen Submission
The National Center for Safety Initiatives provides a secure website for Applicants to submit their personal information for screening. The National Center for Safety Initiatives system provides the highest level of security and was designed to ensure adherence with federal rules and regulations regarding background screening. In order to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information in the Biennial Screening, the Biennial Screening process must be completed online.
Offenses Screened For
The following offenses are a sampling of what is being screened for when a background check is performed and the USTA reserves the right to consider additional crimes should it determine in its sole discretion that such addition would be in the best interest of its participants. Reportable convictions for, disclosure of convictions for, and pending dispositions for any of the following criminal offenses, or registrations will prompt a determination that an applicant does not meet the criteria to be certified by the USTA as an official, or contracted by USTA as a coach, athletic trainer, or massage therapist.
Reportable convictions for, disclosures of convictions for, and pending dispositions for any of the following criminal offenses, or registrations will prompt a determination that an applicant does not meet the criteria for participation:
1. Any felony including an element of violence regardless of the amount of time since the offense, and any non-violent felony within the past fifteen (15) years (felony defined as any crime punishable by confinement greater than one year).
a. Defined on the basis of exposure for the offense for which the defendant was convicted, pled guilty, pled nolo contendere or which is pending a disposition. If pled down, then the crime for which the defendant ultimately was convicted.
b. Defined as all crimes punishable by greater than one year in jail or prison, regardless of how characterized by jurisdiction. If range, alternate sentencing, or indeterminate sentencing, outer range greater than one year.
2. Any lesser crime involving force or threat of force against a person regardless of the amount of time since the offense.
3. Any lesser crime, regardless of the amount of time since the offense, of a sexual nature or classified as a sex offense including but not limited to "victimless" crimes of a sexual nature such as prostitution, pornography, indecent exposure, and crimes in which sexual relations is an element.
4. Any lesser crime within the past ten (10) years involving controlled substances (not paraphernalia or alcohol).
5. Any lesser crime within the past fifteen (15) years involving cruelty to animals.
6. Any sex offender registrant.
7. Any lesser crime within the past ten (10) years involving harm to a minor not included in numbers 1 – 6 above.
Criminal offenses include "Attempted Crimes" in the above classifications
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information, please read the Frequently Asked Questions page.
**PLEASE BE AVISED THAT THE BACKGROUND SCREENING PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE USTA**