USTA BACKGROUND SCREENING POLICY
Pursuant to Section 8.7(l) of the Bylaws of the U.S. Olympic Committee (2016), of which the USTA is a member as the National Governing Body for the sport of tennis, the following individuals must meet the USTA Safe Play and SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement: (i) USTA-certified individuals; and (ii) individuals whom the USTA formally authorizes, approves, or appoints to a position of authority over or to have frequent contact with, minor athletes; and (iii) any other individual participating in activities or affairs of the USTA who are subject to the USTA’s Safe Play policies and disciplinary procedures (“Covered Individuals”). Covered Individuals include coaches and player support personnel, such as athletic trainers. For the avoidance of doubt, Covered Individuals include individuals within the remit of USTA Player Development Incorporated, the USTA National Tennis Center Incorporated, and the USTA Foundation Incorporated and does not apply to Sectional Associations or Organization Members; however, the USTA strongly encourages Sectional Associations and Organization Members to adopt similar USTA Safe Play policies and disciplinary procedures.ADVERTISEMENT
Criminal background checks will be conducted for Covered Individuals at least every two years.
The categories of individuals background screened includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- US USTA Certified Officials
- Independent contractors falling within the definition of a Covered Individual
- Volunteer coaches for USTA Junior Team Tennis
- All Net Generation tennis providers
- Pro Circuit Tournament Directors
- USTA Junior Sanctioned Tournament Directors
- USTA Board of Directors
- USTA staff tennis professionals
- Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Volunteers
- US Open Volunteers
- USTA National Campus Ambassadors
- Davis Cup and Fed Cup Volunteers
- Anti-Doping Chaperones during the US Open
- USTA Player Development Incorporated Staff
- USTA National Tennis Center Incorporated Tennis Professional Staff
Background Screen Submission
The USTA has retained the services of an independent third-party, the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), to conduct background screens.
NCSI provides a website for Covered Individuals to submit their information for screening. The NCSI system is designed to ensure adherence with federal rules and regulations regarding background screening. The background screening process must be completed online.
Offenses Screened For
The offenses listed below are a sampling of what is being screened for when a background check is performed. The USTA reserves the right to consider additional crimes should it determine, in its sole discretion, that it would be in the best interest of its participants. Reportable convictions for, disclosure of convictions for, and pending dispositions for, any of the offenses listed below, or registrations will prompt a determination that a Covered Individual does not meet the USTA Safe Play criteria.
Reportable convictions for, disclosures of convictions for, and pending dispositions for any of the following criminal offenses, or registrations will prompt a determination that a Covered Individual 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 classification.
Motor Vehicle Reports
In limited instances, the USTA may require a Covered Individual also be subject to a motor vehicle report check. Prior to any review of motor vehicle reports, the USTA will procure the Covered Individual’s permission.
Full Disclosure & Ongoing Obligation
Once a Covered Individual has successfully met the USTA Safe Play criteria, the Covered Individual will be considered in good standing until the expiration of their background screen, as applicable; provided, however, if within that period the USTA becomes aware of any potential change in status (e.g., criminal activity) either through information received by the Covered Individual, the media, or otherwise, the USTA shall have the right to conduct additional background screening at any time and should the findings meet the criteria outlined above, the USTA shall have the right to immediately withdraw the Covered Individual’s good standing status. The Covered Individual has an ongoing obligation, prior to the expiration of their background screen, to inform the USTA if there has been any change in their status (e.g., criminal activity).
The USTA shall, to the extent it is able, enforce any suspension or other sanction issued by the SafeSport Entity or any other National Governing Body against a Covered Individual, even if arising from allegations occurring outside of USTA programs or sanctioned tournaments and events.
Based on the above-referenced criteria, a Covered Individual’s background screen review will return with either a “green light” or “red light” finding. A green light means that NCSI located no records that meet the USTA’s background screen criteria. A red light finding means the criminal background check revealed criminal records which suggest the Covered Individual does not meet the criteria. A red light finding may also mean that NCSI is requiring additional information from the Covered Individual and that until that information is received, NCSI cannot proceed with the background screen review.
Appeals Based on Accuracy of Background Screen Results
If a Covered Individual receives a red light finding based on records in which the Covered Individual determines are inaccurate, the Covered Individual may challenge the accuracy of the report directly with the background screening vendor, NCSI, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1 (866) 833-7100 x196.
Appeals to the USTA Based on an Accurate Red Light Finding
Covered Individuals who receive an accurate red light determination have thirty (30) days from the date of determination to request an appeal. The Appeal shall be made to the USTA’s Safe Play Review Panel. To initiate the appeal, the Covered Individual must:
i. Provide an email with the subject line “Background Screen Appeal” to email@example.com.
ii. Within that email provide full name, contact email, phone number and a brief description of the position sought; AND
iii. Provide a reasonable description of the grounds for disqualification and any information that might be useful for the Review Panel to know including references and the Covered Individual’s influence on tennis.
In making a final determination, the Review Panel will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the disqualifying matter, the dates in which the matter occurred, and the overall impact of the matter on the relevant USTA program, event or tournament position sought. The Review Panel may take up to fourteen (14) business days to process the appeal once it is received. Notice will be provided to the Covered Individual with the Review Panel’s decision. The Review Panel’s determination is final and binding. Should the Review Panel grant the appeal, the Covered Individual will be required to complete a new background screen and submit a subsequent appeal (as applicable) again in two (2) years from the date of the original determination by NCSI.
In the event a similar appeal has already been conducted by another National Governing Body and that appeal resulted in disqualification of the Covered Individual, the USTA shall, to the extent it is able, uphold the same determination. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we will answer logistical questions, as well as questions about the process, but cannot answer questions that the Review Panel will address, such as whether or not you will be successful on the appeal.
Absent good cause shown, appeals not emailed within 30 days are barred. Individuals with a red light determination who do not appeal or do not prevail on appeal will be not be permitted to apply to the Safe Play program for a period of two (2) years.
COST OF A BACKGROUND SCREEN
Current USTA Individual Members (as defined in USTA Bylaw 8) or individuals seeking to become USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteers or Net Generation Providers will not be subject to the background screen fee. If you do not fall into any of these categories, you will be responsible for the fees associated with the background screen ($20 base fee plus transaction fee will be prompted during screening process; provided however, additional fees may apply based on an individual’s place of residence and/or should additional information be required by NCSI to complete the screening at which time the Covered Individual will be notified and required to pay any difference).
The USTA does not financially benefit from the cost of the background screen.
**Please be advised that this background screening policy is subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of the USTA.**
Updated February 5, 2019