Q: What is Safe Play and the Safe Play Approval process?
A: The USTA Safe Play Program is the USTA’s athlete safeguarding program. The Safe Play Approval process consists of three steps: (1) Personal Information; (2) SafeSport training & Acknowledging the Safe Play Policies; and (3) Criminal Background Screening.
The SafeSport training and Safe Play Policy Acknowledgment are annual requirements. The training is a four-part cycle that consists of the US Center for SafeSport’s 90 minute “Core Center for SafeSport Training” and 30-minute “Refresher 1”, “Refresher 2” and “Refresher 3” courses. The cycle will start again with the Core Center for SafeSport Training the calendar year following the completion of Refresher 3. The criminal background screening is required every two years.
2. What type of offenses are being screened for?
The following offenses are a sampling of what is being screened for when a background check is performed. The USTA does not include an Applicant’s credit information in its background screen. 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 in compliance with the USTA’s Safe Play program.
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.
3. Who conducts the background screens for Safe Play?
The National Center for Safety Initiatives provides a secure website for individuals to submit their background information for screening. The National Center for Safety Initiatives is designed to ensure adherence with federal rules and regulations regarding background screening. In order to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information, the background screen process must be completed online.
4. During the background screen process I must provide my social security number. Why?
The social security number provides the necessary information (along with your name and date of birth) to produce the most thorough and accurate background screen. Screening based on name, date of birth, address history and social security number is standard throughout the industry. The Fair Credit Reporting Act is the federal statute that outlines the basic laws and regulations that govern the background screening industry. Please note, that the National Center for Safety Initiatives will not share your social security number with the USTA or any other entity.
If you do not have a social security number, please contact the USTA.
5. What if I previously had a background check performed through another organization or agency?
You will still be required to have a background check performed through the USTA. The USTA is unable to rely on information compiled by another organization or agency. As various organizations, businesses, and agencies use different criteria to determine eligibility for approving an individual’s background screen, the USTA cannot rely on those results.
6. What happens if the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) needs additional information from me?
NCSI will send a notice to you via e-mail with the relevant instructions. This notice will come to you from Compliance@ncsisafe.com in the days following your initial application. It is very important that you check your e-mail and respond promptly to this request, since your background screening will be on hold until you respond. Please add ncsisafe.com to your accepted email domain list to receive notifications from NCSI. Additionally, you will be able to see that additional information is needed by checking your status at NCSI's website.
If additional information is needed, NCSI will contact you (via an email) with two notices:
First Notice - generally sent within first three (3) days of your application, requesting additional information or asking you to contact NCSI.
Second Notice - sent three (3) to five (5) days after First Notice if response is not received, requesting additional information or asking you to contact NCSI.
NCSI will send you a confirmation notice once your information is received and processed. Processing of this additional information may take up to two business days.
During the course of the background screening process, there may be times that NCSI will request identification verification in order to complete the review. Generally, this will occur if there is conflicting information relating to the name(s) and/or date of birth provided, compared with that sourced through the investigative process. If additional information is needed, you will be required to present a valid form of identification, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, or passport in order to verify your information. NCSI respects your personal privacy and only requests information that is reasonable and related to the issue being verified.
7. Can I check the status of my background check online?
You can check the status of your background screening by emailing email@example.com or calling 866-996-7412.
NCSI may need to contact you to verify information submitted on your application. Please check your email inbox for messages from the secure NCSI server: firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. What should I do if my screening returns incorrect or inaccurate criminal information?
There will be times, particularly if you have a very common name, when a background screening will return information that doesn’t belong to you. When such information results in a "negative" initial screen, you will be advised of the negative information by the National Center for Safety Initiatives and the following guidelines will apply to dispute the initial screen:
The National Center for Safety Initiatives will notify you by e-mail of the finding and provide you the opportunity to dispute the negative information.
In order to maintain the confidentiality of your screen results do not contact anyone at the USTA. You must work with the National Center for Safety Initiatives to dispute information.
The National Center for Safety Initiatives will generally respond by telephone or via email within 24 hours to discuss the concern and gather the necessary information to research the question.
In order to research disputed information in a background screen, the National Center for Safety Initiatives must perform a physical search of records in the county reporting the disputed information. Depending on the county and state, this search could take up to 30 days.
9. What if I don’t have a social security number or my primary residence is outside of the United States?
Please contact the USTA.
10. Who can I contact with questions?
For all questions related to the background screen system, please contact:
The National Center for Safety Initiatives
Phone: (866) 833-7100
For all policy-related questions, please contact:
United States Tennis Association
**Please be advised that the background screening program is subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of the USTA.**