USTA Safe Play FAQs
1. What is Safe Play?
The USTA Safe Play Program is the USTA’s athlete safeguarding program. The Safe Play process is comprised of three steps: (1) SafeSport training; (2) acknowledging the Safe Play Policies; and (3) background screening.
The SafeSport training is an annual requirement. The US Center for SafeSport’s 90 minute “Core Center for SafeSport Training” is a one-time training; a refresher course will be required on an annual basis effective the calendar year following the completion of the Core Center for SafeSport Training. The Safe Play Policy acknowledgement and background screening are required every two years.
2. Is there a way I can check my Safe Play status?
You can check your Safe Play status on www.usta.com/safeplay by clicking “Check Your Status”. If you are in compliance with Safe Play, the system will display all three of your expiration dates. If you have an incomplete or expired step(s), the system will prompt you to complete that step(s).
Others can check your compliance by using the “Find Approved Coaches & More” search tool found on www.usta.com/safeplay. If you are in compliance, the earliest of your three expiration dates will be displayed.
3. The SafeSport training is not streaming properly. What can I do?
Users should take the course on a desktop or laptop computer (non-mobile device) using the latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge (we would recommend against Safari and the old Internet Explorer). If you are already in one of these preferred web browsers, please switch to the other. You can also try clearing the cache and cookies from your current browser. If that does not work to solve the problem, please also note that some school or work networks have firewalls that keep the courses from streaming. You may need to attempt to take the course on a home network if this is the case. Should you need additional assistance, the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Help Desk can be contacted at email@example.com.
4. What types of offenses are being screened for?
Any background check that results in a report of a disposition or resolution of a criminal proceeding, other than an adjudication of not guilty, for any of the below criminal offenses will be subject to the USTA’s policies and procedures to determine the individual’s level of access and involvement.
1. Any felony. A felony shall refer to any criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
2. Any misdemeanor involving:
a. All sexual crimes, criminal offenses of a sexual nature to include but not limited to; rape, child molestation, sexual battery, lewd conduct, possession and distribution of child pornography, possession and distribution of obscene material, prostitution, indecent exposure, public indecency, and any sex offender registrant;
b. Any drug related offenses;
c. Harm to a minor and vulnerable person, including but not limited to, offenses such as child abandonment, child endangerment/neglect/abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and DUI with a minor;
d. Violence against a person (including crimes involving firearms and domestic violence);
e. Stalking, harassment, blackmail, violation of a protection order and/or threats;
f. Destruction of property, including arson, vandalism, and criminal mischief; and
g. Animal abuse or neglect.
5. Who conducts the background screens for Safe Play?
The National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) provides a secure website for individuals to submit their background information for screening. NCSI 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.
6. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. 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. As various organizations, businesses, and agencies use different criteria to determine eligibility for approving an individual’s background screen, the USTA cannot rely on the results compiled by another organization or agency. The only exception may be for a background screen conducted by the National Center for Safety Initiatives for another National Governing Body. In this instance, you will be able to share your results of that background screen with the USTA. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
8. 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.
9. Can I check the status of my background check online?
You can check the status of your background screening by logging into www.ncsisafe.com/status. At the time you first register you will receive an e-mail confirmation from NCSI with a unique ID number. This ID number can be used when going to the NCSI site to login to check your status. You are encouraged to check this site regularly and also as a means of verifying the legitimacy of any e-mail request you may receive. For security purposes, NCSI does not provide verbal status of background screenings to applicants.
10. 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.
11. What if I don’t have a social security number or my primary residence is outside of the United States?
Please contact the USTA.
12. 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 Safe Play Policy and the background screening program are subject to change without notice at the sole discretion of the USTA.**