Why is US Lacrosse requiring background screenings for coaches?

Recent federal legislation requires that more be done to protect youth athletes, and background screening is a standard tool utilized among Olympic national governing bodies. US Lacrosse believes that every youth athlete deserves a safe and fun experience, and background screenings for coaches is a valuable strategy that can help make the sport safer by keeping abusive behavior out of lacrosse. Unfortunately, the reality is that people who seek to abuse others or commit sexual offenses will often seek out groups, including youth serving organizations, that are not diligent in their preventative efforts. 

Are background screenings also offered for other membership categories?

Yes. US Lacrosse is now offering adult official members the voluntary option of a background screening. 

What does it cost?

There is no cost to member coaches or officals for the background screening service, which can normally range anywhere from $20-$75 depending on an individual's state of residence. 

Who does the background screening?

Background screenings for US Lacrosse members are completed by the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), one of the nation’s leading providers of background screening services and the exclusive background screening partner for US Lacrosse. NCSI was created in partnership with the National Council of Youth Sports, which represents more than 60 million participants and is recognized as one of the most influential sports advocacy organizations in the country. NCSI currently works with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and more than 50 national governing bodies in providing background screenings. For more information, please visit www.ncsisafe.com

I've already completed a background screening through my employer or another organization; why is US Lacrosse requiring that I complete another screening?

Clubs, schools, civic organizations, or employers complete background screenings that vary in type, resulting in differing degrees of thoroughness. NCSI's background screening utilizes consistent standards with similar levels of thoroughness for all coach and official members, ensuring that screening is uniform regardless of current occupation or state of residence.

How does a coach or official complete the background screening?

Adult coach members will receive an e-mail after completing the join/renew process for membership. This e-mail contains a link to complete the free national background screening through NCSI. This link is unique to each coach member, and should not be shared and given to any other individual. Coach members will have 15 calendar days to initiate the background screening upon joining or renewing membership. The following items will be needed: government issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.); list of addresses lived over the past five years; your social security number. A typical screening takes 2-3 business days, although some can take up to 10 days.

Please note that due to COVID-19, completion of background screenings may be slightly delayed due to court closures. US Lacrosse strongly recommends that you complete your background screening application as early as possible before the start of your season.

Adult coach members who have not completed the national background screening, and game officials who are voluntarily completing the background screening, can do so by using the My Account feature on uslacrosse.org. Before you begin, make sure you have the following things on-hand: government issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.); list of addresses lived over the past five years; and your social security number. Then follow these steps:
   • Login to My Account on www.USLacrosse.org   
   • The background screening link can be accessed in two ways. 1) Scroll down your My Account home screen and click the link on the left-hand side under Background Check Status; 2) Click the red menu button in the top left corner of your screen and select Background Check.

Why am I being asked to provide my Social Security number? Is my personal information secure?

NCSI uses strict identity verification methods in order to ensure that background screens are thorough and for the correct individual. The SSN required is only used for identity verification, and is not utilized in any other manner (ie: credit reports). US Lacrosse does not have access to any personal information that is provided to NCSI for the background screening, and NCSI employs multiple safeguards and security measures to protect personal information that is provided. For more information on NCSI and its security measures, please visit www.nscisafe.com

Are background checks required by other youth organizations?

All national governing bodies in the Olympic movement require national background checks. Future recognition of US Lacrosse as a national governing body by the USOC requires this same compliance. Additionally, most schools, places of worship, and youth-serving organizations require some type of screening, though many are not national. 

What criteria does US Lacrosse utilize in the background screening?

The current background screening by NCSI on behalf of US Lacrosse reflects criterion offenses recommended by the National Council for Youth Sports (NCYS) guidelines, the FBI PROTECT Act, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). These criterion offenses include:
R1: Any felony (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 or pled nolo contendere. If pled down, then the crime to which the defendant ultimately pled.
  b. Defined as all crimes punishable greater than one year in jail or prior, regardless of how characterized by jurisdiction. If range, alternate sentencing, or indeterminate sentencing, outer range greater than one year.
R2: Any lesser crime involving force or threat of force against a person
R3: Any lesser crime in which sexual relations is an element, including “victimless” crimes of a sexual nature (including pornography)
R4: Any lesser crime involving controlled substances (not paraphernalia or alcohol)
R5: Any lesser crime involving cruelty to animals
R6: Any sex offender registrant
R7: Any lesser crime involving harm to minors

For more information on criterion offenses and the background screening policy, please see the Criminal Background Screening Policy for US Lacrosse, which can be found at uslacrosse.org/safesport.

What happens if I am found to have disqualifying criterion on my background screening?

You will be issued a “Red Light” by NCSI and US Lacrosse. Your membership and associated benefits will immediately be suspended and not considered an active membership. Through NCSI you will be given the opportunity to dispute erroneous findings prior to the time of the issuance of the red light. If you do not dispute NCSI’s findings, you will receive notification of your membership suspension by e-mail from NCSI on behalf of US Lacrosse. This e-mail will also provide information on the required US Lacrosse Membership Appeals process. Through US Lacrosse you may submit an appeal per the instruction furnished to you. Based on the outcome of the appeal, your USL membership may be reinstated or your membership could be revoked permanently. Each “Red Light” determination is handled on a case-by-case basis.

If further questions regarding your membership or background screenings, please contact the US Lacrosse Member Experience team at 410-235-6882 x102, or the US Lacrosse SafeSport Program manager at 410-235-6882 x225.