For this complete list of Frequently Asked Questions please click here.

1. Why is a background check required to be a USATF Registered Coach?
Background Checks are a standard procedure used by the U.S. Olympic Committee, which highly recommends the practice to its national governing body members. Background checks have been implemented by USATF to ensure that athletes and their Registered Coaches train and compete in an environment that is safe for themselves and others. It also is a means to establish a standard for Registered Coaches, so athletes and the public can feel assured that their coach has a background that does not conflict with their interests or safety.

Please note, this screening is not intended to serve as a pre-employment background screening program, nor can screening guarantee that incidents of abuse will not occur.  Background screening is designed as a preventative risk management tool, but does not insure that future inappropriate behavior will not occur.

2. Who conducts the background screens?
USATF has selected the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) to conduct the background checks.  NCSI is a nationally respected screening firm used by many prominent organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Committee. Its Web site is http://www.ncsisafe.com/

3. What types of offenses are being screened for?
NCSI screens for criminal convictions and pending criminal cases. Screening includes identity verification, a national criminal database search, OFAC terrorist database search, sex offender registry search of all available states and at least one county search of residency within the last five years.

4. During the application 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 (FCRA) is the federal statute that outlines the basic laws and regulations that govern the background screening industry. It is also important to note that NCSI will not share your SSN with USA Track & Field or any other entity.

5. What if an individual has previously had a background check performed?
The coach will still be required to have a background check performed by NCSI, on behalf of USATF.  The current reality of the industry is that there is no national clearinghouse for this type of information. Additionally, there are no standard criteria by which search reports are evaluated.  Various organizations, businesses, and agencies use different criteria to determine eligibility for approving an individual’s background screen.  And, because of privacy concerns and certain requirements imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is significant reluctance to share information between organizations.

6. How do we know if my application has been approved?
Coaches who have successfully completed the USATF Registered Coach application process (including having a current USATF membership and successful background screen) will have their names posted on the USATF Online Coaches Registry  as being in “good standing.”

A coach’s name will not appear on the USATF Coaches Registry web site if:

  1. He/She is not a current USATF member;
  2. He/She has not submitted a background screen application during the current membership year; or
  3. His/Her Registered Coach application is denied due to information revealed during the background screening process.


Note also that a coach’s name may be removed if information comes to light indicating there are in breach of the Code of Conduct or have displayed a pattern of unethical behavior.

7. What should I do if my screening returns incorrect or inaccurate criminal information?
There may be times, particularly if you have a very common name, when a background screening might 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 directly by NSCI. USATF will not be privy to the reasons for the “negative” or “failed” screening information.

After being informed of a negative or “failed” background check by NCSI, a coach will have the opportunity to provide NCSI with information indicating there was an error in the background check or that the background check should not have failed.

8. If my background screening returns information that disqualifies from being a USATF coach in good standing, who will make the final decision to approve or deny my application?  Do I have the opportunity to appeal that decision? How do I initiate an appeal?
If a coach fails a background check, their application to be a Registered Coach automatically will be rejected. USATF may also deny Registered Coach status to individuals who are demonstrated to be in breach of the Code of Conduct or who have displayed a pattern of unethical behavior.
Only coaches who have been accepted as Registered Coaches will have their names posted on the USATF Web site. Coaches denied Registered Coach status, or who simply have not applied to be a Registered Coach, will not be placed on any publicly available list. In other words, there is no publicly available “black list.”

For 2010, any coach denied Registered Coach status seeking to question his or her rejection should consult USATF’s Legal Department at 317-261-0500. A formal Appeal Process is currently under development for 2011 and beyond.

9. Who will be notified if an application is denied?
If the National Screening Panel determines that the application should be denied, the following individuals will be notified and will maintain the confidentiality of the notification:

  • Applicant
  • USATF President
  • USATF General Counsel
  • USATF Director of Coaching

The notification to USATF will not indicate the offenses or content of the background check report. It will only indicate that the application has been denied and that the coach is not eligible to be a Registered Coach. As stated above, there is no public notification of a rejected application; only approved Registered Coaches are listed on the USATF Web site.

10. How do I update my affiliation?
To change your affiliation you will need to log into the Coaches Registry application system. You will be directed through the application process as you did when you first applied for the Coaches Registry. The system should recognize your previous background screen, but will prompt you to once again agree to the coaches code of conduct. Through this process you will have the option to update your contact information as well as your affiliation. Once complete, click submit and your affiliation will be updated.

11. What is the USOC SafeSport course?

Answer: The SafeSport course is an online training module put together by the USOC. The course covers fourteen lesson areas that include, but are not limited to, sexual, physical and emotional misconduct; local and overnight travel; bullying and harassment. The training videos in total are approximately 90 minutes long and include four quizzes and a final exam. For more information on the SafeSport program click here.