The background screening program provided by National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) and USA Football has become quite popular with youth football leagues who want to ensure they have the best volunteers possible working with their kids.
Unfortunately, many people in today's society are not always completely honest about their past. This program is designed with the intent to allow leagues the comfort of knowing exactly who is assisting in their operations.
"Anyone can tell you they have the qualifications, the background check allows us to confirm that the person is an up standing citizen," said Henry Webb Jr., president of California-based Wheatland Youth Football, one of the many leagues across the country requiring the background check for its volunteers. "You never know who's who. One day a person could be Joe Community and one day he could be Joe Bad Guy."
NCSI's program is designed to ensure that these "Joe Bad Guys" don't find their way onto youth football fields. NCSI performs searches in two national criminal databases as well as all state sex offender registries and county records to compare to a set of guidelines provided by the football organization. Each volunteer is then given either a "green light" or a "red light".
The "red light" designation is determined by several factors: any felony - 45 percent of the 630 red lights; any lesser crime involving force or threat of force against a person - 36 percent; any lesser crime in which sexual relations is an element, including "victimless" crimes of a sexual nature (including pornography) - 3 percent; any lesser crime involving controlled substances (not paraphernalia or alcohol) - 14 percent.
"The way we were doing it before was not as effective as NCSI," said Mike Schrader, the head coach and president of Wisconsin's Berlin Youth Football. "Plus we wanted to stop our officers from receiving personal information about people in our program. Now we do not see any information that we shouldn't, and we do not have to make any tough decisions."
As USA Football commissioner members, both Webb Jr. and Schrader are eligible to have the independent non-profit cover $10 of the fee for each background check, leaving leagues charged just $15 per applicant. The cheap cost for such a great benefit makes the NCSI a no-brainer for any youth football commissioner.
"These youth players are the future of our country and our sport, and protecting their safety helps preserve the integrity of football and ensures that it will be around for generations to enjoy," Schrader continued. "I have had many parents thank our organization for being so diligent in protecting their child's safety."
Click here for more information on the NCSI background checks.