A Virginia soccer coach arrested and charged with inappropriately touching an 11 year old player provides yet another clear example of patterns common in the grooming and pursuit of young victims by adult authority figures. (Full Story Here). The suspect was a coach at an indoor soccer facility and also had worked as a part time school coach and for a club team. He was arrested after the victim’s mother discovered lewd text messages on her son’s phone from the coach. Further, the abuse was alleged to have occurred when the coach gave the player a ride to watch a soccer game outside of the organization.
Scott Placek of Placek Consulting has been attending the NSCAA convention for years. First, as a club Director of Coaching, later as a college club, and today as a small youth association DOC, Scott enjoys learning from the best and brightest minds in coaching education, and of course visiting with coaching friends both old and new. However, since launching his consulting practice, the NSCAA convention provides an opportunity for Placek Consulting to offer face to face assistance to club officers and directors tasked with addressing risk management in an environment that is growing increasingly dangerous and litigious.
During the NSCAA convention, Placek Consulting will provide free 30 minute risk management consultations on a space available basis. Most sessions will be breakfast meetings or early evening sessions following the close of most classroom events. If you’d like to reserve some time, contact us via our webform, or call 512-487-RISK.
The days when volunteer dads got together and coached a select sports team or gave lessons to their own kids on the driving range or tennis courts are long gone. At the more select levels of competition, paid coaches work to prepare and coach teams for kids still years away from puberty as well as kids preparing to enter college. Outside of team practice, cottage industries of private trainers have sprung up across the country, offering parents yet another option for providing extra training and practice for those willing to put in the time and pay the money. Among youth sports clubs, alliances with private trainers provide both a recruiting edge in selling prospective players on outside training opportunities and a possible pipeline of privately trained players steered to the club. Alliances between trainers and clubs can benefit both, and are increasing in frequency. On the surface, they appear to be low risk for each party, as there is often no contractual relation or agreement, and even when there is strict independent contractor status is usually maintained. But is there actually more risk than we might realize?
The past few months have seen a disturbing rise in arrests and allegations against private trainers. An nationally recognized golf coach was recently charged with over sixty counts of child molestation. (Full Story Here). Many of the offenses occurred while providing transportation to students or traveling out of town — areas your internal risk management policy should address. “He befriended them as the cool coach, gave them rides to and from practice and bought them gifts, including top-of-the-line golf equipment,” police said. Similar arrests have occurred in tennis (See Story) and soccer (See Story). Consider whether your organization could face liability for referring players to a “preferred” or “exclusive” private trainer.
If your club has entered into a preferred private training relationship, or especially an exclusive one, there is certainly the possibility that your club could be the target of litigation if injury, abuse or molestation occurs in the private training setting. This is true even if there is no employment relationship between the club and the trainer. The exposure is further increased if the private training takes place using the club’s facilities.
At Placek Consulting, we caution against creating preferred or exclusive training arrangements with parties that the club cannot control. However, if your club makes this competitive choice, we can work with you to create appropriate risk management policies and contractual agreements to protect the club. We can review your existing agreements and advise you on any unanticipated risk created by those agreements. Contact us at 512-487-RISK for an analysis.