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Certified Officials Background Screen Program FAQ

1. Why is a background check required to be a USATF Certified Official?

2. Who conducts the background screens?

3. What types of offenses are being screened for?

4. During the application process I must provide my social security number. Why?

5. What if an individual has previously had a background check performed through another organization?

6. Why isn’t my name on the SafeSport list?

7. What should I do if my screening returns incorrect or inaccurate criminal information?

8. If my background screening returns information that disqualifies me from being a USATF Certified Official in good standing, who will make the final decision to approve or deny my application?

9. Who will be notified if an application is denied?

10. What is the USOC SafeSport course?

11. How will I receive credit for completing the USOC SafeSport course?

12. What is the Pennsylvania Act 153 requirement for youth volunteers?

13. Why and how do I upload a copy of my ID when submitting my background screen?

14. Do I need to have an email address?

15. What happens if NCSI needs additional information from me?

16. How do I check the status of my background check or obtain a copy of my screen? Will I receive an email when complete?

17. How long does it take for my screening to be completed and what can I do to speed up the process?

18. Is my information safe?

19. I received a ‘Red Light’ for ‘Incomplete Information.’ What do I need to do?

20. Who do I contact with questions regarding my background screen?

21. Is there a re-check and what is involved with that process?

 
1. Why is a background check required to be a USATF Certified Official?
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 Certified Officials compete in an environment that is safe for themselves and others. It also is a means to establish a standard for Certified Officials, so athletes and the public can feel assured that the officials have 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?
Criteria has been established by USATF and may be found in its SafeSport Handbook.  Please note that USATF reserves the right to change its screening criteria at any time without advance notice. NCSI conducts screening and issues a determination based on USATF’s criteria. However, NCSI does not determine eligibility.

NCSI screens for criminal convictions, sex offender registrations, 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 through another organization?
The official 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. Why isn’t my name on the SafeSport list?
Officials who have successfully completed the USATF Officials Background Screen Program (including having a current USATF membership and successful background screen) will have their names posted on the USATF SafeSport List  as being in "good standing."
 
An official’s name will not appear on the USATF SafeSport List web site if:

  1. He/She is not a current USATF member;
  2. He/She has not completed the USOC SafeSport course;
  3. He/She has not passed a USATF background screen within the past two (2) year period; or
  4. He/She does not successfully pass the background screen due to information revealed during the background screening process.

Note also that an official’s name may be removed if information comes to light indicating they 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. Also, on rare occasions the court records may be inaccurate such as to the nature of an offense or offense level (felony/misdemeanor). When such information results in an initial screen that does Not meet criteria, you will be advised directly by NSCI. You then may dispute any inaccuracies directly with NCSI who will re-research any claimed inaccuracies. USATF will not be privy to this information until you have had an opportunity to review the information, dispute any inaccuracies and if the dispute is resolved in your favor a correction of the information. 
 
8. If my background screening returns information that disqualifies me from being a USATF Certified Official in good standing, who will make the final decision to approve or deny my application? 
If an official does not meet the screening criteria, their application to be a Certified Official is reviewed by USATF who makes the final decision on acceptance. USATF may also deny Certified Official status to individuals who are demonstrated to be in breach of the Code of Conduct or who have displayed a pattern of unethical behavior.


9. Who will be notified if an application is denied?
If NCSI notifies USATF that a coach does not meet the screening criteria, the following individuals may be notified and will maintain the confidentiality of the notification:

  • Applicant
  • USATF President
  • USATF CEO
  • USATF COO
  • USATF General Counsel
  • USATF authorized screening administrators
  • USATF Officials Committee Chair

 
10. What is the USOC SafeSport course?
The USOC 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.
 
11. How will I receive credit for completing the USOC SafeSport course?
To receive credit for completion of the SafeSport course, you must add your USATF Membership number to the SafeSport Training website. This may be added at time of registering for the course or by signing into your account and selecting:

  1. "Edit Account" (in the right hand corner under your name)
  2. "Add Membership"
  3. "USA Track and Field"
     

A reminder, only the full length (90 minute) version of the SafeSport course will be accepted. The SafeSport Parent and SafeSport Refresher courses do not meet the requirements of the USATF SafeSport program.
 
12. What is the Pennsylvania Act 153 requirement for youth volunteers?
USATF has engaged National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) to provide it with a Document Repository Service (DRS) to assist in complying with a new Pennsylvania law relating to background screening for volunteers and employees. The purpose of the DRS is for NCSI to collect the eligible PA documents from you. In accordance with the terms and conditions of the DRS, NCSI will submit all required eligible forms for presentation/delivery to USATF for their review.
 
If you live or participate in USATF programs in Pennsylvania, then you will receive an email with more information on how to obtain and upload the three required documents once you have submitted your USATF Certified Official Background Screen.
 
13. Why and how do I upload a copy of my ID when submitting my background screen?
Yes, all USATF background screen registrants will be required to upload a copy of their state issued ID (driver’s license or Passport) as they submit their background screen. Please have a JPEG, TIF, GIF or PDF file available on your computer prior to submitting your background screen. Please keep file sizes under 1MB when uploading. An ID verification is required if there is missing/different data regarding your name or date of birth entered by you at the time of registration compared to information NCSI obtains from our data providers. It is imperative that a full legal name (as stated on a valid state/government issued ID) and correct date of birth are used during the screening process. Your ID will help NCSI confirm that information has been submitted correctly and searches are conducted accurately. 
 
14. Do I need to have an active e-mail address?
Yes.  An active e-mail address is required in order to complete your background screening.  NCSI’s main form of communication with you is via e-mail.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you provide an e-mail address and that you check it frequently following your initial application.  Please adjust your spam filters to allow emails from ncsisafe.com to reach you.
 
15. What happens if 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.


16. How do I check the status of my background check or obtain a copy of my screen? Will I receive an email when complete?
You can check the status of your background screening by logging into www.ncsisafe.com/statusNCSI does not provide verbal status of background screenings.  You will receive an email from NCSI when your screen has been submitted successfully.
 
17. How long does it take for my screening to be completed and what can I do to speed the process?
Please allow 10 business days for your screening to complete.  Responding promptly to any request from NCSI will allow your screen to be processed efficiently.


18. Is my information safe?
NCSI provides a secure website for individuals to submit their background information for screening.  NCSI’s system is secure and encrypted and adherent to rules and regulations regarding background screening. In order to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information, the screening process must be completed online. Please Note: USATF and/or NCSI are NOT conducting a credit check on ANYONE going through the criminal background screening process.
 
19. I received a ‘Red Light’ for ‘Incomplete Information.’ What do I need to do?
NCSI is in need of information from you and has sent emails requesting the same. Please respond to the emails or contact NCSI at compliance@ncsisafe.com for more information.
 
20. Who do I contact with questions regarding my background screen?
You can email NCSI with your questions at clientservices@ncsisafe.com or call 440-542-9690 or toll free 866-833-7100, Option 4 with questions. Please remember, NCSI does not provide verbal status of background screenings by phone.
 
21. Is there a re-check and what is involved with that process?
One of the features provided by our background screening program is an annual recheck.  For the 24 month period your background screening authorization is valid, this recheck will automatically occur on or about the 12 month anniversary date of your initial background screening registration.  This recheck keeps our program current and up-to-date without the need for you to re-register with NCSI every year.
 
If you choose to leave USATF during this 24 month period and you want the automatic re-check to stop, please notify USATF in writing that you have resigned your involvement with us.  Once USATF has notified NCSI of your resignation NCSI will discontinue the re-check within 30 days following receipt of your notice of resignation.  It is possible, depending on your scheduled re-check and your date of resignation, that the re-check may occur following your notice of resignation.
 
**PLEASE BE AVISED THAT THE BACKGROUND SCREENING PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF USATF

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