Why Become Certified As A League Parents Trust?
The very essence of parenting is the instinct to watch out for our kids. We monitor social media, keep an eye on their friends, engage with teachers, and put parental restrictions on our televisions. Many parents spend hours on research and some even move just to make their kids eligible for the “right” school. When it comes to sports, some parents will ask around or even request a certain coach, but there has never really been a way to find out how your local sports league truly operates.
That tool is now here. SportsOrganized offers a free certification process for youth sports leagues that provides parents with critical information, including:
- Is the league a non-profit in good standing with the IRS?
- Does the league have appropriate insurance coverage?
- Does the league have a code of conduct that governs acceptable behavior?
- Does the league background check paid and volunteer coaches?
- Does the league actively safeguard its finances?
We feel strongly that these fundamental issues represent a minimal standard of care for children and parents. Each of these elements sheds light on how your league approaches areas of critical concern:
- Nonprofit Status: There is certainly no shame in operating a for-profit league, but those who do operate as nonprofits must meet minimal requirements to maintain that status. Maintaining nonprofit status with the IRS is a relatively simple process; those who lose their status have usually simply failed to file an annual report to the IRS. Parents should be wary of organizations who exhibit a lack of attention to such important details.
- Insurance Coverage: Nearly every league playing on a city-owned field is required to maintain general liability insurance, and many sanctioning bodies (such as Little League International) also require it. Parents should certainly look for leagues who have this most basic protection.
- Code of Conduct: From prohibiting use of profanity to setting guidelines on playing time, a code of conduct can set the tone for how players, parents, coaches and officials are to behave. Parents should seek organizations with a clear and specific code of conduct policy to ensure their children will be treated appropriately.
- Background Checks: There is perhaps no more fundamental responsibility for a sports league than to keep its players safe. Background checking coaches, who often have unfettered access to our children, is a critical step. Parents should ensure that their league actively background checks both paid and volunteer coaches.
- Safeguarding Finances: Embezzlement of funds from youth sports is an all-too-common occurrence, especially when there are basic safeguards that can practically eliminate it. Parents should examine whether the league had procedures in place to ensure the league’s finances remain stable.
Clearly, there are many more aspects to a truly outstanding youth sports organization, and we plan to launch higher levels of certification in the coming weeks and months. And for the leagues themselves, we will continue to publish resources and partner with solution providers to help build organizational excellence. In the meantime, we want to begin providing this service to make sure parents can be informed.