(Photo by Eldon Lindsay/American Legion)

Baseball background checks mandated

The American Legion relies heavily upon dedicated Legionnaires and Legion family members to support and donate countless hours to the success of one of its premier youth programs — American Legion Baseball. So in an effort to first and foremost enhance the protection of children and youth, as well as continue to enhance the Legion Baseball program and meet insurance requirements, The American Legion National Executive Committee (NEC) adopted Resolution 16 during the 2012 Fall Meetings, which mandates a background check screening for coaches, managers and volunteer staff of junior and senior American Legion Baseball teams.

This policy goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and will be conducted annually each season prior to any meetings, events, practices or games that involve youth participants. During the annual online Legion Baseball registration process, an acknowledgement will be required that each coach, manager and volunteer staff of an American Legion Baseball team has been verified as having passed the mandated background check screening requirements for that upcoming season.

Click here to read and download the "Risk Management Policies of The American Legion for the Enhanced Protection of Children and Youth" for American Legion Baseball coaches, managers and volunteer staff.

The Legion has teamed up with Protect Youth Sports, Inc., to exclusively conduct background screenings of staff and volunteers for the Legion’s national programs, including baseball. The Legion has negotiated discounts for background screening with Protect Youth Sports, Inc., for all national youth programs, as well as youth programs within American Legion departments.

Let it be known that while The American Legion has the utmost trust and confidence in its staff and volunteers, the need to implement such measures as background checks is unfortunately reflective of today’s social reality. Any organization entrusted with the safety and welfare of youth must first and foremost engage all reasonable means necessary to protect those youth, as well as mitigate its overall risk and liability by taking measures aimed at sustaining program integrity and safety.