Background checks for Little League Baseball volunteers are about to become more stringent. Up until this point, background checks have only included searches of Registered Sex Offender databases. However, beginning in 2017, searches will also include various criminal background databases.
According to Stephen, D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League Baseball and Softball, “The highest priority of Little League Baseball and Softball continues to be the safety and healthy development of the millions of young boys and girls that take the field each and every day.” He goes on to state that, “While we have encouraged local leagues to complete national criminal background checks by providing 125 annual checks free of charge, this new mandate will help us ensure Little League programs are providing the best possible protection for all those involved in their communities.
Little League International was the first youth sports organization to require some sort of background checks, beginning in 2003. Little League currently prohibits participation from anyone who has a conviction, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission to any crime involving or against a minor or minors.
The new rule beginning in January will require local leagues to take into consideration criminal records when making the determination whether the individual is unfit to participate in any manner in the league.
Thanks to Little League International’s lead, most other youth sports organizations across the country are requiring background checks for their volunteers in one form or another.