USA Swimming has put out a new mandate in accordance with Safe Sport, in order to protect minor athletes. This new mandate is called the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP). This new policy affects every athlete, coach, trainer, and employee at Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy/Austin Swim Club. This policy necessitates the update of some of our rules at ASC. These rules are meant to protect all of our athletes, and while we have always focused on AASA/ASC providing a safe environment for our athletes of all ages we will be making certain changes to comply with the requirement of Safe Sport and MAAPP.

  1. Coaches and trainers generally should not text and/or call minor athletes however, if communication by these methods are necessary the coach/trainer will copy the minor athlete’s parent
    1. If a minor athlete texts their coach, the coach should include the parent on the response to the minor athlete
  2. Our recommended form of communication with coaches is through administrative email sent to coaches’ AASA/ASC email account
    1. Should cc administrator, as well as the athlete’s legal guardian
  3. If a parent or athlete requests a meeting with a coach or trainer it must be held at the ASC or AASA offices
    1. Outside meeting places are not permitted
    2. Doors must remain open and unlocked
    3. If the meeting is only with the athlete, another ASC coach or staff member must be present
  4. No closed-door meetings between coaches and minor athletes under any circumstances
  5. When meeting with a minor athlete the athlete’s legal guardian should be present, however if the parent or guardian is not present then another ASC coach or staff member must be present
  6. If responding to a text or email from a minor athlete, the coach/trainer will include the parent on the communication
  7. Coaches should not be “friends with” or “following” minor athletes on social media, and minor athletes should not be “friends with” or “following” their coaches/trainers on social media
  8. Once an athlete has turned 18, graduated high school, and left for college, they may connect with their coaches/trainers on social media
  9. Coaches should never be left alone with a minor athlete, there should always be another adult present
    1. This includes private lessons
    2. Also parents need to pick up their athletes on time after all practices to ensure athletes are never at the AASA facility when there are not at least two coaches present
  10. Our coaches should never offer transportation to a minor athlete
  11. A coach should never offer a massage or a physical manipulation to an athlete
  12. Our preference for physical contact between coaches and athletes is high fives, handshakes, and a pat on the back/shoulder
  13. Adult athletes will be informed that they need to be aware of the presence of minor athletes in the locker-room and should exercise modesty
  14. Coaches should never accept personal invitations from parents of ASC/AASA minor athletes to non-athletic events
    1. i.e. meals, parties, trips, etc.
    2. A coach may accept an invitation to an athletic associated event, such as an athlete’s college signing

The MAAPP covers five areas. These five areas are one-on-one interaction, travel, social media and electronic communication, locker rooms and changing areas, massage and rub-downs. These five areas will be summarized below.

One-on-One Interaction:

  • Any one-on-one interaction between a minor athlete and an adult must occur at an observable and interruptible distance from another adult
    • Meetings must be in a room where the doors remain open and unlocked
  • Individual Training sessions outside of the regular practice schedule between adults and minor athletes are permitted but the training session must be within observable and interruptible distance of another adult

Social Media and Electronic Communication

  • When an adult with authority over a minor athlete communicates with them through text message or email the parent must be included on the communication
    • Includes responses to communications from athletes to adults
  • When adult sends an email to the entire team parents must be copied
  • Legal guardians have the right to request in writing that their minor athlete not be contacted through any form of electronic communication and the organization must comply with the request
  • Electronic communication should only be sent from hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Adults with authority over minor athletes should not have private social media connections with unrelated minor athletes
    • Existing social media connections with minor athletes need to be immediately discontinued
  • Adults with authority over minor athletes should not send private messages through social media platforms

Travel

  • There are new travel regulations, but ASC’s policy is to never have team travel trips

Locker Rooms and Changing Areas

  • Deck changing is prohibited
  • Use of any audio or visual recording device, including cell phones, is prohibited in the locker rooms
  • Except for athletes on the same team or athletes attending the same competition, at no time are non-related adults permitted to be alone with a minor athlete in a locker room/changing area, except under emergency situations
  • ASC as a USA Swimming Club, has the right to regularly and randomly monitor use of locker rooms and changing areas to ensure compliance with policy
  • Legal guardians are discouraged from entering locker rooms and changing areas. If guardian does enter locker room or changing areas, it must only be a same-sex legal guardian and the legal guardian should notify a coach or administrator in advance

Massage and Rubdowns

  • Any massage performed on a minor athlete needs to be within observable and interruptible distance of another adult, and should only be done by a licensed massage therapist
  • A coach should never perform a massage on an athlete

If you would like to review MAAPP the link is attached to this email. If you have any questions or concerns concerning these new policies please contact me, as I am AASA’s compliance officer. You can contact me at Megan@austinswimclub.org.

Safe Sport Links:

USA Swimming MAAPP

Procedure for Online Reporting to Safe Sport

Safe Sport Training for Athletes

Safe Sport Education for Parents