Safety, Well-Being of USAV Members Top Priority

By Lori Okimura | Aug. 07, 2015, 1:48 p.m. (ET)

August 6, 2015

A Message to USA Volleyball Regional Volleyball Association Members:

(PDF Version)

USA Volleyball and our Regional Volleyball Associations have always believed the safety and well-being of its members is a top priority. We will continue to explore every measure under our control to protect all members on and off the court and implement a zero tolerance policy for any conduct or behavior violations. On July 27, ESPN’s Outside the Lines revisited the important issue of safety in youth sports – and volleyball in particular. Their coverage was a bold reminder that the time is now for ALL sport organizations to institute, strengthen, enforce and diligently monitor policies concerning reporting misconduct, inappropriate behavior and cases of abuse. Protecting the youth and the athletes must be a priority to us all. USA Volleyball will continue to find ways to ensure that those who violate the principles of fair play and USOC SafeSport will have no place within our organization.

USA Volleyball is one of the first sport governing bodies to implement the USOC SafeSport program. USOC SafeSport combines training and education; screening; monitoring; reporting and responding to ensure that everyone involved in our sport – from athletes to coaches to club administrators to parents to officials and even bystanders – can identify inappropriate behavior and report it to the proper authorities. The USA Volleyball staff and Board of Directors are 100% certified in the USOC SafeSport program. Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the Athletes Advisory Commission have spent countless hours contributing their feedback and ideas to help shape the direction of this important program. The work is ongoing. We believe everyone connected to the sport has a role to play to create a safe, healthy environment for all participants. We must seek to impose harsher penalties on those who violate the trust of our athletes and remind everyone that participating in any level in our sport is a privilege.

The USA Volleyball staff and Board of Directors continue to work closely with our 40 Regional Volleyball Associations to implement a series of organizational policies to protect all of our athletes, coaches, officials and participants. Our risk management policies are regularly reviewed and updated by experts with professional service providers familiar with sport organizations and the laws in each State. USA Volleyball requires background screenings for all adult members who have contact with junior athletes and – through our database management program – can flag those who do not pass or who have disciplinary action against them. Our partnership with the USOC SafeSport program provides every member of USA Volleyball with new resources that were not available in the past to identify, prevent and report abuse.

We must continue to work diligently to set the highest standard for the protection of all within USA Volleyball. We will continue to have open and transparent communication about this important subject. We are committed to continually reviewing our policies and procedures, to putting measures in place to prevent abuses in our sport, and to removing those who abuse the trust of our athletes.

Lori Okimura
USA Volleyball, Board Chair