USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

SAFE SPORT

MYTHS & MISCONCEPTIONS

(Updated June 15, 2021)

Myth: Adding a SafeSport requirement makes the process to be a member of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports too complicated

Fact: Over time, SafeSport training will become the norm in all of sports. The 75- to 90-minute SafeSport Core Training only needs to be completed every four years, with 20- to 30-minute refresher training during the other years. Training is intended to educate members to help identify and prevent abuse within our sport, and to know how to properly report if abuse is witnessed.

Myth: The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is forcing USA Water Ski & Wake Sports to require members to do SafeSport training

Fact: There is nothing more important to USA Water Ski & Wake Sports than protecting our athletes, especially our young participants. USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is joining 15 other  NGBs by voluntarily introducing requirements for adult members to complete SafeSport training. Given the family nature of our sport, there are very few events that exclude children. Additionally, unobservable, and uninterruptible one-on-one interactions that take place between minor athletes and adult participants within our sport create vulnerabilities for sexual abuse and misconduct to occur. By requiring awareness training, USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is taking proactive measures to create a safe and positive environment for all members on and off the water.

Myth: There is not a history of behavior that warrants the need for this education within our sport

Fact: Since 2018, the Center has investigated a total of 7,209 cases among all NGBs, including 17 cases involving USA Water Ski & Wake Sports members. There have been five membership suspensions and two probations for violation of the SafeSport Code. Five cases currently remain open and  are being investigated. View the suspended member list.

Safe Sport Training RequirementsMyth: Requiring all members over 18 to be SafeSport trained will consequently reduce overall membership

Fact: When reviewing data provided by the 15 other NGBs who have recently initiated the same Safe Sport requirement, there is no evidence to support membership growth was negatively impacted by implementing SafeSport Training requirements. In some instances, NGB membership has actually increased.

Myth: If I am involved in multiple sports, then I will have to take the SafeSport training multiple times

Fact: Any Safe Sport trainings completed through another sport organization (e.g., hockey, baseball, basketball, etc.), if the dates of completion are valid, can be used to fulfill the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports annual training requirement.

Myth: If I do not complete the training, then I will no longer be allowed to compete

Fact: New members and those renewing their membership will have 30 days upon registering to complete the training. Membership status during this period will appear as “pending” until the training is completed. Members with a pending and active status are eligible to participate in   USA Water Ski & Wake Sports sanctioned activities. If, after 30 days, training is not completed, membership status will become “inactive” and you will be unable to participate until training is completed.

Myth: Coaches/ Instructors cannot be friends with minors on social media

Fact: The Electronic Communications Policy, located in the SafeSport Handbook, states that all electronic communication including phone calls, videoconferencing, video coaching, texting, and social media must be open and transparent in all one-on-one engagements between a minor athlete and an adult participant. Open and transparent means that the adult participant copies or includes the minor athlete’s parent/guardian, another adult family member of the minor athlete, or another adult participant. If a minor athlete communicates with the adult participant first, the adult participant must follow this policy if the adult participant responds.

Myth: This requirement will eventually go away

Fact: USA Water Ski & Wake Sports is committed to building a culture that values a safe and positive environment for all members on and off the water and that is an environment free from abuse and misconduct. Additionally, Federal Law, S534, imposes general requirements on youth-serving amateur athletic organizations, like ours, which include prevention training for adult members who have regular contact with minor athletes.

Myth: Accused individuals have no opportunity to have their voices heard

Fact: While false allegations are unlikely, they unfortunately do happen, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport has highly experienced investigators who are skilled and trained to recognize false claims. The accused will have an opportunity to be heard by the case investigator. This affords the accused with the opportunity to provide their story, learn what evidence the investigator has gathered, and provide their own evidence, including the identity of witnesses who may have relevant factual information. This process occurs before any disciplinary action is taken. Further, there are consequences for knowingly making a false report as it may violate state criminal law and civil defamation laws.

Myth: Under the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s process, you are guilty until proven innocent

Fact: The U.S. Center for SafeSport follows a thorough investigative process, led by trained investigators, to ensure the accuser and the accused are fully heard. To protect both parties, the process is confidential and once a decision is issued by the Center, if designed, the accused can request a hearing before an independent arbitrator.