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Background Check Policy Statement

The National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) is an organization whose
members officiate numerous sports at all levels, from youth, interscholastic,
college and recreational leagues, to minor and major league professional
sports. During its 40 year history, NASO has frequently addressed many
issues significant to all sports officials, including ethics for officials, and state
legislation involving immunity from suit and the prosecution of a person who
assaults a sports official. Another such issue now merits NASO’s attention:
Background checks for criminal activity by persons who are or seek to become
sports officials.

NASO recognizes that there are many (often conflicting) interests regarding
this subject and that different states and organizations with jurisdiction over
sporting contests have addressed this topic in different ways. Moreover, many
states and organizations have chosen not to implement any program for such
background checks. NASO supports in principle a state or organization’s
decision whether to require a background check for any person who submits
an application to officiate any amateur sport at any designated level.
Furthermore, where such background checks are instituted, NASO would also
support in principle a state or organization’s decision whether to require them
for officials already certified, on either a periodic or random basis. However, no
part of the expense for such a background check should be borne by the
applicant or official.

NASO also recognizes that a background check may reveal a conviction for a
federal or state felony or misdemeanor involving conduct so closely related to
the conduct of a sports official that there could be a substantial risk to the
players, the organization, other persons directly involved or the integrity of the
contest should that person be allowed to officiate. In such a case, the
organization charged with hiring or assigning officials for such contests should
be empowered to preclude that person from officiating. NASO also submits,
however, that there are many factors, including for example the particular
offense, its disposition in the courts or elsewhere, and remoteness in time (if
applicable) that will vary from case to case. Therefore, the governing state or
organization should establish written procedures to ensure to the affected
official or applicant adequate due process, including individualized
consideration of the fairness or necessity of any decision adverse to him or her
and a process for appeal that can be promptly invoked and decided. Finally, all
information gathered and all proceedings undertaken regarding any
background check should be completely confidential and disclosed only to the
applicant or official, and to his or her authorized representative, unless further
disclosure is required by governing law.