close
close

US Tennis Association can do more to prevent abuse, including sexual misconduct, review says | saskNOW | Saskatchewan

They also noted that the USTA was a defendant in four other lawsuits — one of which resulted in a settlement — alleging sexual abuse of tennis players over the past two decades.

The lawyers said they conducted a “thorough independent review” of the USTA’s “current policies and procedures for preventing, reporting and responding to reports of abuse, including sexual misconduct.”

The review included interviews with USTA employees and access to hundreds of the organization’s documents. It also included a review of protections at 51 other U.S. national sports governing bodies, Paralympic sports organizations and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, along with guidance from the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

The report states that “the Council has expressed its intention to incorporate the suggestions” into the USTA’s Safe Play Program.

The 19 recommendations include:

– seven that “focus on preventing misconduct before it occurs”;

– nine related to keeping “individuals known to have engaged in misconduct” out of USTA facilities and events, including by making information about them more widely known, because, the report says, “one of the greatest concerns parents and players have concerns individuals known to have engaged in misconduct – whether as a result of an adverse Center action or a criminal prosecution – but who seek to continue to participate in tennis,” including by appearing “at USTA-sanctioned tournaments as spectators;”

— two “aimed at expanding the number of individuals receiving Safe Play Approved… and individuals receiving SafeSport training, particularly parents,” who “are often unaware of the ways in which coaches can manipulate both underage athletes and their parents , and it can be particularly difficult to identify problematic behavior when a parent hopes that a coach will help promote their child’s success in sports;”

— and one that requires “additional staff and resources” for the USTA Safe Play Program to help adopt the recommendations.

The review found that the USTA has only three employees “dedicated to developing and implementing the Safe Play program and monitoring its compliance,” and that its three player development campuses – in New York , Florida and California – “do not have staff members exclusively designated to oversee athlete safety.”

___

Howard Fendrich has been the AP’s tennis writer since 2002. Find his stories here: https://apnews.com/author/howard-fendrich

___

AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press