© USA Gymnastics

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 9, 2011 – As part of its ongoing effort to protect the safety of its athletes, USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors has endorsed a new policy that requires gymnastics clubs and event organizers to become a member club or registered business of USA Gymnastics to receive a USA Gymnastics event sanction, effective January 2012.

"This strengthens the practices we currently have in place to provide a safe environment for our athletes," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Any organization or individual who wants to apply for a USA Gymnastics sanction for an event or affiliated activity must commit to the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care as a registered business or member club. These changes further reduce the likelihood of someone who has been banned from membership being involved in USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events."

"Based on the feedback I have received, this type of policy change will be embraced by the gymnastics community and represents the leadership expected by our members," said Peter Vidmar, chairman of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors. "We will continue to develop and strengthen our policies because it is what is best for our athletes and our sport."

USA Gymnastics’ sanction policy has been expanded to ensure that all meet directors and the club(s), independent organization(s), and/or committee(s) they represent comply with the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care policy, which already is a requirement for all USA Gymnastics member clubs. The designation of "registered business" requires a club or organization that is not a member club to adhere to the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care to be eligible to host USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events and activities.

As a registered business or member club, the facility or organization must sign the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care agreement. The criteria to be a meet director and/or host a USA Gymnastics-sanctioned event or activity are:

  • Clubs and/or independent meet director(s), organization(s) and/or committee(s) must be a registered business or member club to sanction events.
  • A meet director must be a current professional member in good standing and must be affiliated with a registered business or member club to sanction events.
  • USA Gymnastics-related activities – TOPS testing, Future Stars, Jump Start, camps, clinics, educational courses, etc. – can only be hosted by a USA Gymnastics-registered business or member club.
  • USA Gymnastics State, Regional and National Committees may only award meets to clubs and/or independent organizations that are registered businesses or member clubs.

Any organization that was awarded a 2012 event sanction prior to this policy change is required to comply with the new policy. Failure to comply with the new sanction policy will result in the sanction becoming null and void.

In essence, two categories of clubs and organizations are eligible to receive an event sanction from USA Gymnastics or to host a USA Gymnastics-affiliated activity: a member club that has paid a membership fee, agreed to the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care and receives additional marketing/educational benefits; or a registered business that has signed the USA Gymnastics Standard of Care agreement.

Adopting this policy is an addition to the steps USA Gymnastics already has taken to provide a safe environment for its athletes. Among the practices and policies in place are:

  • Participant Welfare Policy – provides guidance on how clubs, coaches and parents can work together to provide a safe environment, as well as requirements and expectations of USA Gymnastics’ members. The topics covered in the policy, which may be read in its entirety at www.usagym.org/welfare, include: definitions of abuse used by USA Gymnastics for both physical and sexual abuse; reporting procedures and requirements for suspected abuse; misconduct/grievance procedures; member obligations and recommendations, as well as staff; standards of behavior; and education and communication about the policy to members and the general public.
  • Mandatory criminal background screening and safety/risk management certification for professional members – background screening is renewed every two years; safety/risk management screening is renewed every four years.
  • Code of Ethics and proactive bylaws – bylaws include provisions for processing allegations and the types of discipline, including termination of membership, which may be administered by the organization.
  • Published list of individuals banned from membership in USA Gymnastics – posted on the website and printed in both magazines. This lifetime ban means the individual does not have any of the rights or privileges associated with membership in USA Gymnastics, including but not limited to participation in any event conducted or sanctioned by USA Gymnastics.