American Swimming Coaches Association Code of Ethics

Criteria for FULL ASCA Membership

As of September, 1993, FULL MEMBERSHIP in the ASCA will consist of those coaches who meet the following criteria. (Associate memberships will be available to all other coaches at the same membership fee.)

These criteria are predicated on the premise that Professionalism is based on the concept of credentials that demonstrate the

most current training, and behavior that demonstrates our concern for the well-being of our clients, and fellow professionals.


All new ASCA members shall have completed the Certification course work through Level 4. They shall have met education and experience criteria to be fully certified at Level 2 and above. They will have 1 year from the date of application to begin these four courses.

Note: This means COURSE WORK ONLY, NOT FULLY CERTIFIED WITH ACHIEVEMENTS. This is not necessary for membership. Level 1 is for our apprentice coaches. Currently Certified Coaches will not lose any present status. New applicants may “test out” without actually taking the coursework.


An ASCA Member shall meet the following requirements in regard to professional behavior:

  1. Agreement to abide by the Code of Ethics, follow the procedures involved in its enforcement and accept the due process of its Written signature of the code of Ethics will constitute informed consent.
  2. Statement of professional These may include publication, committee work at the national or local level, clinic instruction or administration, or other contributions to professional development of the sport and other swimming professionals.


The conduct and ethical behavior of a professional is determined by the degree of respect with which he/she interacts with the public that he/she serves. This public consists of both client and peer. The intent of the following code is to define the parameters of that interaction, and to provide for adherence to the following components.

Compliance with this code, as with all law in an open society, depends primarily upon understanding and voluntary compliance, secondarily, upon reinforcement by peer and public opinion, and finally, when necessary, upon enforcement through disciplinary proceedings. The code does not exhaust the moral and ethical considerations that should inform an ASCA Member professional swim coach, for no worthwhile human activity can be completely defined by rules. This simply provides a framework for the ethical coaching of the sport of swimming.


Article #1. A coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association shall not abuse alcohol in the presence of athletes. A coach member of ASCA shall not use illegal or recreational drugs. A legal conviction for possession or sale of any illegal substance shall be an automatic violation of this rule.

Article #2. All professional communications shall be conducted in an honest, open manner consistent with the best interests of the sport and the profession. Integrity is a basic part of coaching, whether financially or in dealing with swimming events and entries. A member is accurate at all times to the best of their knowledge.


Article #1. In all professional matters regarding the changing of organizational affiliation of athletes, the initial discussion of any such change in affiliation should be initiated by the athlete, and not by the coach, or direct agent acting on behalf

of the coach.


Article #1. A coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association will always make decisions based on the best interest of the athlete.

Article #2. A coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association shall not engage in sexual relations with any minor.

Article #3. Sexual misconduct consists of any behavior that utilizes the influence of the coaching position to encourage inappropriate intimacy between coach and athlete.

Article #4. Coaches of college-aged athletes shall not engage in sexual relations with athletes that they coach, even of legal age.


Article #1. Any legal felony conviction will constitute a violation of the Code of Conduct. See also Section A above.


The Ethics Committee shall be elected by the ASCA membership in the Olympic year. Four positions shall be elected for a four- year term. A fifth shall be appointed by the ASCA President, to chair this committee. This Chair shall be an ASCA Vice-President. The first four positions may be board members or non-board members. Each candidate for a position on the Ethics Committee must have 5 years of experience as an ASCA member.

Responsibilities of the Ethics Committee shall be:

  1. To develop each month, a sample case regarding ethics and conduct to act as a case-book when accumulated, to delineate conduct that is acceptable and unacceptable within the context of the four areas of the Code of Ethics and Conduct. This case-book example shall be published each month in the ASCA Newsletter and Magazine as part of on- going education in Professional Ethics and
  2. To receive and investigate complaints pertaining to matters of ethical behavior among the members of the
  3. In regard to said investigative responsibility, develop procedures to ensure the individual’s right to due process is protected at all times in the in the procedure.
  4. To develop within the due process system, a series of potential penalties for those members found in violation of our code of These will be of varying degrees of severity and may include temporary or permanent revocation of membership or certification.

To deliver said penalties in such cases as may be necessary to protect the integrity of our membership.


Definitions – Due Process is the procedure that ensures that if you are charged with an ethical violation, your rights are protected in the following manner:

  • You receive notice, in writing, of those specific offenses with which you are charged.
  • You have an opportunity to defend yourself, and reasonable period of time to prepare that defense.
  • You have the right to legal counsel if you wish it.
  • You have a right to a hearing before an objective body, (ASCA Ethics Committee) at a specific time that will allow you full opportunity to present your defense.
  • You have notice of how to appeal the decision, if the judgment is against you.


The following are the general procedures involved in the ASCA Code of Ethics Due Process proceedings:

  1. Only a coach member of the ASCA may bring ethical charges against another coach In the case of criminally charged offenses, the association itself will be considered the complainant.
  2. Ethical complaints brought by one coach against another that are found to be essentially of a spurious nature, will itself be considered to be a very serious breach of ethical conduct, and will be an automatic This is meant specifically to prevent “nuisance” complaints, or issues arising from personal animosities.
  3. An ethical complaint is brought to the attention of Chair of the Ethics Committee, in writing by the complainant.
  4. A preliminary evaluation of the nature of the complaint will be conducted by the Chair of the Ethics Committee, the President of the Association, and the Executive If the complaint is found to represent a potential ethical violation, it is immediately sent to the full Ethics Committee, and notification by certified mail of the action and specific charges are sent in writing to the coach so accused. An invitation to respond is included, with a reasonable time frame for the accused to present a written response. It is possible that the initial screening process may decide that no ethical violation has occurred. If so, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will so inform the complainant, immediately following such a decision.
  5. Following a reasonable opportunity for written response, the committee may choose to;
    1. Accept the No further action. Notification of the complainant.
    2. Propose simple disciplinary action, (likely to be accepted by the accused). Accused is notified, and may accept proposal, or may insist upon a full hearing.
    3. Schedule a full hearing for the In this case, a full written explanation of the hearing process and place, time, etc. will be mailed to the accused.
  1. Should the accused party wish to appeal, such appeal request must be submitted to the President of the ASCA, and the Appeal Board will be the Board of Directors of The appeal will be heard at the next regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. The same procedures will then be followed as for the formal hearing by the Ethics Committee. Any member of the Ethics Committee who is also a member of the ASCA Board of Directors, shall be excused from this appeal process.


In the case of a decision that an Ethics Violation has occurred, the Ethics Committee may impose penalty(s) from among the following options:

  1. A letter of reminder of ethical conduct to the
  2. A letter of reprimand directly to the offending
  3. A letter of reprimand to the offending coach, with copies to the employer of the
  4. A letter as above, with additional copies to the LSC Chair in the cases of USS Swimming Coaching, or similar body in other situations.
  5. Permanent letter in the file of the offending coach, to become a part of that coaches permanent certification record, and distributed with information on the coaches certification
  6. Temporary suspension of ASCA membership for a defined period of
  7. Revocation or suspension of ASCA
  8. Indefinite suspension of ASCA membership, to be reviewed at a future

It is understood that the above are representative penalties only, and may be modified to appropriately fit any situation of ethical violation, by the Ethics Committee, and that they are presented in order of severity.

I have read and agree to abide by the American Swimming Coaches Association’s Code of Ethics.