The ASCA and Athlete Protection
The American Swimming Coaches Association exists for the betterment of the coaching profession and leadership in the sport. The ASCA Code of Ethics articulates unacceptable behavior by coaches with regard to athletes, peers, organizations, and the community. The inherent duty of coaches is to first protect and ensure the safety of the athletes they serve. As such, the ASCA strongly advises a “no privacy” policy for all programs (see the Executive Director’s letter to all members), and encourages any improper or threatening behavior to be immediately reported to parents, the club, and if of legal nature, the authorities.
The ASCA is not an investigatory body and can only rely on the findings of institutions such as USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Division, the USOC Center for Safe Sport, and the judicial system. The ASCA will evaluate findings and rulings via its Ethics Committee to determine if a Code of Ethics violation has occurred, and will offer the appropriate response or discipline. A proven and verified violation of the Code of Ethics will result in removal from the association. Additionally, a coach who receives a lifetime ban from USA Swimming will also be removed from any ASCA honors.
John Leonard, ASCA Executive Director
ASCA Board of Directors
ASCA Code of Ethics
Criteria for Full ASCA Membership
(Amended October 2016/March 2018 by the Board of Directors)
Full Membership in the ASCA will consist of those coaches who meet the criteria outlined below. 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.
Note: Associate Memberships will be available to individuals who choose not to pursue the educational or performance requirements of the ASCA. Associate Members will pay the regular membership fee and will be held to the same Code of Ethics and Conduct.
CRITERIA #1 – TECHNICAL PROFICIENCY
It is the intention of the ASCA that all new members shall:
- Actively pursue completion of the certification coursework through Level 4.
- Note: This refers to COURSE WORK ONLY AND NOT FULL CERTIFICATION WITH ACHIEVEMENTS
- We urge new members to begin this work as close to their initial membership date as possible.
CRITERIA #2 – PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR
- An ASCA member shall agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Conduct by meeting the requirements below with regard to professional behavior, and accept the due process of its enforcement. Written signature of the Code of Ethics and Conduct, and/or competed on-line application will constitute informed consent.
- As a member of the ASCA, it is strongly encouraged that all coaches pursue professional contributions to the sport. These may include publications, committee work at the local or national level, clinic instruction or administration, or other contributions to professional development of the sport and other swimming professionals.
Code of Ethics and Conduct of ASCA
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, as well as all volunteers. The intent of the following code is to define the parameters of that interaction, and behavior in general, and to provide for adherence to the four components outlined below. A coach not only represents him or herself and their club, but the sport and the entire coaching profession. 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, i.e., in the court of law, or within USA Swimming or the USOC. 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 and is primarily designed to address issues concerning the safety of our athlete members and issues related to egregious or destructive coach behavior.
SECTION A. PERSONAL CONDUCT
- Article #1. A coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association shall not abuse alcohol in the presence of athletes. Additionally, a coach member of ASCA shall not use illegal drugs. A legal conviction involving drugs or alcohol 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 athletes, the sport, and the profession.
- Article #3. Integrity is a basic part of coaching, whether financially or in dealing with organizations, swimming events, and entries. A member should be accurate and forthright in all dealings.
SECTION B. COACH TO COACH
- Article #1. Coaches should act with integrity when dealing with other coaches in all matters. In situations 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.
SECTION C. COACH TO ATHLETE
- 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 inflict physical or emotional abuse on an athlete.
- Article #3. A coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association shall not engage in sexual activity of any nature with any minor. 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.
SECTION D. COACH TO COMMUNITY
- Article #1. A legal felony conviction in any capacity will constitute a violation of the Code of Conduct.
The Ethics Committee of the ASCA
The Ethics Committee shall consist of three individuals and shall be appointed by the Executive Committee. The Committee Chair will be a current Vice-President and the remaining two members will be either current or past Board Members. The Ethics Committee Chair will act as the liaison to USA Swimming and its Safe Sport Division if needed. The committee positions will be appointed in each Olympic year and shall serve a four-year term, unless a members’ Board tenure expires and he/she chooses to vacate their Committee position. In such a case, the Executive Committee will appoint a new committee member.
Responsibilities of the Ethics Committee and Due Process
- The Ethics Committee shall meet as required as cases or issues come to the attention of the ASCA via:
- a) Legal findings through the judicial or court system
- b)USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Division or the USOC Center for Safe Sport
- The Ethics Committee will review all findings and/or rulings to determine if an ASCA Code of Ethics and Conduct violation has occurred
- The Ethics Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors as to the appropriate action to be taken, such as; notification, reprimand, partial or lifetime ban from the ASCA, and removal of received honors
- The Board of Directors will make a ruling by majority vote
NOTE: The Ethics Committee is not an investigatory body and will rely on findings in the court of law and the aforementioned institutions. The Ethics Committee and Board of Directors will use such findings to make its determinations and rulings. There is no appeal process.
I have read and agree to abide by the American Swimming Coaches Association’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Print Your Name: _____________________________________________________________________
Signature: ____________________________________________ Date: ________________________
American Swimming Coaches Association Board Policy on Coaches Banned by USA-Swimming (Safe Sport)
The Board of Directors met and discussed this issue on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.
The following Board Policy was resolved:
- The ASCA Ethics Committee consists of Board Vice President Kathleen Prindle, and Board Members Chuck Warner and Amy Montgomery.
- The Ethics Committee shall meet as required (when a case comes to our attention) when a coach member of the ASCA has been banned by Safe Sport, with Safe Sport representatives to hear the nature of the complaint and banning.
- If the Ethics Committee is confident that the ban by Safe Sport is reflective of a violation of the ASCA Code of Ethics, the named coach shall be removed from both membership and any attendant honors from the ASCA.
John Leonard, ASCA Executive Director.
Protect Your Athletes, Your Sport and Yourself as a Coach.
By John Leonard
With the current national debate on athlete safety on center stage, I’d like to remind all coaches that there is one very simple thing you can do that protects your athletes, your sport and your career.
And I learned it from USA-Swimming’s Safe Sport.
Never allow an athlete to be alone with an adult other than their parent.
If you need to have a one on one conversation with a child, take them to the other end of the pool in plain sight of everyone else at practice. Say what you need to say, but be in sight.
DO NOT get in a car one on one with an athlete. At the worst, in an emergency, have two athletes with you if someone’s mother can’t pick them up and you have to drive them home.
Sadly, but true in today’s world….you can only get one athlete to come to morning practice with you? (or any other time?) well, today, their parent needs to be there also. Or a lifeguard.
Make sure your entire staff adheres to this protocol.
This simple step protects your athletes, your sport, and yourself.
I know 99% of you know this. Just a reminder. This is a different world than the one many of us grew up with. Trust is in short supply. Dangers abound. Adapt.
And THANKS for all the wonderful things you all do for the Youth of America, every day.
All the Best, John Leonard