U.S. Center For SafeSport Briefly Lists 13-Year-Old In Banned Database

Last week, the U.S. Center for SafeSport brieflylisted a 13-year-old USA Swimming athlete member in its database of banned individuals. It has since removed the child’s name, but would not reveal whether the swimmer remains suspended.

The SafeSport database collects the names of individuals banned from membership and participation in Olympic sports in the United States. The list includes nearly 200 names tagged with “swimming” as their sport, many of them coaches banned for abusing athletes. The Center took over as the sole authority in investigating allegations of misconduct among members of Olympic sporting federations, and sole jurisdiction in handing out bans and suspensions.

Further information:

We track the list regularly and report on new additions. Last week, we asked the Center about the addition of several new names, among them, a 13-year-old who appears in USA Swimming’s SWIMS database as an athlete. The athlete was listed as “suspended” in the SafeSport database. The Center responded, saying that it does not publish the names of minors in the database, and called the athlete’s inclusion an “oversight.”

We asked for clarification on whether the athlete was indeed suspended, or whether the only oversight was listing their name publicly. The Center merely directed us to its policy of not commenting on specific matters or cases to preserve privacy.

When we asked whether 13-year-olds could be banned or suspended by the Center, we were told that “the SafeSport Code applies to all Participants in the Movements” and that any minor athlete given a sanction would not be listed in the SafeSport database, but would be shared with the national governing body (in this case USA Swimming) for enforcement purposes.

We have asked if minor suspended or banned athletes would be added to the public database upon turning 18, and will update when we receive clarification.

While most tend to connect the Center to sexual abuse cases, the Center can sanction individuals for any violations of the SafeSport Code: that includes a wide range of rules from sexual abuse to bullying to emotional or physical misconduct to failing to report misconduct to being the subject of a criminal charge.

This isn’t the first time a minor’s name has appeared in the database. A 12-year-old swimmer’s name was added to the database and later removed; we were told that he should never have been put in the database.

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Wow. What does a 13-year old have to do to get this moniker!


Really what does this say about Safesport’s ability to maintain strong internal controls over such an important database when they incorrectly add or remove the names of minor children without any explanation being given.

Steve Nolan

SafeSport, much like WADA and all that drug testing stuff, is almost wholly for appearance only.

I wouldn’t say “almost wholly” for appearance. There are some genuine policies in there that have improved the safety of athletes. That’s borne out by the number of coaches from the 80s and 90s that have been banned since SafeSport launched. But, there is of course also a big portion of it is for appearances, that I’d agree with.


I blame the schools

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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