USA Swimming has added a number of documents to its MAAPP (Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Program) page: a number of permission forms for parents to allow minor athletes to travel or stay with a specific adult, or receive care from a massage therapist or mental health professional, plus some information for clubs to include in meet information to ensure MAAPP compliance.
The MAAPP will take effect on June 23. It’s aimed at protecting minor athletes from abuse at the hands of adult athletes, coaches, officials or other sport members. In many cases, though, the requirements do force some big changes from the way clubs and college programs currently operate, and reaction to the MAAPP requirement has been very polarized.
The MAAPP mostly focuses on preventing one-on-one interactions between minor athletes and “applicable adults,” which includes adult coaches, meet officials, club officials or 18+ athletes, among others. Some of the more notable requirements include copying a parent/guardian on electronic communication with a minor (i.e. including a parent on a text thread or e-mail chain), outlawing electronic communication between a minor and an applicable adult from 8 PM to 8 AM, requiring one-on-one interactions to be “observable and interruptible” and outlawing minor athletes from traveling alone in a vehicle with an applicable adult or sharing a lodging with an applicable adult.
Some have expressed concern that the rules will put an undue burden on college recruiting, where coaches routinely pick up minor athletes from airports and where minor athletes typically stay in dorms, apartments or houses with adult (college-aged) athletes. USA Swimming’s waivers appear to create some space for those situations to continue – though with written parent permission, as spelled out in the MAAPP.
Here’s a quick look at the forms currently included on USA Swimming’s MAAPP page:
The permission forms allow for various exemptions from MAAPP rules:
- Permission for a Licensed Massage Therapist or Other Certified Professional or Health Care Provider to Treat a Minor Athlete
- Permission for a Mental Health Care Professional or Health Care Provider to have One on One Interaction
- Permission for an Unrelated Adult Athlete to Share the Same Lodging with a Minor Athlete
- Permission for an Unrelated Applicable Adult to Provide Local Transportation to Minor Athlete
- Permission for an Unrelated Applicable Adult to Travel to Competition with Minor Athlete
Language to be included in Meet Information
Meet information documents should now reference the MAAPP to make clear that its rules are in effect. USA Swimming provides a document with two options for paragraphs to insert into meet information documents, along with a few bullet points to include in briefings for officials, timers and coaches at meets:
Acknowledgement of Policy
USA Swimming also includes a document for club members to sign acknowledging that they have read and understood the MAAPP and will comply with it.