Champion in Every Corner


March 09, 2022 U.S. Center for SafeSport Episode 5
Champion in Every Corner
Show Notes Transcript

Who should be locker room monitors? How should we handle team text messages? Cynthia Mejia, Training Manager at the U.S. Center for SafeSport, answers the most asked questions from MAAPP trainings.

Note: In this recording, our host Mariah Bures and guest Cynthia Mejia discuss who the MAAPP applies to. Here is some additional information for reference: 

  • The MAAPP applies to any NGB, LAO, or USOPC member or employee over the age of 18 who has been approved or authorized by an NGB, LAO, or the USOPC to have regular contact or authority over Minor Athletes.

See the full text of the 2022 MAAPP for details.

Disclaimer: All forms on this website are provided without any warranty, express or implied, as to their legal effect and completeness. These forms should be used only as a guide and modified to meet the needs of your organization as well as federal, state, and local laws.

Producer (00:04): 

Welcome to Champion in Every Corner, the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s podcast. Building a safe and positive sports community is what we're all about. So, you'll hear from experts about innovative ideas and abuse prevention practices you can put in play today. Before we begin, be sure you know your obligations for reporting actual or suspected child abuse, and other abuse and misconduct. Ask a leader in your organization what policies and laws apply to you. This episode is hosted by Mariah Bures, Training Manager at the Center. 

Mariah (00:40):

Hello, from the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. We are looking forward to answering some of your frequently asked questions that we received during our trainings. And to help us answer those questions, we've invited my teammate, Cynthia Mejia. Before we dive into the questions, I'm just going to share a brief introduction about Cynthia. As one of the Center's training managers, she's responsible for managing, creating, and facilitating the Center's abuse prevention trainings. Before joining the Center, Cynthia worked at the National PTA as a member outreach manager, and while at the National PTA, Cynthia created programs and initiatives to diversify the PTA voice and cater to the needs of the ever-changing public school population. Cynthia also held a position as the outreach manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or NCMEC. Cynthia was responsible for maintaining partnerships and acting as a spokesperson with local, state, national, and international organizations. Welcome, Cynthia. 

Cynthia (01:35):

Thanks so much, Mariah. Thanks for having me.

Mariah (01:37)

So, the scope of today's episode is answering policy specific questions from our live MAAPP trainings, and we've separated those trainings out by audience. So, we've offered trainings to parents, adult athletes, coaches, and administrators, all on the requirements of the MAAPP. If you're looking for more information about the MAAPP specific policies, check out our website. We have a specific tab all about the MAAPP, and on there you can find information about upcoming trainings. You can find a MAAPP manual as well as the Center's model MAAPP policy. So, we're gonna begin our conversation and talking about who the MAAPP applies to. So Cynthia, when we're thinking about who needs to follow the MAAPP, does the MAAPP only apply to adults that are directly affiliated with NGBs, National Governing Bodies, or do these policies apply more broadly to community based programs? 

Cynthia (02:28):

The MAAPP applies to all Adult Participants within NGBs, which are National Governing Bodies, and Local Affiliated Organizations, which we call LAOs, that are within the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. Local Affiliated Organization include regional based association and local level club organizations. So a lot of the LAOs are community based programs. But these organizations vary greatly by NGB or by sport. 

Mariah (02:57):

Yeah, so who the MAAPP applies to may depend on the sport and type of organization. So, really recommending that you reach out to your National Governing Body if you have specific questions about who the MAAPP applies to. Today, we're really gonna be covering the Center's MAAPP. So, know that the Center has the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies and their mandatory minimum requirements for each of the National Governing Bodies to implement. So, know that each of the National Governing Bodies, they may add sport specific language to their policies, or they may add more restrictive policies. So just know again that the MAAPP is really the model policy that each of the National Governing Bodies takes and kind of creates as their own as the requirements. So one of the questions that I think we get a lot in the trainings is, let's say there's two coaches and they want to talk to a minor athlete. Can they have a closed door meeting happen with both coaches and that minor athlete in the room? 

Cynthia (03:54):

So that's actually something that's covered under our one-on-one interactions policy that you're gonna see highlighted in the MAAPP quite a bit. So that would be permissible under the policy. With that being said, we would recommend avoiding these circumstances where possible, and instead of meeting with a minor athlete in a space that is observable and interruptible, but where a private conversation can occur, for example, on a basketball court or a soccer field off to the side. 

Mariah (04:21):

Okay. Yeah. So, any kind of one-on-one interaction between an adult participant and a minor athlete needs to be observable and interruptible. And Cynthia, I think when we do these trainings, we say those words so many times throughout the training: observable and interruptible. So observable means that other people can see that the interaction's happening. Interruptible means, of course, that someone can stop that interaction easily. So, while it would be acceptable under the MAAPP for two coaches to have a conversation in a room with a minor athlete closed door meeting, we do recommend having these meetings in a public space. And then when we're thinking about who the MAAPP applies to, we talked about adult participants and the definition of adult participant is someone that's over the age of 18 who has regular contact with or authority over a minor athlete. So, we know that there are oftentimes 18 and under teams, and sometimes those teams have players that have turned 18 years old, and then other athletes on that team are 17. Are the 18-year-old athletes required to complete the SafeSport Trained Core courses? 

Cynthia (05:24):

Great question. Yeah, we do get that quite a bit. So this is a requirement that 18-year-olds that are adults have to complete the Core training on abuse prevention if they're having regular contact with minor athletes. They also have to comply with the required prevention policies, although there is something that we call the close in age exception that we have in the MAAPP. And that would be in effect in this situation. 

Mariah (05:47):

So, the close in age exception is a new exception under the 2022 version of the MAAPP. And essentially what it's saying is that if an adult participant does not have any authority over a minor athlete, so again, we're thinking about teammates, then they can have a one-on-one interaction with a minor athlete as long as they're no more than four years older. So let's say in the case of an 18 or a 19-year-old and a 16 or 17-year-old, those two people would be able to have one-on-one interactions because they could have that close in age exception. Let's talk about locker rooms. And I think when we talk about the MAAPP and we talk about why it's so important, we have emphasized this in some of our other podcasts episodes that the MAAPP is so important because we know that there are certain areas in sport that are considered high risk for abuse. One of those areas is locker rooms and changing areas. In the Center's MAAPP policies, it recommends that organizations have locker room monitors. So, Cynthia, who should those locker room monitors be and what might that look like? 

Cynthia (06:50):

Actually, locker room monitors are a requirement of the MAAPP, not a recommendation. And for the monitoring, it could be a volunteer or it could be event staff that are stationed outside of the changing area, or they do regular checks of the locker room to make sure that the policy is being complied with. 

Mariah (07:07):

So, we know that hazing, bullying, harassment amongst minors often happens when they're unsupervised. So that's why we do want to make sure that these spaces are being monitored. We're making sure that there's not any one-on-one interactions between an adult and a minor athlete that's not observable and interruptible while in a locker room or changing area, because that would be a violation of the Code. Another area that could potentially be risk for abuse is not even taking place at an event competition or a physical location. And that's electronic communications. And electronic communications can include social media, text messaging, phone calls. There's so many different ways that this can happen. But with our main question with this one with electronic communications is that a lot of times it's easier to send a quick text message to athletes to communicate some updates about practices or events, whatever it may be. To comply with the MAAPP’s electronic communications policy, who else should be included in these communications? 

Cynthia (08:09):

Yeah, so great question because we do live in a digital age, and so that's something that we definitely took into consideration here. So when it comes to this situation, I would say make sure to add at least another adult. So the conversation has to be open and transparent. So, it's kind of similar to that observable and interruptible concept, but of course, because it's electronic, we say open and transparent. 

Mariah (08:33):

Okay, that makes sense. And then does that adult have to be an adult participant or could it be the minor athlete's parent or guardian? 

Cynthia (08:41):

So this can be the parent or guardian, or it can be another adult participant. 

Mariah (08:47):

Okay, that makes sense. And in the Code or in the MAAPP, excuse me, in the MAAPP it also says that this is the same for team communication. So whether you're communicating with one minor athlete or you're communicating with a whole team of minor athletes, you still need to make sure that it's open and transparent. So there should always be more than one adult, as you said, Cynthia, it could be another adult participant, maybe another coach, or each of the minor athletes’ parent or guardian. All right. Our next frequently asked question that we get is, is it okay to transport two minors if one is related to you and the other is not? 

Cynthia (09:22):

For transportation policy, we would say make sure you follow your organization's transportation policy and any required consent forms to transport youth. So as it relates to the Center’s MAAPP, yes. And it is recommended for a shared carpool situation that parents pick up their athlete first and drop them off last. 

Mariah (09:40):

Okay. And speaking of consent and travel, written consent has to be obtained yearly for minors who travel, would the consent form have to be submitted to the NGB or to the club leadership? And is there a common database where those consent forms could be uploaded? 

Cynthia (09:57):

So for consent, these should be collected by the NGB or by the local club, and you'd need to check with your organization to find out what their submission process is. So the Center does provide sample consent forms to assist local organizations, so you can look online for those. 

Mariah (10:17):

And speaking of what resources we have on our website, so we have sample consent forms, we have the MAAPP Manual, which goes into a lot of scenarios related to each of the required prevention policies. It also goes into scenarios about the exceptions. And in this podcast episode we just talked about one of those exceptions, which is close in age, but there are some other exceptions under the 2022 MAAPP that includes dual relationship and personal care assistant as well as, of course, emergencies. So I encourage you to learn more about those exceptions as well as each of the required prevention policies, either by attending one of our trainings or by going on our website and looking at all of the resources that we have, specifically that MAAPP Manual. As a reminder, the MAAPP is effective January 1st of 2022. So I appreciate you all listening to this podcast episode to hear about some of the frequently asked questions that we get during trainings. Again, I encourage you to attend one of our trainings. We will be having these throughout 2022 look on our website for resources, listen to our other MAAPP podcast episodes. But that is it for today. I want to thank you, Cynthia, for your time and your valuable insight and helping our listeners answer questions about the MAAPP. 

Cynthia (11:27):

Of course. Thanks for having me. 

Producer (11:30):

One final important note information about or reasonable suspicion of child abuse, including child sexual abuse, must be immediately reported to law enforcement and the U.S. Center for SafeSport and individuals must comply with other applicable state or federal laws. Visit to hear more episodes and share them with a teammate coach or colleague, and feel free to share your own ideas at Thank you for all you do to give athletes a champion in every corner.