We've blogged a number of times on our VerifyStudents blog about the growing number of colleges and universities that have implemented background check policies designed to protect minors on their campuses. Organizations involved with student sports also appear to be joining in on this trend.

A recent article reported that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will require referees and umpires working with students to undergo background checks beginning this summer. The move comes after two incidents: the first, when a Boston Globe investigation indicated some of the referees had serious criminal records; and the second (which happened shortly after the Globe investigation), when a high school basketball referee was charged with murdering his wife.

Criminal offenses that could prevent employment include those “ involving violence, threats of violence, drugs, sexual assault, and crimes against minors, among other things. Suspension would be immediate and would last until the legal case is resolved.  Disqualified referees can appeal twice to review panels.” 

The MIAA is not the only ones requiring background checks. A USA Today article reports that USA Basketball is beginning a program that not only certifies basketball coaches, but also improves the safety for participating students by requiring its coaches to undergo background checks. A spokesman for the organization said it wants to implement standards for coaching that make the game both enjoyable and safe.