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Lawmakers Push For Criminal Coach, Athletic Officials Database

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(Chip Griffin/Flickr)

Athletics coaches with criminal histories or incidents of misconduct aren’t always flagged by schools – especially if they aren’t teachers – but lawmakers are proposing some new requirements to change that.

The state revokes teaching licenses of educators with violent criminal convictions, including those who double as coaches or game officials for their school. But the state doesn’t really track problems with those not working as educators.

A bill recently approved by House lawmakers would create a statewide database of ill-behaved coaches and game officials. Schools would report those fired for a violent crime or misconduct to the Indiana High School Athletic Association. Then, they would have to check the group’s database before hiring a candidate.

Commissioner Bobby Cox says right now, schools don’t have to tell others when they fire athletic staff because of inappropriate behavior.

“There is no process that requires that school to notify anybody that they’ve dismissed that coach,” he says. “What this bill would intend to do would be to aid in the transparency of that and be a resource to member schools.”

The new bill would also require the association to permanently revoke athletics credentials and eligibility of people found on the database.

It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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