How to Run Youth Football Background Checks

Tim Gusweiler
background checks for youth football
background checks for youth football
Running a youth football program is tough. 
You've got to schedule games with other teams, register players, reserve facilities, order equipment and uniforms. The list can seem endless.
But keeping your players safe during the season is one of your first responsibilities. 
Below we have four quick tips to manage background checks for coaches and volunteers next season. Whether you run a high school football program, a youth tackle program, or a flag football league, you can use these tips to manage your background screenings.

The importance of background checks

Background checks are critical to ensure player safety in any youth sports organization.
They provide valuable information about the individual being checked, including criminal records or other offenses, which can identify potential risks. You can check the criminal history of coaches, volunteers, and organizers with a simple background check. 
Background checks provide peace of mind for families involved in the organization. Knowing that leaders have been through a vetting process reassures parents and guardians that their children are in good hands. It also guarantees the people involved in your youth sports program are of the highest quality, character, and integrity. 

Running a youth football background check

Jersey Watch gives you the ability to manage background checks and youth coaches certifications easily. We connect directly to a screening and certification management company, Yardstik. You can run national background checks in 24 hours, with no long wait times or paperwork. 
For organizations with a Jersey Watch account, you’ll have access to a dashboard where you can track the status of background checks and certifications.
youth sports background checks results in Jersey Watch
Pricing starts at $10 per background check. It includes Social Security Number (SSN) Validation and National Criminal Search. 
The screening process includes a review of:
  • Multi-state database search for criminal background.
  • Sex and violent offenders search through databases like the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • Age, Date of Birth, Address verification.
  • US Terror Watchlist (OFAC) search. 
For an extra fee, you can get a deeper background check that includes driving history records, address history, and current county search.

Tips for running a background check

1. Research your state and governing body requirements for background checks

First make sure your football program is complying with state requirements. Requirements can be different depending on your state and age group of the players.
You can check your state’s website to see requirements for youth sports volunteers. A few states with strict background check policies for youth sports include:
If you're not sure what the requirements are in your state, just try Googling "background checks policy for youth sports in {insert your state here}.
You also could be required to run background checks on all of your coaches depending on if your football is supported by a specific governing body like USA Football, Pop Warner, or NFL Flag. Be sure to check with your governing body each year to see what their requirements are for running a background check program.

2. Require coaches complete a background check once per year

Regardless of your state and governing body, you should require one coaches background check per year.
Having a simple background check policy in place keeps your football program organized and ensures that all coaches know the background screening requirements in advance. 
Posting your volunteer policies on your website is a simple way to make sure everyone is aware of the requirements.
youth football background screening
Requiring each coach to complete their background check a few months before your season gets the program off and running.
A good option is to give your football coaches a three month window from May through July to complete their background check. 
If your first practices start in July or August, the May-July window allows coaches plenty of time to confirm whether or not they want to coach and gives you several months to remind coaches that they need to complete their background check before practice starts.

3. Manage background checks with an online tool

Until recently, processing background checks could require a lot of paperwork and a long waiting period. But companies like Yardstik, Checkr, and GoodHire have simplified the process so that background screenings can be managed online.
Now, you can easily invite coaches via email to complete their background checks online. It just takes a few minutes, and your board will have easy access to results.
a youth sports background check invitation in Jersey Watch
Online background check systems can save your organization and your coaches a ton of time.
By using an online system, you can get your background check results quickly (often in just a day or two) so you can confirm each coach quickly even if they don't volunteer to coach until just before the season starts.

4. Pay for the background checks out of your football program's budget

Coaches are giving up a lot of time to help coach your football program. It's important to remove any barriers and extra costs associated with coaching. Instead of making coaches pay for their own background check out of pocket, cover the fees for each volunteer.
Simple background checks can often cost $10-20, and they don’t carry over from previous seasons. Budget a few hundred dollars per year to pay for coach and volunteer background checks.

Additional Resources

Jersey Watch is the Fastest Way to Manage Your Sports Organization