The Center for Safe Sport was recently created by the United States Olympic Committee as an independent entity to tackle the issue of protecting America’s athletes. From athlete abuse to safety concerns to concussion protocols and more, there are a number of issues facing the athletics community that are either ignored, unaddressed, or underestimated.
Penn State will be represented on the inaugural board of the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, with the university’s chief ethics and compliance officer Regis Becker being tabbed for a seat.
“I am excited and humbled to be able to participate in this extraordinary opportunity to protect young athletes from abuse,” Becker said. “The Center for Safe Sport will employ a comprehensive approach, which includes screening, education and awareness for coaches and athletes, as well as a robust response capability to deal with alleged misconduct.”
“Young athletes in the United States will be better informed and safer as a result of the center’s efforts,” he added. “The United States Olympic Committee is to be congratulated on its cutting-edge leadership in this critical arena.
The new board includes subject-matter experts and sports professionals that will help shape the safe sport movement in America to ensure that participation in sports is as safe as possible.
Through his work at Penn State, Becker has helped developed a model Youth Protection Program, which oversees all youth programs on Penn State campuses. More than 150,000 minors participate in academic, athletic, and recreational activities at the university on a yearly basis, and Becker’s program includes background checks for all volunteers, training on how to report suspected child abuse, and registration of all youth events.
“I think my selection is due in no small part to my involvement in the development of Penn State’s excellent Youth Protection Program, which has been a model for higher education nationally,” Becker said.
The Penn State administrator joins a nine-member board and will work with the following experts:
- Angelo Giardino — Texas Children’s Hospital senior vice president and chief quality officer
- Jessica Herrera-Flanigan — Univision executive vice president of government relations and public policy
- Reuben Jones — Strategic Resources Inc. vice president of strategy and government relations
- Frank Marshall — Kennedy/Marshall Company film producer and principal
- Julie Novak — Big Brothers Big Sisters of America vice president of child safety
- Megan Ryther — NCAA assistant director of academic and membership affairs, USA Swimming world champion
- Fran Sepler — Sepler & Associations president
- Connie Smotek — Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension office manager, U.S. Olympian
Becker has previously served on the board of directors of U.S.A. Weightlifting and has served as a coach of the Penn State Olympic Weightlifting Club, giving him a strong background in the world of amateur athletics.