2008-10-09 / Local & State

PIAA Moves Toward Background Checks

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has given preliminary approval to require background checks of all future sports official applicants and is working toward a plan of checking the organization's 13,000 officials.

The PIAA reported on its Web site that its Board of Directors unanimously passed both motions Friday.

On a first reading, the Board accepted a recommendation requiring all applicants to become PIAA-registered sports officials submit a background check. The Board also directed its staff to research requiring background checks of all 13,700 registered sports officials and report back at the group's December meeting.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last month that dozens of people who officiated school sports events in the Pittsburgh area since 2005 have criminal records. The newspaper also said a self-reporting policy by the statewide association overseeing officials didn't seem to be working.

The PIAA responded to the newspaper report with a statement saying fewer than one percent of registered officials in the Pittsburgh area had any criminal convictions and most were for misdemeanors and offenses that occurred 15 to 20 years ago.

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