March 12, 2008

Huge ICTA Success Story: WTA Now Requires Criminal Background Checks on All Coaches of WTA Players!

Posted in Julia Vakulenko, Junior Tennis, Leadership, Rich Fanning, scott paschal, Sexual Abuse Tennis, Teamwork, Tim Heckler, USPTA, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:32 pm by Scott Paschal

pacificlife2007day30212.jpgA big, heartfelt thank you, and congratulations, goes out to the International Christian Tennis Association members and supporters worldwide who have rock solidly helped me to champion women’s rights in tennis.

As many of you know, I have personally made a stand to protect the rights of sexually abused female athletes.

Worldwide, and I mean everywhere, sexual predators posing as tennis coaches stalk junior tennis players, particularly female players.

And in the hundred+ years of tennis history, every major tennis governing body had seemingly turned their heads away from dealing with the rampant sexual abuse and sexual slavery dominating tennis training and tennis academies, and destroying the lives of our youth!

As the International Christian Tennis Association membership grew from 5 members in Arlington, Texas in 1999 to thousands and thousands of members living in over 1800 cities in 60 countries in 2008, the ICTA voice began to be heard and accounted for!

Your voices have been heard as pressure has mounted on tennis’ governing bodies to finally do something to protect underage, female tennis players from predator, pedophile tennis coaches.

Last night, I gratefully received long awaited information that the WTA is now demanding mandatory criminal background checks on all coaches of WTA players! And not just the coaches, but everyone in the player’s entourage as well!

WAHOO!!

Congratulations to Larry Scott, WTA CEO, for making this pro-active, worldwide sport-altering decision to finally offer some protection to underage WTA players.

Larry Scott says to Reuters at the Dubai Championships, “As the leading global sport for women and a sport where we have a lot of girls under age, I feel we’ve got a serious obligation to be at the forefront of any measures we can to protect the players.”

scotty-bill-goofy.jpgBut, much more than a congratulations to Larry goes a congratulations to YOU, the International Christian Tennis Association member! You listened to my pleas and understood the need for change!

You sent ICTA newsletters to your friends, family, co-workers, church members, pastors….! At junior tournaments globally, you began discussing my hard-line, no compromise stance when it comes to protecting underage junior and female tennis players.

Now, the WTA has felt the pressure and change has occurred!

Let me add something to Larry’s stance…

The Bible says, “But if you give these children a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.” Mathew 18:6 MSG

Why the WTA Tour took this long to make such an obvious decision, I don’t know. People who turn their heads to crime are guilty of crime.

Honestly, Larry, has the WTA Tour never, ever been approached by even one under-age WTA player who has been abused by a coach? And, if so, is not the WTA Tour responsible for subsequent acts of sexual and physical abuse towards WTA players… particularly if the WTA attempted to keep the issue swept under the rug?

While I applaud the WTA for making a long awaited move, I can’t help but wonder why other organizations, such as the USPTA, PTR, and USTA haven’t chosen to protect women and under aged player’s rights?

The United States Professional Tennis Association, USPTA, claims to be the oldest pro tennis certification organization on the planet. If so, then why in the world have they seemingly chosen to support the rights of criminal child pedophiles, while suffocating the rights of young girls?

Rich Fanning, USPTA Director, and Tim Heckler, USPTA CEO, both seem to be caring and professional people who truly want to promote and grow the sport of tennis.

The question, though, has to be asked as to why the USPTA with these two men at the helm is doing what seems like absolutely NOTHING to protect tennis players, particularly youth, from homosexual and heterosexual pedophiles!

What is the USPTA afraid of!? Losing money when the pedophiles/criminals hiding within the USPTA’s “professional membership” stop paying dues because they don’t want to be exposed?

IF WTA can do criminal background checks to protect our kids from pedophiles, then what is USPTA’s excuse? They have none! If a pro or potential pro isn’t willing to have a criminal background check done, then he or she doesn’t deserve a respected USPTA pro certification.

A USPTA background check would send a strong signal to current and potential tennis teaching professionals.

Same goes for Professional Tennis Registry, PTR. I wonder which of these organizations will prove their authenticity to the world first!

To wrap this up, thank you to everyone who supported the hard line stance I took in holding tennis’ governing bodies accountable for their actions.

My hard line stance was a direct result of the influence Gene Scott has had in my life, plus recommendations from friends that I NOT take a hard line stance as my friends were concerned I might end up getting bashed in the process of making a difference .

In addition, personally witnessing female players’ lives being destroyed by tennis and my being attacked by the abusers of those players massively motivated me to make 2008 THE year of change in tennis.pacific-life-2007-day-3-035.jpg

Yet, more importantly, God plainly telling me exactly what I was to do with my life chained me to the responsibility and drive needed to force tennis to wake up to issues.

God bless and buckle in… this rodeo is just gettin’ started!

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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3 Comments »

  1. Amy said,

    Scotty,

    I didn’t realize there were no background checks for tennis coaches and teaching pros certified by the USPTA, PTR, or any other tennis organization. When parents send their kids to tennis academies, tennis camps and for lessons, I am sure that they assume this safeguard is already in place to assure the safety during the housing and training of these underage athletes. Since background checks are common place and necessary in todays society, it is inexcusable that this type of safeguard has not been implemented long ago.

    I think parents of young tennis players should demand that background checks be established immediately by all of these organizations for future and all current coaches registered with and certified by them. I think we all know too well what abuses do occur when this type of access and authority is allowed without any screening or accountability. Julia Vakulenko’s story comes to mind here, as well as other abused children you have mentioned in the previous and former BLOGS.

    I agree that loss of money for these organizations is most likely one of the reasons this stayed under the radar so long. Isn’t there some way that the parents of and these abused underage tennis players can hold these organizations accountable for past abuses by the coaches they certified?

    Thank goodness this is finally coming to light.

    Amy

  2. Scott Paschal said,

    amy,

    while i am glad larry scott is moving forward towards protecting players, i’m still sickened that in such a modern time like 2008 how larry scott and the wta tour has taken so long… and only decided to do this after international christian tennis association added pressure.

    wta may say icta simply helped bring the issues to light, and once we did they quickly responded. but, that goes completely against reason as EVERYONE in tennis knew females were being caught up in sexual slavery. i believe there is a solid chance someone in wta knew it for years and years as well, and purposefully decided to not make specific rules to protect players.

    the wta is supposed to represent players, not bully players and decide who receives protection and who doesn’t!

    icta has formed a core group of attorneys, business men and women, and tennis industry representatives to pro-actively force tennis to deal with issues destroying not only the game, but, more importantly, lives.

    i also agree with people who tell me the wta should be held legally responsible for their “non-actions.”

    now, the world needs to look directly at united states tennis association, international tennis federation, professional tennis registry, and united states professional tennis association… in addition to every tennis academy and coach certification organization worldwide.

    i expect to continue to be ridiculed for my hard line stance by child molesters who want to shut me up, but i really don’t give a rip!!

    all that said, i admire larry scott for his decision. it was huge and shows great character on his part. i’m disappointed it took so long, but i’m glad at least one person in the global tennis arena has the courage to do what is right.

    God bless,

    scotty

  3. Anonymous said,

    Doing background checks, especially when working with kids, is in my opinion crucial. I see more and more volunteer organizations and athlet clubs doing it on their coaches. Wouldn’t you like to know who your kids trainer is?


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