Youth Sports Transparency – Is There A Problem?

Transparency is a key term in today’s youth sports landscape. We hear stories frequently of board members abusing power and/or stealing funds. Recently, a lawsuit was filed in Maryland against some youth soccer board members for attempting to force through some changes to their bylaws and other issues.

In terms of visibility, US Youth Soccer is one of the major governing bodies of youth soccer in the country. Their 55 state associations sanction play for thousands of clubs and millions of players nationwide – and serve as a model for the clubs within their jurisdiction.

US Youth SoccerState Association Transparency

In light of the recent situation in Maryland, we took the time to review each state association’s website for key information:

  • Board Meeting & General Meeting Schedules
  • Board Meeting Minutes
  • Constitution & Bylaws
  • Current Board of Directors

Unfortunately, only 12 of 55 state association websites provide all of this information and update it regularly.

Other key findings from our research:

  • 18/55 state association websites include up-to-date board & general meeting schedules.
  • 25/55 state association websites provide either outdated or no board meeting minutes.
  • Nearly all state association websites include board of director information plus copies of their constitution and bylaws, but most do not state when they were last updated. For example, without term information for board members, website visitors must assume the information is up-to-date even though it may not be.

Lead By Example

As organizations with higher visibility, these organizations should lead by example. To reduce the number of incidents in smaller clubs, their organizing body should not only be as transparent as possible but also proactively offer tools, support, and advice for member clubs.

Each organization’s constitution and bylaws dictate what they must do, so updating them to require this information be publicly posted seems straightforward.

What do you think? Is your organization transparent? Do you think this transparency in youth sports is an issue? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kris Baker

Executive Vice President at Demosphere
Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.