Sen.Mitchell’s PSU Report Stunner: Must ALL Coaches ALWAYS Have a Second Adult Present?

My earlier post  (“How Sen.Mitchell’s Integrity Report Overlooks PSU’s Effort to ‘Gut’ a Basic Reform“) pointed out that Senator Mitchell’s first Quarterly ‘PSU Integrity Report’ allowed PSU to cleverly “gut” one of the primary (and more pragmatic) mandated reforms, by filling each newly-required “Team Monitor” position with the name of the Head Coach! 

Senator Mitchell’s First Quarterly Report contains a second stunner:

“Minors Involved in University Programs:  ….. at least two authorized adults must be present during all interactions and activities with minors…” [Emphasis added]

Translated: PSU and any contractors operating camps, schools or recreational activities must have two adults present. Not the qualifier. This is not just a requirement that two adults be “on premises” (e.g., around and about, available — nearby — if something comes up.)  This requires that two adults be present at all times. This is a blanket, no-exceptions rule. The wording is so precise as to bring into question whether, for example, one of two supervising adults can leave for 5 minutes to go down the hall to use the rest room. And it very broadly applies to any circumstances involving any “minor” (conventionally understood to mean any person under the age of 18.)

This is much broader, and  more expensive standard of care than is currently in effect, I am told, in most child-supervision contexts. But because it’s been issued by PSU, and sanctioned by the august Senator Mitchell, under the penetrating glare of the ongoing publicity associated with post-scandal developments at PSU, it has all the markings of a new, and more burdensome standard of care which one might reasonably expect will be favorably cited and applied in a broad range of child-supervision employment settings across the country.

This new standard is, in fact, a shot which might be heard all around the many worlds of adult-supervised activity — whether in public schools, child care centers, and/or youth and high school sports.

One can only imagine this PSU “Two-Adults-At-All-Times” protocol being touted by, for example, a plaintiff’s attorney who has brought suit against a public school system, claiming negligence on the part of that system for its’ failure to comply with this now allegedly ‘state-of-the-art’ PSU “Two-Adults-At-All-Times” standard.  Or also imagine the hyper-sensitive, if not paranoid mind-set of some twenty-something recent college-grad Rec League Coach when his assistant cross-country coach calls in sick that day.

I’m am not here suggesting that this “Two-Adults-At-All-Times” standard of care is wrong-headed and ill-advised, since I don’t pretend to have studied the matter thoroughly.  What I am suggesting is that the remarkable breadth and scope of change marked by this standard might have justifiably required more thorough development, explication, and perhaps even trial-and-error, pilot-project implementation, before being fully and finally adopted.

As it now stands, the appearance of this new standard, in fact, ought to generate some anxiety on the part of school-teachers and coaches, public school administrators, child care workers, and the thousands of volunteers and employees of youth sports organizations.

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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