Jump to content
therefump

Background Checks............

Recommended Posts

Question for all of you.....

PIAA is forcing us to go through background checks. STOP, and finish reading before replying. Those of us who were certified before 2007 are exempt. Those of us who lapsed (myself included) for 2 yrs are required to pay approx. $100 for FBI, State, etc. background checks. Personally, I've had to go through this with USAA Hockey waaaaaayyyyy back in 1999. No big deal. They paid for it.

For PIAA and Catholic School baseball............why should we incur the expense? I am all for background checks. I just think that given the expense, the league(s) could get a better discount. We're already burdened enough with our expenses, why should we foot the additional $$$$. Thoughts?

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for all of you.....

PIAA is forcing us to go through background checks. STOP, and finish reading before replying. Those of us who were certified before 2007 are exempt. Those of us who lapsed (myself included) for 2 yrs are required to pay approx. $100 for FBI, State, etc. background checks. Personally, I've had to go through this with USAA Hockey waaaaaayyyyy back in 1999. No big deal. They paid for it.

For PIAA and Catholic School baseball............why should we incur the expense? I am all for background checks. I just think that given the expense, the league(s) could get a better discount. We're already burdened enough with our expenses, why should we foot the additional $$$$. Thoughts?

Roy

That sucks. I guess they figure since you're being paid, that the cost should be borne by the "independent contractors". :yippie:

I do a bit of volunteer work at my church, and they also require background checks; however, because we're volunteers, there's no expense to us. I'm thinking that may be the difference. It sucks, but what can you do? A discount program? Well, given that there are "x" number of individuals to check on, there's no real "volume discount" to the work load of the FBI and state authorities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm almost ready to toss in the towel on the expense side. I could care less about HS Baseball in PA because of this. The only reason I may go through with things is because I do CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) because I went through the program. I just think it's one more expense we don't need. If Pennsylvania wants a background check then do it. Don't pass it on to us.

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100 bucks? Paid to whom? PIAA, who "will conduct the checks"? I'd ask to see the printout, along with the receipt for the fee. (After all, you're paying for it). They're either piling on excessive "Admin Fees", or you're getting hosed. Our league perfoms a background check on all umpires, BOD members, and coaches. The League pays for it...

$2.00 per background check.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and PIAA (PA Schools) mandated that we get 3 clearances: 1) PA State Police 2) PA Dept of Public Welfare and 3) FBI Federal Criminal History Record. The total comes to $90.00 not $100 as I originally posted.

USAA Hockey did it for us in the past (up through 2002). What really bugs me is that you don't have to pay if you've been grandfathered into the program. So, if I was some kind of perve and I've been doing this for 3+ years then I sneak right through. I don't understand it. Further, the cost is way overblown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that there will be quite a few PIAA officials give up the patch.....the background check fee is on top of the $30 registration fee as well....(I am a PIAA Umpire, although exempt due to the extended service)

I am for background checks.....PIAA was embarassed this year by a investigative report by the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette. The paper found dozens of active and past PIAA-registered officials with criminal records in a nine-month Pittsburgh Post-Gazette examination of 2,272 officials who have worked in this region since 2005...

But the PIAA said the combined checks would only cost $50...even so, many PIAA umpires I know, due to work schedules, only do a limited schedule of HS games......going down $130 for the season may decrease any incentive to "get the patch"....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a bit of a different take on this. As some of you might know by day I'm the Catbert of my company (Evil Asst. HR Dir) I deal with doing background checks their costs and their use.

  • I agree criminal background checks should be done on all youth/ scholastic officials.
  • The costs of these checks should not be pushed down to the officials. They should be absorbed by the member schools requesting the background check.
  • Unfortunately there can never be a volume discount on background checks because each one is complete unique and may require different sources.
  • I do believe $100 is a pretty fair price for a background investigation overall.
  • The $2.00 check which was mentioned I would not rely on. This information would have to come from some sort of database. Many/most states have a law that information coming from a database (excluding sex offenders database) must be corroborated from an actual record from the court. But not knowing all the facts around this search it could also be an "administrative fee" for someone to check the sex offenders list which is free.
  • Here's how a typical investigation works.

    • First you collect all the identifying information from the person and get their authorization.
    • Next you do a SS# trace. This tells you every place where this person has lived and worked. This gives you the locations to begin your search.
    • Perform a national database search. In most states you can't use this information to base a decision off of, but this is very useful because John Doe may have never lived or worked in Las Vegas, but went there on vacation and got in some trouble. His SS# will not have a hit to Las Vegas, but now he get a hit from there and add that as a location to search.
    • Search the state databases (if available) for all states where you have hits and mark all the municipalities which have hits.
    • Now you have compiled a list of municipalities to search. You then send somebody to pull the actual file from the courthouse (There are contractors who do this for a living) of the municipality. These are the records you can undoubtedly use.
    • The cost is going to vary per municipality. Some municipalities charge for this access, others don't.
    • Then suppose you have a female official who has been married 1, 2, 3... times and her name has changed. This multiplies the cost per name. You need to check each name because some of people will try, and get away with, using a former name.
    • I'd say our company pays as low as $35 for an investigation of a person who only comes up in one location and doesn't have any other names, to as high as $600 for a female who was married several times and moved quite frequently.
    • [*]The big question is what sort of information are they looking for and for what purpose. Unfortunately the reading of investigative reports is extremely subjective. While it is easy to say, "Any drug, violent, or sexual convictions in X many years will rule somebody out." Things aren't always so black and white.

      • My company just had a long hiring discussion about a person we wanted to hire who had a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon. All the information we got was the charge, ruling and fine. We don't get the transcripts. Some people didn't want to hire him citing that is a weapons charge, others didn't care too much about that charge. After discussing the charge with the individual we still made the job offer.

    Let me also add this. If an officials organization is going to do this they need to do it frequently (annually) a background investigation is merely a snapshot in time and the information given is out of date the second it is retrieved. There should be no grandfathering of people in either. Your 2009 check comes back clear, then after the report is completed you get a conviction. This needs to be checked regularly. I've also seen an instance where the initial check comes in clear, but a later one comes back with info which should have been caught the first time, but for whatever reason wasn't. This happens more frequently than you would think because many municipalities are just coming to be better organized and files are available electronically. Podunk County may not have been submitting their information to the state as required, but they get their act together and push through a huge back log of cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its going on everywhere. Churches are getting more and more paranoid now as well. Gotta have at least 2 adults present at youth groups and other similar functions.

Oh and if you are reporting your umpire income on your taxes as your supposed to, you probably could include that as an expense deduction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for all of you.....

Those of us who were certified before 2007 are exempt.

Thoughts?

Roy

That makes no sense. It's as if somehow you've umpired for a couple of years, you've proven that you're not a perv.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LL helps with the costs of background checks for us and each league gets free ones. Which seem pretty basic db searches. So we don't have to pay anything.

They do need to make you aware of any positive results that come up. Just like a potential employer must notify you and you sign the permission to perform a credit or background check and inform you if credit was why you were declined for a position. Depending on the search method used, there may be items that are turned up that don't pertain to you, but they must supply you with that as well (these types of checks mentioned would be more complete). Like the ones we had just do a database search by typing in the name and mailing the results. So lots of people get letters with a list of people found. If you have a common name, that must be annoying.

I don't agree with making you pay for your own background check. They're the ones that need it, that's their administrative costs and shouldn't be passed down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for all of you.....

PIAA is forcing us to go through background checks. STOP, and finish reading before replying. Those of us who were certified before 2007 are exempt. Those of us who lapsed (myself included) for 2 yrs are required to pay approx. $100 for FBI, State, etc. background checks. Personally, I've had to go through this with USAA Hockey waaaaaayyyyy back in 1999. No big deal. They paid for it.

For PIAA and Catholic School baseball............why should we incur the expense? I am all for background checks. I just think that given the expense, the league(s) could get a better discount. We're already burdened enough with our expenses, why should we foot the additional $$$$. Thoughts?

Roy

In the scheme of things $100.00 is not that much money. It is a ONE TIME Fee and is basically 2 or 3 games Fees (depending upon one's pay structure) The $100.00 is also tax deductable if you file Schedule C on your 1040.

IMO, it's an investment if you wish to contnue umpiring. No different then purchasing equipment.

Example: In My HS association there is talk about going to Charcoal Gray Pants. Presently we wear the Heather Gray. If and when we change to the Charcoal Gray (which many college associations have already done so) that will be an added cost. If you get only one pair of Plate/Base pants that's approximately $100.00 right there.

Umpire associations do not PAY for your umpire equipment so IMO they should not pay for your background check. If umpire associations start paying for back-ground checks for all of their umpires who need them then it stands to reason the dues will increase to cover the cost and then EVERYONE in the association will raise a "stink"

if you umpire many games IMO the $100.00 is no "BIG DEAL" and you will recoup that mone as stated in your first 2 or 3 games.

Pete Booth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a bit of a different take on this. As some of you might know by day I'm the Catbert of my company (Evil Asst. HR Dir) I deal with doing background checks their costs and their use.

[*]The costs of these checks should not be pushed down to the officials. They should be absorbed by the member schools requesting the background check.

Warren in the times we live in IMO the costs should NOT be passed down to the schools.

The $100.00 is an INVESTMENT in umpiring. No different then purchasing equipment.

Another example in addition to the one I already gave.

I do not know how long you have been umpiring, but when I started we wore the Elbeco Blue shirts. They cost around $10.00 - $15.00. Our association patch cost $5.00 and then you simply sowed them on or used velcro and attached them to the shirt.

Then we went to the Cliff Kein navy Blue pull-over shirts at a cost of approx $25.00 - $30.00 (depending upon if you ordered in bulk or not) These costs were not passed down to the schools or the umpire association. It was up to each member to either purchase the shirts or simply do not umpire in this association.

We also changed from the black pull-over jacket to the Navy Blue pullover. Again another added cost.

The point is whenever an umpire association changes uniform etc. it is up to the INDIVIDUAL to pay these costs. It's part of our investment in the profession.

In a nutshell the $100.00 is NO BIG DEAL. It's a one time FEE and that money will be recouped in 2 / 3 games. If you umpire 100 or so games each year that's not very much in the scheme of things.

Pete Booth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warren in the times we live in IMO the costs should NOT be passed down to the schools.

Why not? It's their requirement. When you say "in the times we live in," are you referring to economic, or "the way things are today?" If it's the former, it's irrelevant to the discussion - if it's a legitimate need, then the economy, good or bad, shouldn't drive it. (Whether it's a legitimate need, or whether this background check will actually do anything beyond the appearance of accomplishing something, is another matter.

The $100.00 is an INVESTMENT in umpiring. No different then purchasing equipment.

I disagree. A shirt/patch, a mask, a chest protector, a training book, a training class, association dues - THOSE are investments. All of those things either help one become a better umpire, look like a proper umpire, or provide protection whilst umpiring.

A background check, on the other hand, is either an a$$-covering exercise to avoid lawsuits, or an exercise to provide a false sense of security to administrators or parents, or both. It would be pretty easy to be clean enough to get through a background check, and yet still be a [whatever deviant this is trying to get rid of]. Again, it's a non-umpiring requirement.

Also, a background is dumber than dirt. One clears the check, and then becomes the rampant axe-murderer. So what did the check solve? So that means on-going checks of each person; thus, the "one time" fee to which you refer becomes more-than-one-time.

(I'm a holder of a security clearance, so I know a little bit about the subject. I didn't just get the clearance, and they've never looked again; there are updates and reinvestigations all that time - not just if there's a "probable cause" issue.)

And by the way - why exactly are OFFICIALS in need of this? I don't know about anyone else, but I don't spend any time with players other than from the plate meeting to the last out. And there are a lot of other people all around during that time - just what do they think would happen? If this is really a need, it's coaches that need it - you know, the ones that spend hours and hours with the kids, away from the parents.

In a nutshell the $100.00 is NO BIG DEAL. It's a one time FEE and that money will be recouped in 2 / 3 games. If you umpire 100 or so games each year that's not very much in the scheme of things.

Must be lovely to be that popular. We - UIC and I are in the same association - have a pretty large group, and an assignor that tries to keep things as even as possible (given the level of umpires and level of ball required, that is). Even counting games that I got paid for that didn't get played - forfeits, schedule screw-ups, whatever - I haven't broken 90 yet in the three years I've been here. Granted, that's close to what you're saying, but at some of our lower levels, it takes more than 3 games to get $100, so our newbies would be impacted harder. (And remember what I said about the recurring need to check people out IF we're serious about background checks.)

All in all, a bad idea, and if it's still insisted upon, the ones that came up with the bad idea should bear the cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pete, I like the analogy of purchasing equipment and by all means it is a tax deduction.

But this is more similar to an employment situation and while I'm sure it has happened, I've never heard the employer asking a candidate to pay for their own background check. But closer to the actuality of this being a contractor/client relationship if the client requests it they will generally up their bill accordingly. So in consideration of the additional fee their game rates should go up accordingly.

But if this is only a one time check, it becomes useless if there is no periodic follow through. So it does only offer a false sense of security.

I would be in favor of officials in youth sports getting a quality background check on a regular basis. While like HokieUmp mentioned we don't hang out with the kids beyond the plate meeting, there is too much opportunity for a creep to get too close to a child. They may be all business on the field/court/etc but they see the kid at the mall or on the street or at Target or elsewhere and use their "familiarity" with the child to lower their defenses to the stranger danger they are taught about.

Like anything else there is no fool proof solution and these dirtballs won't have a record until it's too late. So background checks are a lagging indicator, but when done properly and regularly offer the best solution possible at this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LL has used background checks for several years but they only require a check of sex offender lists. They pay for a percentage of the checks then get a bulk discount on the others. what is being suggested here is a full criminal check which is much more expensive. Allowing older members to no have to do it is stupid. It should be done on some recurring basis but it should also be paid for by the state requiring it.

I agree with Warren it is very similar to what an employer does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in full agreement with HokieUmp. Background checks for umpires make no sense at all and accomplish very little.

It is nothing like the "investment" in equipment or training. It is an administrative cost of running a league or school function. If you want to make your lawyer happy by doing a background check, then you pay for it.

I work 4 sports, now am I going to have to pony up 4 x $100 for background checks?

Having said that, if that became the local policy, I am sure I would pay to keep officiating, but I don't have to like it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But this is more similar to an employment situation and while I'm sure it has happened, I've never heard the employer asking a candidate to pay for their own background check. But closer to the actuality of this being a contractor/client relationship if the client requests it they will generally up their bill accordingly. So in consideration of the additional fee their game rates should go up accordingly.

Warren I "hear" what you are saying but an employment situation is different.

We are NOT Employees but more like independent contractors.

IMO, here's a better example.

As an employee of a company you are covered under Gen Liab Insurance / Workers comp etc. Those are BENEFITS paid to the employee.

HOWEVER, when you are an independent contractor, it is up to you to make certain you have all the statutory benefits etc. In other words, the client you work for is NOT going to pay you for those benefits.

IMO, it's like this either pay the $100.00 for the background check or DO NOT work it's that simple.

Pete Booth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not? It's their requirement. When you say "in the times we live in," are you referring to economic, or "the way things are today?" If it's the former, it's irrelevant to the discussion - if it's a legitimate need, then the economy, good or bad, shouldn't drive it. (Whether it's a legitimate need, or whether this background check will actually do anything beyond the appearance of accomplishing something, is another matter.

I disagree.

As I said to Warren it's this simple.

If you want to work in this association and a background check is a requirement you have 2 choices.

1. Pay the ONE TIME FEE of $100.00 and go about your business

OR

2. Do not pay it and then look for somewhere else to umpire.

Schools are cutting back so no need to add extra expense on them

Example: In my area the varsity schedule is being cut by 20% this year which translates into 4 fewer games per team. That's a BIG cut

Some have cancelled their modified or Freshman Programs because they do not have the money.

I do not know about your area, but as mentioned in my area the schools are cutting back so no need to add extra cost on them.

You said you did 90 games. I will assume an average paycheck per game to be in the $40.00 range (In my area I average $60 - $65/game)

Therefore, 90 games x $40.00/game = $3,600.00 per year.

Out of that you have to pay your regular dues (In my association we have to pay $80.00/year to our HS association and $60.00/yr to our summer assignor)

Let's say your dues are $60.00 - That leaves $3,540.00 Gas to and from games another $200.00 which leaves $3,340.00. Equipment purchases say another $200.00 which leaves $3,140.00 and the $100.00 background check which leaves a final balance of $3,040.00 or there -abouts.

IMO, not a bad "side gig"

That's why I say a $100.00 ONE TIME background check Fee in the "scheme of things" is no big deal.

Squalk all you want but if that's what they want you to do, either pay it or go elsewhere.

Pete Booth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are going to disagree here Pete. If they are going to require background checks they should do them anually. If they don't it will do nothing, if they do it will do little. If you are a multible sport official then you should only have to do that once, not every sport. Our state dues used to be that way. When we pay dues to the assoc. the better part goes to the state. Some years ago that changed, three sport officials had to pay the state three times. Anything the state handles will never get cheaper or easier. They continue to stack requirements and increase fees to do it for little benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are going to disagree here Pete. If they are going to require background checks they should do them anually. If they don't it will do nothing, if they do it will do little. If you are a multible sport official then you should only have to do that once, not every sport. Our state dues used to be that way. When we pay dues to the assoc. the better part goes to the state. Some years ago that changed, three sport officials had to pay the state three times. Anything the state handles will never get cheaper or easier. They continue to stack requirements and increase fees to do it for little benefit.

What about the separation of church and state?? I worship at the church of baseball.......and the state raises the rates!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry -I know a few days have passed, but I wanted to address this again.

If you want to work in this association and a background check is a requirement you have 2 choices.

1. Pay the ONE TIME FEE of $100.00 and go about your business

OR

2. Do not pay it and then look for somewhere else to umpire.

I get that - I really do. And I don't disagree those are the two possible choices. So far, this debate for me is more philosophical than reality-based, since Virginia's had the good sense not to go through with this horse<bleep>.

I'm not going quote the rest of your post, but here are my points in response:

1. Costs: Don't care if schools are cutting back; that argument is a red-herring. Next thing you know, the school districts will say "sorry, we're low on money - bring your own camp chairs from home, kids."

When schools are funded by property taxes AND a line item in state budgets AND with federal funding, there's a lot of money out there. I won't go farther than that, since the debate about how well money's used, and is it enough, etc, are for another place/time, but in terms of actual US dollars, most school districts have a budget that's a pretty large number.

Times are tight for us, too, so there's no sense in putting an extra expense on us, either.

2. This is a solution looking for a problem. Unless PA is loaded with sexual predators and/or pedophiles, more so than other places, I fail to see where this is an issue. Yes, "one incident is too many," blah blah blah, but life is about managing risk, and we risk our lives and health from the moment we wake up in the morning. Is this REALLY such a problem that it requires this kind of solution?

It sure seems to me that this is an extension of the "helicopter parents" that can't seem to let go. These parents should be more concerned about what their kids are posting and reading on the MyBooks and the FaceSpaces on the World Wide InterGoogle, if they're worried about sexual predators.

And if the PA schools, public and Catholic, have the kind of problem that warrants this reaction, shouldn't their outrage and funding be directed inwards to fix it?

3. Is this being limited to sports officials only? Or is every teacher, administrator, coach, and custodian - ALL of whom have more access to the kids, time-wise, and potentially in more hidden spaces than the ballfield I encounter kids on - also having to submit to this? And pay for it? If not, there's what stops the process right there - a nice class-action lawsuit, charging discriminatory practices.

4. Again, as someone that does this already (and for a far better paying job than HS umpire), if it's done once, and never followed up, it's a joke. So it's a solution to the "Cover Our A$$" problem versus any legitimate problem. And I really can't see the other side to this argument.

5. Given the level of check this is - I'd bet it's far less extensive than the one I go through - it's a check on a database or databases to see if a hit comes up on the last name and SSN. That takes about 0.05 seconds with a decent SQL database engine, so even counting the fraction of hourly salary for the employee that punches the information into the database, it sounds like to me that $100 is a gross overcharge for the process. If I could confirm it, I'd be willing to bet that more than 1/2 of that $100 is used to fill the coffers of the school system, and that's just wrong.

6. In general, I resent things that start with an assumption of my guilt without some form of prior behavior or probable cause.

And you'll notice I left out the "how much it costs you out of what you earn from umpiring." It's probably not much, but to throw away money on a useless exercise offends me. It also has eff-all to do with umpiring, as all my other expenses have to do with equipping me, training me, or getting me to games.

So I guess we'll agree to disagree on this in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...