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Background checks the norm for youth sports

Posted: 2:24 AM, Sep 30, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-30 02:24:26-04

Like many youth sports organizations, East Lake Little League in Palm Harbor takes background checks very seriously.

Coaches and volunteers go through a series of checks in a national date base for both criminal background and sexual offenses.

Nicole Wall ensures those checks get done for the league.

“So there’s a two-fold system in place to make sure that we catch as many questionable activities as possible,” she said.

Little League international uses First Advantage to handle background checks. But there are many similar paid services.

“The goal is just to ensure that everyone that interacts with our children at the little league fields is in a position to be a responsible and respectable adult,” said Wall.

We still don’t know what kind of background check if any was done for Tru Elite Athletes and Mentors, a non-profit founded by John Capel, an Olympic track star and former University of Florida football player.

Two of the program's coaches, Carlos Cleveland and Derrick Atkins, are facing charges for possession and manufacturing cocaine.

And records shows Atkins has served prison time before.

“It’s always a concern that somebody slips through the cracks or found a way to circumvent the system. That’s why working at the league that I do, it’s important that we know each other, that we communicate those concerns and we work through the system that we have in place,” said Wall.

The motto of Tru Elite is, “Our goal is to better our kids in every aspect of life.”  

We have yet to hear back from messages left for the organization’s leadership.