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Athletes for Equity in Sports’ 2022 year-end review will bring concerned sports enthusiasts up
to date on the progress of our two nonprofits:
- Athletes for Equity in Sport (AES) – 501(c)(6)
- Athletes Equity Resource Center (AERC) – 501(c)(3)
The AES Mission
AES’ mission is twofold:
- Achieve oversight of the SafeSport resolution process
- Initiate much-needed changes at the U.S. Center for Safe Sport
Both objectives are essential to the safety of athletes in Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Since 2019, AES and our lobbyist team in Washington, DC, have conducted weekly calls on the Hill. This year, we spent more than 50 hours in conversations with Senators and members from the House of Representatives.
The goal is to have direct, factual, one-on-one communication with those Senators and members of the House of Representatives who have jurisdiction and oversight powers regarding the U.S. Center for Safe Sport: namely, the Judiciary and Energy & Commerce committees.
In 2022, these conversations on the Hill concerned details of SafeSport case procedures, including
serious flaws in the resolution process. These flaws harm athletes and weaken confidence in the SafeSport process. This is not what Congress intended.
During their weekly meetings with AES attorneys; athletes and coaches going through the SafeSport resolution process; individuals reporting and respondents languishing while waiting months to years for a SafeSport investigator to be assigned; and individuals with direct internal knowledge of how cases are handled at the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, Senators and congressional representatives heard detailed accounts directly from those involved in SafeSport cases — and in case after case, serious damage was done.
Over and over again, these meaningful discussions pointed out the lack of judicial principles in SafeSport’s resolution process as well as the erosion of athletes’ confidence in SafeSport’s ability to accomplish its mission, which is to safeguard athletes from abuse. That’s why Congress created the U.S. Center for Safe Sport and what they intended it to do.
AES supports Congress’ intent in amending the Ted Stevens Act in 2017-18 and creating the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. However, Congress did not go far enough; they neither created procedures nor set boundaries with regard to authority. Instead, procedures were created following the failed methods of the Title lX sexual abuse resolution model initially used by universities.
The single investigator process was revoked by the Department of Education in 2017 as being seriously flawed and incomplete. But now that same model is used by SafeSport, and it is still seriously flawed.
AES has brought SafeSport case information directly into conversations on the Hill, drawing
Congress’ attention to four areas of concern at the U.S. Center for Safe Sport:
- Due process
- Management and operational integrity
- Weaponization of SafeSport
- Lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability
In addition to pointing out these specific areas that need immediate congressional oversight, AES also suggested four solutions:
First, to establish the legal boundaries intended by Congress in amending the Ted Stevens Act as it pertains to using the U.S. Center for Safe Sport to protect amateur athletes against abuse.
Second, to create a dialogue with the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, USOPC, and its related NGBs and affiliates, addressing the current status of SafeSport policies and procedures that lack legal equity and making recommendations for a fairer process for all parties involved.
Third, to obtain congressional support for agreed-upon policy changes that achieve equity in SafeSport procedures, both proactively and retroactively.
Fourth, to press for judicial and congressional remedies compelling equitable policy changes to SafeSport, the USOPC, and its related NGBs and affiliates — including legal filings to the appropriate level of the law if negotiations are unsuccessful.
In the Courts
AES supports the upcoming legal filings that attorneys are bringing forward in 2023 to remedy their clients’ damages caused by the SafeSport resolution process and administrative mismanagement by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.
In the Press
AES has offered factual information to the mainstream media, which is becoming painfully aware of issues with SafeSport’s resolution process and the subsequent negative effects on sports and athletes’ lives. Linked below are a few articles highlighting the growing body of public evidence that supports the need for congressional review and oversight of SafeSport.
Sports Supporting AES
Athletes, coaches, parents, and other stakeholders in the following sports support the AES mission: badminton, boxing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, track & field, water polo, and wrestling plus Paralympic basketball, equestrian, and hockey.
Every week, AES receives calls and emails asking for support, information, and/or assistance. To date,,
AES has helped more than 100 athletes and coaches who called us asking for free advice and guidance on how to navigate the SafeSport process. These individuals were directed to pro bono attorneys who could answer their questions and assist them wherever possible.
This has added up to some 250 pro bono hours so far, thanks to the attorneys assisting everyone who’s asked for help. Thus AES serves as a point of contact for individuals on both sides of a SafeSport report who are looking for some understanding — sadly, not easily obtained in the SafeSport process.
Athletes Equity Resource Center (AERC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides the Athlete Assistance Program℠ to insurance carriers and NGBs (national governing bodies) of Olympic and Paralympic sports. AAP℠ promotes athlete safety and mental health by giving athletes access to professional counselors and other well-being resources through innovative mental health leader Canopy Inc. AERC funds a 24/7 hotline (CALL 855-639-3009) to Canopy for athletes and their families, who may be struggling with SafeSport’s process.
Thanks to the vision and support of AERC presidents Susan Schoellkopf and Mason Phelps (RIP), AERC volunteers with expertise in insurance and mental health secured a registered service mark for AAP℠ through the US Patent & Trademark Office. AES commends the commitment of AERC members to improving athletes’ lives by offering this tangible assistance from mental health professionals.
AERC also maintains a growing list of experienced attorneys well versed in navigating SafeSport’s daunting procedures and complex code. They stand ready to assist individuals who find themselves in need of legal assistance with SafeSport. AERC’s curated list can be found on the Legal Resources page at AthletesEquityResourceCenter.com.
AES operates through the generous support of contributors. Thank you to those who have financially contributed toward the success of AES’ mission. AES accepts stock or cash donations. Donations to AES, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, are not tax deductible.
These contributors understand that AES is making progress. We are addressing the resolution process at SafeSport, and we are educating Senators and members of the House of Representatives about the need for congressional oversight.
Attorneys working on SafeSport cases have seen a direct correlation between AES’ efforts and certain changes at the U.S. Center for Safe Sport — albeit none to which the center will admit.
AES’ purpose is to improve safety for athletes in Olympic and Paralympic sports; support Congress’ intended mission in creating the U.S. Center for Safe Sport; and instigate SafeSport code and procedural revisions. We must put an end to the weaponization of SafeSport — i.e., misusing a SafeSport report to handle what is all too frequently a labor dispute or vendetta.
AES operates with pro bono attorneys and a volunteer Board of Directors. Your donation in support of AES’ mission can be made via the Donate page.
AES is grateful for the generous donations it has received and the countless hours our members have
freely given in support of AES and the work we do every day to make SafeSport work better for
everyone. To learn more about the work AES is doing and how you can volunteer or donate, please visit
www.athletesforequity.org or email [email protected].
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Bullying & Sexual Harassment SafeSport Case Study| News Update
SafeSport Case Study Scenario| News Update
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The Three Components Of Our Strategy To Strengthen SafeSport| News Update
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Letter to USEF| News Update
Newsletter 005| News Update
April 1, 2020| News Update
March 21, 2020| News Update
Honor Patrick “Packy” McGaughan| News Update
Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 | News Update
February 2020| News Update
AES Newsletter 2| News Update
Progress Report | News Update
Chronicle of the Horse | News Update
January 16, 2020 | News Update
U.S. Center for SafeSport | News Update
I’ve Been Inside the SafeSport Process | Testimonial Update
A review of SafeSport’s inadequate system is long overdue. Athletes for Equity in Sport is here to help facilitate that discussion and bring about positive change in the SafeSport process. Please read our ongoing updates and join Athletes for Equity in Sport at:
Facebook: Athletes for Equity in Sport
Our Mailing Address is:
Athletes For Equity in Sport, Inc.
10130 Northlake Blvd Ste 214-171
West Palm Beach, FL 33412-1101