Little League® Regulations Change to Require Completion of National Criminal Background Check

Starting in 2017, all local leagues will be required to conduct background checks utilizing JDP Background Screening, or another provider that is comparable to JDP.

At its annual fall meeting this November, the Little League® International Board of Directors approved a regulation, effective in 2017, that all local Little League programs will be required to conduct national criminal background checks, in addition to a search of the Department of Justice National Sex Offender Registry, for each volunteer with regular service to the league or repetitive access to children.

“The highest priority of Little League Baseball and Softball continues to be the safety and healthy development of the millions of young boys and girls that take the field each and every day,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “While we have encouraged local leagues to complete national criminal background checks by providing 125 annual checks free of charge, this new mandate will help us ensure Little League programs are providing the best possible protection for all those involved in their communities.”

Starting in 2017, Little League’s official regulations have been revised to state that all leagues in the United States are required to conduct background checks that utilize the JDP Background Screening program provided by Little League International, or another provider that is comparable to JDP in accessing background check records for sex offender registry data and criminal records. For those leagues that have satisfied this regulation in past seasons by utilizing JDP, there are not additional expectations, since the JDP background check currently meets that standard. Since 2007, Little League has provided free background checks to its affiliated leagues.

As part of the Little League Child Protection program, Little League International’s Risk Management Department has gone to great lengths to provide each local league with the tools to protect its players and all volunteers. Each year, Little League has provided local leagues and districts in the United States with 125 JDP background checks paid for by Little League International and will continue to do so with the new regulation. Little League International was the first youth sports organization to require some level of background checks, making them mandatory for some volunteers beginning in 2003. Beginning in 2007, it was mandatory for local leagues to conduct a nationwide search that contains the applicable government sex offender registry data. The new regulation expands this regulation to include a broader, comprehensive background check.

“As technologies continue to advance, it is easier than ever for our volunteer leaders to utilize the best tools and resources to help administer their local leagues,” said Mr. Keener. “For more than 10 years, Little League International’s commitment to provide free background checks has helped local leagues make informed volunteer appointments within their programs, and are confident this new regulation, only enhances those efforts.”

Each local league must also be aware of its state laws, which may require other separate and additional background check processes be completed before individuals would be permitted to assume local league volunteer responsibilities. No local league shall permit any person to participate in any manner whose background check reveals a conviction, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission to any crime involving or against a minor or minors. All local leagues must take into consideration criminal records when making the determination whether the individual is unfit to participate in any manner in the league. In addition to the background checks, all individuals wishing to volunteer with a local league must submit a volunteer application annually, and all volunteer appointments are subject to the approval of a the local league Board of Directors.

Complete information about the new background check regulation, including resources for local league volunteers, can be found at