USA Wrestling requiring media to go through background check

USA Wrestling says journalists seeking to cover federation-sponsored events will now be subject to a background check, which is believed to be the first such requirement of its kind for a governing body in the U.S.

The federation announced the move Monday, saying it was designed to increase safety in the sport. The requirements include a mandatory hour-long U.S. Center for Safe Sports online video and will go into effect immediately.

The federation’s statement on Monday made no mention of Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics national team doctor now serving decades in prison for molesting women and girls and for possessing child pornography. But it did say that the organization ”has and will continue to inform adults affiliated with USA Wrestling about their responsibilities for mandatory reporting of suspected abuse.”

USA Wrestling said the online video and background check, which had been long been required of national staff, coaches, referees, medical personnel and other officials, is part of an effort to create a national system for media accreditation that protects its athletes, including both children and adults, from any form of abuse.

In addition to senior-level tournaments such as the world and Olympic team trials, USA Wrestling also governs boy’s events for six divisions of athletes under the age of 18.

The new procedures will be used for the first time for next week’s U.S. Open in Las Vegas.