27 September 17: Following the corruption charges brought by federal prosecutors in the United States against 10 individuals, including coaches and sports marketing representatives, Michael Hershman, anti-corruption expert and Group CEO of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), has made the following statement:
“The fraud, corruption and bribery charges brought against the 10 individuals are deeply concerning and, if these charges are substantiated, they represent a significant violation of the trust that was placed in the coaches and officials involved.
“In the context of the significant commercialisation of collegiate sport that has taken place in the United States over the last decade, as well as the multi-million dollar revenues that many colleges receive from their sports teams and student athletes, this case raises several important questions about the impact of commercialisation on protecting the integrity and ethics of US collegiate sport, the safeguarding and anti-corruption efforts governing bodies and colleges currently put in place to protect student athletes, coaches and officials, as well as the monitoring and regulation of third-party agents and executives operating with the US collegiate sport system who have access to athletes.
“Whilst recognising that no sport or athlete is immune from the many integrity challenges the global sports industry now faces, protecting young athletes, particularly student athletes, must be a top priority across the sports industry in the United States and internationally.
“As a result and on behalf of the ICSS, I believe it is time that governing bodies, universities across the United States and those working in the US college sport system proactively introduce and invest in stronger mandatory ethics and anti-corruption measures to help safeguard young players, coaches and other officials.
“By strengthening current integrity efforts and policies within US collegiate sport - including proactively investing a percentage of commercial and sponsorship revenues into mandatory ethics and anti-corruption training and education for student athletes, as well as employing full-time independent safeguarding and integrity officers - the NCAA and universities across the United States can help create an environment that better protects athletes, coaches and other officials from corruption and other integrity risks that currently exist within high-level sport.”