Alaska youth league drops sex abuse from liability waiver

Sunrise over the lagoon in Shishmaref (Photo: Zachariah Hughes – Alaska Public Media, Anchorage)

A group organizing all-star games for Alaska high school basketball players has apologized for asking players and their families to sign a liability waiver form that included their rights and claims in potential cases of sexual abuse or misconduct.

The Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches updated its form Monday after growing complaints were posted on social media.

“It was very poorly worded,” association president David Porter told the Anchorage Daily News. “We hadn’t looked at it for a few years, and it was brought to our attention that it sounded really bad.”

The board met over the weekend with a lawyer to draft a new form.

The group had held all-star games for more than a decade, and Porter said they never had any incidents. Games have not been played the last two years.

“Ultimately, perception is reality,” he said. “We understand why people reacted and we apologize.”

He said insurance requirements included liability coverage for not only injures but also for sexual assault or abuse, and that’s why the language was on the original form.

That form asked parents to waive rights and claims for damages against the association for injuries. The waiver “also includes any sexual misconduct/abuse” as defined.

Among the acts defined were romantic invitation, soliciting a date, engaging in sexualized or romantic dialogue, making sexually suggestive comments and “any sexual, indecent, romantic or erotic contact with a child or student,” Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

A new waiver form released Monday says sexual misconduct “will not be tolerated” and the organization would follow professional standards of the education profession.

It says any known, suspected or witnessed incidents of sexual misconduct will be investigated by officials, and that it is mandatory that those be reported to authorities.

The senior all-star games, featuring select boys and girls players from across Alaska, will be played Saturday in Anchorage with 15 college coaches expected to be in attendance.

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