YouTube video

This transcript and video are part of a partnership between the Nashville Banner and NewsChannel 5, where it first aired.

Parents of young athletes have once again found themselves on edge, after news this week of a local soccer coach who was allegedly drugging and abusing young boys who trusted him.

Is there any way to truly know your son or daughter is safe with a coach?

A former Olympic skater and longtime coach in Nashville says he’s come up with a screening system that might instill new confidence in youth sports.

Would you buy a used car without knowing where it had been?

After 40 years we’ve become familiar with CarFax…the vehicle history check system that can give a second hand car a clean bill of health.

What if there was such a thing as CoachFax, a standard annual certification that could shake out and eliminate those with a criminal past or history of abuse?

It’s on its way.

The headlines scream out nearly every day. It seems no sport, no city is immune. Dangerous people are finding a way to get close to kids, win their trust, and destroy their lives.

Now a midstate soccer coach is accused of the unthinkable.

Lt. Charlie Warner, Franklin Police Department: “We know that this suspect was gaining the trust of kids, endearing some of their parents hearts, taking them to his home.”

Bill Fauver: “You have to have faith in your coach that they know what they’re doing. But beyond that, you have to have faith in the person.”

Bill Fauver is an Olympic pairs skater turned coach. For years, he’s been concerned about his sport and its youngest athletes.

Fauver: “Originally, it started with a number of coaches coming to the United States from overseas, and there was no way to check their resume. A gentleman asked me to coach his daughter, who was a national junior lady. And he was going to send her to Vanderbilt, and I said, well, ‘I’d be honored to coach her, but you don’t know anything about me. Why would you have your daughter come work with me?’ So that conversation led to more and more in-depth conversations.”

Bill hit upon the idea of an in-depth screening and certification system. Similar to what’s become commonplace with automobiles. He calls it CoachFax.

Fauver: “CoachFax will be a private club. And as long as we don’t discriminate, we can set whatever standards we want to be a member.”

Right now, there is a quasi-governmental agency called SafeSport.

Voiceover: “At the U. S. Center for SafeSport, we believe abuse can be prevented.”

But Bill says it doesn’t go far enough.

Fauver: “Currently, all coaches through SafeSport get a background screening. Even if you are found, um, guilty by SafeSport of a violation, they can choose to stop you from being part of the sport at sanctioned events.They can’t stop you from teaching. And especially in a private facility. What we are proposing is for CoachFax, the standards would be extremely high. Because it’s not a requirement to join, the people who would want to be members of CoachFax are those people who want to clearly show that they’re head and shoulders above their competitors.

So we would do not only a criminal background screening but a civil background screening. We would do random drug testing, which is not done. We would do a psychological assessment, which is not done, and part of that is a new thing we’ll be doing called VASI, which is an eye-tracking program to help identify people with sexual border issues.

“So you start putting this all together and you have a very tight package of coaches who are willing to be screened. As much as possible. We’ll even look at their social media. What have they done on social media to ascertain if these people are a good risk. It won’t be inexpensive.”

Members will be screened every year at a cost of about four to five hundred dollars. But institutions, teams, or individuals could pay for it. 

Fauver: “Throughout our lives we change, and circumstances lead us to be different people than we might have been a few years ago. So, we’re going to do this annually, and really when you amortize that over 12 months, it isn’t a huge amount of money. [Jerry] Sandusky was the football coach at Penn State. And if you think about it for a moment, just that case for one person cost Penn State about 600 million. Nassar so far has cost about 500 million. USC has paid $1.1 billion. So you have some very large lawsuits and these are all for single pedophile cases. 

Coach Fax is nonprofit and backed by some top athletes, including tennis pro Pam Shriver. And with what’s happened in Nashville this week, Fauver says it’s coming not a moment too soon.

Fauver: “Once, once the abuse has occurred, then the problems multiply hugely. Um, sisters, brothers, family. Everyone’s affected by it. What you’re going to find in the upcoming weeks and months is there are probably more victims. There’s going to be greater effects. This is the beginning of a slow explosion.”