Organized Sports and Privacy

Organized sports are a great way to keep kids engaged, teach them new skills, and provide them with an opportunity to socialize with other kids.  Privacy isn’t likely to be top of mind when you enroll your kids in sports, but it is important to note that leagues often gather a tremendous amount of personal and potentially sensitive information pertaining to your child and even you.  If it isn’t handled properly, there is an increased risk that the information could be compromised and even lead to identity theft or financial fraud.

Here are some questions and tips to help you make sure your child’s sports league is protecting private information.

1) Find out how the information is stored.  Is it stored as a paper file, electronically, online, or in all formats?

2) Ask how the information is secured, who has access to it, and whether it is shared with any other people or companies.

  • Your local league may keep the information, send the information directly to its governing authority, or both. If a regional or national governing authority receives sensitive information, you should consider asking them the same privacy- and security-related questions you ask your local league.

3) If the league uses any outside companies or software to store or process your child’s information, ask what privacy protections are in place.  This information may be in an agreement the league has signed with the company or in an online Privacy Policy or Terms of Use.

4) Ask how long the league keeps the information, and how it is destroyed.

  • You don’t want your child’s registration information thrown out in a dumpster at the end of the season.  Nor do you want sensitive information sitting on someone’s computer indefinitely.  Are the files shredded or deleted when the season is over?  In the case of a paper file, you may be able to ask for the league to return it to you when the season is finished.

5) When you make payments to the league, consider who has access to your financial information. Are you paying with cash or a check directly to the league or through an online third party system?  If possible, make your online payments with a credit card versus a debit card as credit cards have more protection when compromised.  Also, make sure you are submitting payment only through secure websites.

Feel free to contact PRC if you have additional questions or are concerned about a league’s privacy practices.