News Channel 3
December 13, 2011 | Memphis, TN
AAU Scandal Has Youth Organizations Focusing On Policies
- AAU responds to allegations against former President
- Other youth organizations reviewing policies
- Parents urged to get involved in programs their kids attend
All is quiet at the Amateur Athletic Union offices in Memphis after allegations against former AAU President Bobby Dodd. Two men have accused Todd of inappropriate physical contact 30 years ago. The National AAU has released a taped message on new safety reviews.
“We will never be complacent about doing all we can to protect young people in our programs. This independent review will include outside expert assessments about the safeguards we have in place, and the screening and training we provide to staff and volunteers,” says AAU Interim President Louis Stout in a taped statement.
Safety has become a main focus. It even has other youth organizations not involved in this scandal taking a closer look at what they are doing.
“It is important to have safeguards. We know we work with kids who lack a lot of attention,” says Robert Sumner, who heads up one of the centers at Memphis Athletic Ministries, a mentoring program that reaches out to at risk kids. He says these scandals have them focusing on their own rules on building relationships with kids and parents, having at least two kids and staff in any setting and limiting touch.
“Trust is very important when we take the coach relationship and try to build a mentor, big brother relationship,” says Sumner.
But there is something parents must do as well.
“Communicate with my children, try to keep as much a one-on-one open relationship with them that if they have a problem or if they are entering something different, they will come to me and talk to me,” says Gloria Rutherford, a mother.
“Any organization that’s out there that your kid is spending that much time with, you know there is influence over their life. It’s important you be a part of that as well. Know what’s going on,” says Sumner.
The AAU says Bobby Dodd is no longer affiliated with its program and it is working with police in the case.