Physical Misconduct


Cycling involves strenuous physical activity; in practices and competition, athletes regularly push themselves to the point of exhaustion.  However, any activity that physically harms an athlete – such as direct contact with coaches or teammates, disciplinary actions, or punishment –is unacceptable.  Physical misconduct can extend to seemingly unrelated areas including inadequate recovery time for injuries (i.e. concussions) and forced excessive dieting.  Two of the best ways to promote safe conditions are to set clear boundaries and take a team approach to monitoring athletes.


Physical misconduct involves contact or non-contact behavior that can cause physical harm to an athlete or other sport participant.  It also includes any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (i.e. child abuse, child neglect and assault).  Generally physical misconduct can involve any of the following acts:

Examples of physical misconduct prohibited under this policy include, without limitation:

1. Contact Offenses

  • Punching, beating, biting, striking, choking, slapping or any similar act towards any participant
  • Intentionally hitting any participant with objects or sporting equipment
  • Providing alcohol to an athlete under the age of 21
  • Providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications
  • Encouraging or permitting an athlete to return to play prematurely or without the clearance of a medical professional, following a serious injury (i.e. concussion)
  • Prescribed dieting or other weight-control methods (i.e. weigh-ins, caliper tests) without regard for the nutritional well-being and health of the athlete

 2. Non-Contact Offenses

  • Isolating an athlete in a confined space (i.e. locking an athlete in locker)
  • Forcing an athlete to assume a painful stance or position for no athletic purpose (i.e. requiring an athlete to kneel on a harmful surface)
  • Withholding, recommending against, or denying adequate hydration, nutrition, medical attention, or sleep


Physical misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athlete performance such as: assistance with stretching, massage by Soigneur, Chiropractic work including Active Release Techniques (ART), bumping exercises (exercises performed during practice to build an athlete’s ability to withstand “bumping” that occurs between riders during road races), seat post holding.  If an athlete is uncomfortable, however, with any example mentioned herein, said athlete should notify his/her coach immediately.


Upon proof of a violation of USA Cycling's policies regarding physical  misconduct, the offender will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include suspension or expulsion from USA cycling and referral to law enforcement authorities.

This Article Updated May 21, 2015 @ 04:21 PM For more information contact: