Prohibited Conduct

Updated: February 14, 2019

The following categories of conduct are prohibited.  They are key components of USA Cycling’s SafeSport Program and Code of Conduct (“Code”). All participants held accountable by the Code shall refrain from these Six (6) broad categories of misconduct:

  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Physical Misconduct
  • Emotional Misconduct
  • Bullying and Threats
  • Harassment
  • Hazing

USA Cycling complies with the SafeSport policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport (USCSS) regarding sexual misconduct and hereby incorporates by reference the related provisions of the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, including its appendices, into USA Cycling’s SafeSport policies.

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.

DEFINITION

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
    • 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
    •  Providing alcohol to an athlete under the age of 21
    • Providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications
  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
EXCEPTIONS

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.

A content athlete is more likely to be successful than a harassed or abused one; safeguarding athlete development and pushing for achievement are not in opposition but are two sides of the same performance coin.  Cycling provides individuals with lifelong skills, makes them physically and mentally tough, and as a result, these individuals are better equipped to deal with a multitude of challenges.  The wide range of emotions athletes experience in practice and competition are normal, healthy components of cycling.  However, a repeated pattern of behavior by coaches, teammates or other participants that can inflict psychological or emotional harm has no place in sport. There are no overtly physical signs of emotional or psychological abuse/misconduct, but the absence of these signs does not make it any less serious. 

DEFINITION

Emotional misconduct involves a climate or pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to an athlete or other participant. Non-contact behavior includes verbal and physical acts, as well as actions that deny attention or support.  Emotional misconduct must have a ‘sustained’ and/or ‘repetitive’ component or be seen as a course of conduct; it is not a single event.  It also includes any act or conduct (i.e. psychological abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, child abuse) described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law.

Examples of emotional misconduct prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Verbal Acts
    • Verbally attacking an athlete personally (i.e. calling them worthless, fat, or disgusting)
    • Repeatedly and excessively yelling at participants in a manner that serves no productive training or motivational purpose
  2. Physical Acts
    • Physically aggressive acts such as throwing sport equipment, water bottles, chairs, or other similar objects at, or in the presence of participants
    • Punching, hitting, kicking walls, windows, or other similar objects in a manner likely to intimidate other present participants
  3. Acts that deny attention and support
    • Ignoring an athlete for extended periods of time
    • Giving an athlete “the silent treatment” on a regular basis
    • Routinely or arbitrarily excluding participants from practice

EXCEPTIONS

Emotional misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, discipline or improving athletic performance.  Constructive criticism about an athlete’s performance is not emotional misconduct. Reminder: emotional misconduct must have a ‘sustained’ and/or ‘repetitive’ component or be seen as a course of conduct; it is not a single event.

One of the greatest lessons athletes take away from sport is the experience of being on a team where coaches and individuals support one another.  Actions that demean or intimidate athletes, either physically or emotionally, can affect performance and team cohesion.  Since bullying often occurs among peers, coaches can set an example with a zero-tolerance policy and emphasize teamwork and mutual support.  Giving athletes a way to report behavior without fear of reprisal is also important.

DEFINITION

Bullying is defined as an intentional, persistent and repeated behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical, electronic or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others; it is aggressive behavior intended to hurt, threaten or frighten another person. It also includes any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law.

Threats can be a single behavior that constitutes actual or potential assault, battery, harassment or intimidation.

Examples of bullying and threats prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Verbal/Emotional
    • Slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his family
    • Persistent name calling, insulting or humiliating
    • Using a person as butt of jokes, abusive or offensive remarks
    • Non-verbal threating gestures that convey a threatening message
  2. Physical
    • Pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, tripping, or the threat of bodily harm
    • Assault, or threat of physical assault
    • Damage to a person’s property
    • Throwing athletic equipment in an attempt to intimidate
  3. Cyber- Bullying
    • Any aforementioned examples of bullying that takes place by any electronic devices such as, but not limited to: text messaging, emails, social networking sites, websites, online chatting, fake profiles, etc.
  4. Ignoring Bullying or Threatening Behaviors
    • While other athletes or participants are often the perpetrators of bullying, threats or other misconduct, it is also a violation of policy if a coach or some other responsible adult knows or should know of the bullying or threats and takes no action to intervene on behalf of the targeted participant(s).
EXCEPTIONS

Bullying does not include a group or team behavior designed to establish normative team behavior or promote team cohesion.  For example, bullying does not include verbal admonitions to encourage team members to train harder and push through a difficult training regimen.  Also, exercises such as “bumping exercises” that serve to improve skill or athletic performance are not considered bullying or threatening.

All cycling participants are entitled to respectful treatment at all times during any sport-oriented activity.  Respectful treatment means being treated honestly and professionally, with your unique talents and perspectives valued.  A respectful environment is about more than compliance with the law; it is an environment that is free of inappropriate behaviors of all kinds and harassment because of age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

DEFINITION

Harassment includes any pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (i) are intended to cause fear, humiliation, or annoyance, (ii) offend or degrade, (iii) create a hostile environment, or (iv) reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority, or power over an individual participant or group based on age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; or (v) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law.

Examples of harassment prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Physical Offenses
    • Behaviors that include hitting, pushing, punching, beating, biting, striking, kicking, choking or slapping a participant
    • Throwing at or hitting a participant with objects including sporting equipment
  2. Non-Physical Offenses
    • Making negative or disparaging comments about a participant’s age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
    • Displaying offensive materials, gestures or symbols
    • Withholding or reducing practice time and opportunities to race from an athlete based on his or her age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
EXCEPTIONS

None

Perhaps one of the largest social benefits of sport is building relationships with other participants and camaraderie with teammates. Cycling brings people together, ties people by their common interests and goals and helps foster a sense of community. Participating in a team or club should not come with additional requirements that get in the way of enjoying cycling. Violence and harassment should never be involved in any rite of passage. Hazing is not tolerated by USA Cycling.

DEFINITION

Hazing is subjecting a participant to harassment or ridicule; especially in an initiation process.  Activities that fit the definition of hazing are considered to be hazing regardless of an athlete’s willingness to cooperate or participate.  Hazing includes any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law.

Examples of hazing prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Harassment Hazing
    • Verbal abuse
    • Threats or implied threats
    • Sexual simulations or sexual acts of any nature
    • Forcing social actions (e.g., grossly inappropriate or provocative clothing) or public displays (e.g., public nudity) that are illegal or meant to draw ridicule
  2. Violent Hazing
    • Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
    • Beating, paddling, or other forms of physical assault
    • Tying, taping, or otherwise physically restraining an athlete
    • Sleep deprivation, or the withholding of water and/or food
  3. Ignoring Hazing
    • The act of ignoring hazing is also prohibited, particularly when an adult with supervisory authority ignores the misconduct.
EXCEPTIONS

Hazing does not include group or team activities meant to establish normative team behavior or promote team cohesion.  Examples include: encouraging junior athletes to arrive early and set up training equipment; giving senior athletes first preference in team assignments, responsibilities, accommodations, facilities, or equipment.

USA Cycling complies with the SafeSport policies of the U.S. Center for SafeSport (USCSS) regarding sexual misconduct and hereby incorporates by reference the related provisions of the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, including its appendices, into USA Cycling’s SafeSport policies.

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.

DEFINITION

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
    • 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
    •  Providing alcohol to an athlete under the age of 21
    • Providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications
  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
EXCEPTIONS

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.

A content athlete is more likely to be successful than a harassed or abused one; safeguarding athlete development and pushing for achievement are not in opposition but are two sides of the same performance coin.  Cycling provides individuals with lifelong skills, makes them physically and mentally tough, and as a result, these individuals are better equipped to deal with a multitude of challenges.  The wide range of emotions athletes experience in practice and competition are normal, healthy components of cycling.  However, a repeated pattern of behavior by coaches, teammates or other participants that can inflict psychological or emotional harm has no place in sport. There are no overtly physical signs of emotional or psychological abuse/misconduct, but the absence of these signs does not make it any less serious. 

DEFINITION

Emotional misconduct involves a climate or pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to an athlete or other participant. Non-contact behavior includes verbal and physical acts, as well as actions that deny attention or support.  Emotional misconduct must have a ‘sustained’ and/or ‘repetitive’ component or be seen as a course of conduct; it is not a single event.  It also includes any act or conduct (i.e. psychological abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, child abuse) described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law.

Examples of emotional misconduct prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Verbal Acts
    • Verbally attacking an athlete personally (i.e. calling them worthless, fat, or disgusting)
    • Repeatedly and excessively yelling at participants in a manner that serves no productive training or motivational purpose
  2. Physical Acts
    • Physically aggressive acts such as throwing sport equipment, water bottles, chairs, or other similar objects at, or in the presence of participants
    • Punching, hitting, kicking walls, windows, or other similar objects in a manner likely to intimidate other present participants
  3. Acts that deny attention and support
    • Ignoring an athlete for extended periods of time
    • Giving an athlete “the silent treatment” on a regular basis
    • Routinely or arbitrarily excluding participants from practice

EXCEPTIONS

Emotional misconduct does not include professionally accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, discipline or improving athletic performance.  Constructive criticism about an athlete’s performance is not emotional misconduct. Reminder: emotional misconduct must have a ‘sustained’ and/or ‘repetitive’ component or be seen as a course of conduct; it is not a single event.

One of the greatest lessons athletes take away from sport is the experience of being on a team where coaches and individuals support one another.  Actions that demean or intimidate athletes, either physically or emotionally, can affect performance and team cohesion.  Since bullying often occurs among peers, coaches can set an example with a zero-tolerance policy and emphasize teamwork and mutual support.  Giving athletes a way to report behavior without fear of reprisal is also important.

DEFINITION

Bullying is defined as an intentional, persistent and repeated behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical, electronic or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others; it is aggressive behavior intended to hurt, threaten or frighten another person. It also includes any act or conduct described as bullying under federal or state law.

Threats can be a single behavior that constitutes actual or potential assault, battery, harassment or intimidation.

Examples of bullying and threats prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Verbal/Emotional
    • Slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his family
    • Persistent name calling, insulting or humiliating
    • Using a person as butt of jokes, abusive or offensive remarks
    • Non-verbal threating gestures that convey a threatening message
  2. Physical
    • Pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, tripping, or the threat of bodily harm
    • Assault, or threat of physical assault
    • Damage to a person’s property
    • Throwing athletic equipment in an attempt to intimidate
  3. Cyber- Bullying
    • Any aforementioned examples of bullying that takes place by any electronic devices such as, but not limited to: text messaging, emails, social networking sites, websites, online chatting, fake profiles, etc.
  4. Ignoring Bullying or Threatening Behaviors
    • While other athletes or participants are often the perpetrators of bullying, threats or other misconduct, it is also a violation of policy if a coach or some other responsible adult knows or should know of the bullying or threats and takes no action to intervene on behalf of the targeted participant(s).
EXCEPTIONS

Bullying does not include a group or team behavior designed to establish normative team behavior or promote team cohesion.  For example, bullying does not include verbal admonitions to encourage team members to train harder and push through a difficult training regimen.  Also, exercises such as “bumping exercises” that serve to improve skill or athletic performance are not considered bullying or threatening.

All cycling participants are entitled to respectful treatment at all times during any sport-oriented activity.  Respectful treatment means being treated honestly and professionally, with your unique talents and perspectives valued.  A respectful environment is about more than compliance with the law; it is an environment that is free of inappropriate behaviors of all kinds and harassment because of age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

DEFINITION

Harassment includes any pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (i) are intended to cause fear, humiliation, or annoyance, (ii) offend or degrade, (iii) create a hostile environment, or (iv) reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority, or power over an individual participant or group based on age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; or (v) any act or conduct described as harassment under federal or state law.

Examples of harassment prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Physical Offenses
    • Behaviors that include hitting, pushing, punching, beating, biting, striking, kicking, choking or slapping a participant
    • Throwing at or hitting a participant with objects including sporting equipment
  2. Non-Physical Offenses
    • Making negative or disparaging comments about a participant’s age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
    • Displaying offensive materials, gestures or symbols
    • Withholding or reducing practice time and opportunities to race from an athlete based on his or her age, mental or physical disability, marital status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
EXCEPTIONS

None

Perhaps one of the largest social benefits of sport is building relationships with other participants and camaraderie with teammates. Cycling brings people together, ties people by their common interests and goals and helps foster a sense of community. Participating in a team or club should not come with additional requirements that get in the way of enjoying cycling. Violence and harassment should never be involved in any rite of passage. Hazing is not tolerated by USA Cycling.

DEFINITION

Hazing is subjecting a participant to harassment or ridicule; especially in an initiation process.  Activities that fit the definition of hazing are considered to be hazing regardless of an athlete’s willingness to cooperate or participate.  Hazing includes any act or conduct described as hazing under federal or state law.

Examples of hazing prohibited by this policy include, without limitation:

  1. Harassment Hazing
    • Verbal abuse
    • Threats or implied threats
    • Sexual simulations or sexual acts of any nature
    • Forcing social actions (e.g., grossly inappropriate or provocative clothing) or public displays (e.g., public nudity) that are illegal or meant to draw ridicule
  2. Violent Hazing
    • Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
    • Beating, paddling, or other forms of physical assault
    • Tying, taping, or otherwise physically restraining an athlete
    • Sleep deprivation, or the withholding of water and/or food
  3. Ignoring Hazing
    • The act of ignoring hazing is also prohibited, particularly when an adult with supervisory authority ignores the misconduct.
EXCEPTIONS

Hazing does not include group or team activities meant to establish normative team behavior or promote team cohesion.  Examples include: encouraging junior athletes to arrive early and set up training equipment; giving senior athletes first preference in team assignments, responsibilities, accommodations, facilities, or equipment.