This research examines the application of the concepts of risk management in the administration of youth athletic programs. The term "youth athletic programs," as the term is defined for purposes of this research, does not refer to youth athletic activities conducted under the aegis of school boards or administrationspublic or private. Rather, for purposes of this research, the term "youth athletic programs" refers to programs administered by quasipublic organizations such as Little League Baseball, Pop Warner Football, and the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association).
The findings of this research are presented in three major discussions. The first discussion provides an overview of the history of youth athletics in the United States. The legal liability of the organizations administering youth athletic program is reviewed in the second discussion. The concepts of risk management, together with the application of these concepts by organizations administering youth athletic programs, is examined in the third discussion.
The history of youth athletics in the United States is considered in four contexts. First, the purpose underlying the development of formal youth athletic programs in this country is discussed, and then the development of the major programs of this type in the United States is reviewed. The benefits to society of the conduct of youth athletic programs are assessed, and then the structure and operation of organizations administering such programs are examined.
The oldest of the youth athletic programs in the United States are associated with baseball (Gine, 1987, p. 4). The adults who formed the earliest of the youth athletic programs perceived baseball as being central to American culture (p. 3). Thus, these adults were motivated to develop youth baseball programs to imbue young persons in "crucial aspects of the American spirit and American values" (p. 3). "The picture of the father shoving a g...