Background Check

Please initiate your annual background check within the NICA Pit Zone at least 28 days prior to your anticipated first NICA Activity as a Coach or other Volunteer. Many county courts and state justice departments have significant delays impacting background check turn-around times. While 94% of background checks a 3-day turn-around, the remaining 6% can take 1 - 6 months depending on the counties and/or states where a coach applicant has lived. If you are still waiting for a background check after 28 days please contact the Coach Licensing Help Desk.


All NICA Coaches must submit to an annual criminal background through the NICA Pit Zone as part of their annual coach licensing requirements. 

NICA National Staff, League Directors, League Staff, Core Race Staff and other NICA Community Members with management positions must submit to a criminal background check. Any employee or manager also in the role of coach must meet annual coach requirements.

Note for PA Coaches- In addition to NICA background check policy, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) coaches, staff and volunteers must follow the requirements of the State of Pennsylvania. For Pennsylvania requirements, please click here.


May I use my Sterling Volunteer Fast Pass with NICA?

Yes – if you have passed a Sterling Volunteer “Complete” background check one year or less prior to your Pit Zone registration,  NICA will accept this as a year 1 background check.

I recently passed a background check with my employer, school district or other volunteer organization. Will NICA accept this screening so that I do not have to pay to be screened again?

No. Because of privacy concerns and requirements imposed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is significant reluctance to share information between organizations. There is no national clearinghouse for this type of information, nor no standard criteria by which search reports are evaluated. Two employers may make different hiring decisions based on the same information. Likewise, various youth organizations use different criteria to determine eligibility for membership.

How does NICA make determinations of “pass” or “fail” on a criminal background check?

NICA uses an established and annually reviewed table of crimes (sample below). The table includes which crimes disqualify a person from holding the role of a NICA coach or other NICA leadership position for a given amount of time or indefinitely. 

May I make an appeal if I fail my background check?

You may appeal the Background Check’s committee interpretation of your criminal history in writing within 30 days of not passing your background check. To initiate your appeal please fill out the form linked in the email you received regarding your background check status.

What if my background screening contains information I believe to be inaccurate?

In the event that a background screening returns information that the applicant believes to be inaccurate, they will have the opportunity to dispute that information directly with Sterling Volunteers via

How much does the background screening cost?

The fee to a coach is: Year 1: $37.60, Years 2-6: $10.75, Year 7: $37.60

How long until I know the determination of my background check?

Typical background checks take 2-3 business days, but sometimes may take 14 days or more depending on the jurisdictions being searched. Due to the length of time it takes to complete a background check, NICA recommends initiating the background check process as soon as possible once you have access to the Pit Zone. You will receive an email directly from Sterling Volunteers confirming when your background check is complete.

If I switch teams do I need to reapply for a “year-1” background check?

NO, however if you move to a new state AND change your league you will be required to reapply for a “year-1” background check.

What databases does the background screening include?

The Sterling Volunteers background check is based on searches using an applicants name, date of birth, address history and, if applicable, social security number (not collected/required on years 2-6).  The search consists of a Social Security Number and Trace, National Criminal Database search, National Sex Offender Registry database search, and International Essential Report.

Beyond “conviction” which criminal dispositions or disposition statuses does NICA consider when reviewing a background check? 

NICA considers the following dispositions and statuses when considering the contents of a background check:

  1. In the process of being resolved by the courts: Withheld Adjudication, Disposition Pending, Pending Adjudication, Deferred Adjudication; AND/OR
  2. With a final disposition of: Conviction, Guilty, No Contest, Nolo Contender, Dismissed without prejudice, Nolle Prosequi (IF Guilty Plea attached), Nolle Prossed-standalone (IF Guilty Plea attached), Dismissed without prejudice IF: related to Domestic Charges, Sex-related crimes or Charges involving Children, Failure to File, Plea In Abeyance, Unknown; AND/OR
  3. Other disposition equivalent to any of the prior dispositions 

I have a question regarding the background check process. May I contact the NICA Background Check Committee? 

Yes, please visit the Coach Help Desk and select the "background check" option.

Disqualifying Criminal Offenses

The NICA Background Check Committee’s objective is to provide a safe, fair and fun community for all NICA Community Members. The background check review process flags criminal offenses inappropriate for an adult leader in a youth development organization. The predefined time required to have passed since a criminal offense occurred is based on the type, severity and victim of the crime (see table below).  

Criminal offenses disclosed by the applicant or included in a Sterling Volunteers background check will be considered by the NICA Background Check Committee.

In certain instances, NICA Background Check Committee will disqualify volunteers who have been arrested for a crime, even if the arrest later results in no charges being filed. The NICA Background Check Committee casts no judgment about any of the allegations and/or accusations in these instances. 

Sample List of Sex Offenses

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for sex offenses at any time will be permanently disqualified from volunteering in NICA. These crimes include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Bigamy
  • Child Pornography
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Criminal Transmission of HIV
  • Distribution/Sale of Pornography to a Minor
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Indecent Solicitation of a Child
  • Keeping a Place of Prostitution
  • Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
  • Obscene Phone Calls
  • Obscenity
  • Pandering
  • Incest 
  • Pimping
  • Prostitution
  • Public Indecency
  • Sex with a Minor
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Child
  • Solicitation of a Sexual Act
Sample List of Violent Crimes and Serious Crimes Against a Person

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for crimes of violence or other serious crimes against a person will be disqualified from coaching the 20 years after being charged with the following: 

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Battery w/ Firearm
  • Armed Robbery
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Attempted Murder
  • Battery
  • Blackmail
  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Domestic Battery
  • Extortion
  • Hate Crime
  • Home Invasion
  • Hit and Run Causing Injury/Death
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Possession of Explosives
  • Terrorism
  • Reckless Homicide
  • Robbery
  • Second Degree Murder
  • Stalking
  • Solicitation for Murder
  • Tampering w/ Food or Drugs
  • Threatening Public Officials
  • Treason
  • Unlawful Restraint
  • Violation of Order of Protection
  • Vehicular Carjacking
  • Vehicular Endangerment

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for crimes of violence or other serious crimes against a person will be disqualified from coaching the 10 years after being charged with the following: 

  • Negligent Homicide 
  • Battery (misdemeanor)
  • Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated 
Sample List of Serious Substance Abuse Crimes

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for crimes of serious substance abuse or other miscellaneous crimes will be disqualified from coaching the 10 years after being charged with the following: 

  • Abuse of Prescription Medicines
  • Criminal Drug Conspiracy
  • Distribution of Alcohol to Minors
  • Illegal Transportation of Controlled Substances
  • Possession of  Marijuana, more than one ounce
  • Possession of Illegal Substances
  • Sale or Manufacture of Illegal Substances
Miscellaneous Substance Abuse Crimes

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for crimes of substance abuse or other miscellaneous crimes will be disqualified from coaching the 5 years after being charged with the following: 

  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Sale of Alcohol to a Minor
  • Felony possession of a controlled substance
Sample list of Less Serious Crimes Against a Person

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for less serious crimes against a person will be disqualified from coaching the 5 years after being charged with the following: 

  • Criminal Threats of Death/Bodily Harm
  • Harassment
  • Harassment of Jurors or Witnesses
  • Intimidation
  • Simple Assault
  • Violation of Restraining Order
Sample list of Miscellaneous Crimes

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for serious miscellaneous crimes will be disqualified from coaching for 5 years after being charged with the following: 

**Generally speaking, any aggravated offense or weapons offense could also be lumped into a serious crime category, even if it’s the 5 year restriction.

  • Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm
  • Concealing or Aiding a Fugitive
  • Criminal Damage to Property
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Discrimination in Sale of Real Estate
  • Environmental Crimes
  • Gunrunning
  • Hit and Run with Damage
  • Identity Switching
  • Illegal Gambling
  • Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer
  • Unlawful Sale of Firearms
  • Interference with Judicial Proceeding
  • Obstructing Justice
  • Legislative Misconduct
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Perjury
  • Tampering with Public Records
  • Unlawful Possession of Weapons
  • Unlawful Use of Body Armor
  • Unlawful Use, Sale, or Discharge of a Metal Piercing Bullet
  • Vandalism
Sample list of Traffic/Conduct Crimes

Persons receiving dispositions of “convicted” or equivalent for serious traffic or conduct related crimes will be disqualified from coaching the 3 years after being charged with the following crimes: 

  • Disorderly Conduct 
  • Disturbing the Peace
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Drunk in Public
  • Driving without a License/Insurance
  • Operating Under the Influence
  • Reckless Conduct
  • Reckless Driving
  • Repeated Traffic Offenses in a short window
  • Wet and Reckless Driving
  • Indecent Exposure*
  • Public Indecency* 
  • Driving While Ability Impaired
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance

*if determined by courts NOT related to a sex offense. 

*Persons convicted of traffic or other conduct crimes within the preceding 3 years may be accepted for other non-coaching and non-management volunteer positions that do not require a background check. 

Background Check Process In-depth Information:

All NICA National Staff, League Directors, League Staff, Core Race Staff, Coaches and other NICA Community Members with either management positions OR direct interaction with youth must consent to, and complete, a background check. Consent shall be in the form applicable to all state and federal laws. To conduct volunteer background checks, the NICA Background Check Committee will be outsourcing to a national Consumer Reporting Agency.  Adherence to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) will be followed. Under the FCRA, each volunteer will be provided a disclosure and authority to release information in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.  A copy of the FCRA Summary of Rights will also be provided to every volunteer. If the NICA BCC makes a decision not to accept a volunteer based wholly or partially on information contained in the background check report, the NICA BCC will follow the Pre-Adverse and Adverse action steps as outlined in the FCRA.  All requested information must be provided by the applicant, including Social Security number, driver license number (or other government issued photo I.D. if the applicant does not drive) and date of birth.

Criminal background checks are performed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. To ensure compliance with all applicable laws, the NICA BCC members are the only people authorized to initiate, review or have access to criminal background. In all cases, the results of any criminal background check must be kept strictly confidential.

The Notice of Duty to Review Criminal Record process is initiated by the NICA BCC. When a negative determination is made, a copy of the criminal conviction report received by the NICA BCC is sent by Sterling Volunteers.

Any application form that does not contain honest answers or that misrepresents the number, type or gravity of any such conviction(s) will not be approved irrespective of the nature of the offense or the time that has transpired since the conviction.

Any person convicted of a crime against or otherwise involving a minor at any time in the past will not be approved to be a volunteer.

Evidence of multiple convictions, either felony or misdemeanor, are likely to also result in a negative determination. Where a conviction is remote in time or where the applicant’s conduct since the conviction(s) indicates rehabilitation or lack of risk to the organization and the program, some leeway may be provided, but only with the concurrence of the NICA BCC.

When a negative determination is made, or if there are issues related to an application NICA staff will notify the League Director and Team Director at the same time.

The specific results leading to a negative determination must remain confidential unless the applicant is willing to reveal the results to the League Director.

Because of the serious implications to the entire NICA organization and all leagues, teams, coaches, and student-athletes, all teams must comply with the decisions made by the NICA BCC under this policy.

Individuals disqualified or restricted by NICA BCC are not entitled to due process at the league level. Their right of review is conducted in conjunction with their Notice of Duty to Review Criminal Background.