The University of Michigan Athletic Department wanted to correct the record regarding incorrect information in The Michigan Daily.

The Athletics Department has spent the past 40-plus years providing a safe, fun environment for tens of thousands of kids through the summer camp program — an exceptional track record for which we’re extremely proud.

The Athletic Department, in partnership with the University, University of Michigan Police Department and others, protects minors at the camps through background checks, training programs and numerous other ways. Many of the counselors we select are teachers and coaches elsewhere, and they are hand-picked by University of Michigan coaches who own and operate the camps. Finances have never been a factor in our decision-making about safe practices nor will they ever be.

We recently identified a gap in the system, were transparent about that at a public forum, have made corrections and are moving forward with an enhanced service that includes a national directory search.

That said, background checks of all kinds — whether handled personally, by coaches or through database reviews — are important, but they are just one way to keep kids safe. A multilayered effort is needed, and that’s what we have in place.

We’ve invested heavily in other areas to enhance the safety of our programs, including the hiring of a full-time administrator who focuses daily on the summer camps, stepped up safety and security training for the camp director and counselors, establishment of a tracking and location system for campers and coaches, development of facility emergency plans that are widely shared and annual audits of the camps to assure compliance with our policies.

David Ablauf
Associate Athletic Director for media and public relations

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