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Navigating U.S. Center for SafeSport Cases: What You Need To Know

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Produced on February 04, 2020

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Litigation Sports Law

Course Description

The U.S. Congress designated the U.S. Center for SafeSport with the authority to address reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic movement. The U.S. Center for SafeSport (“SafeSport”) was created by the U.S. Olympic Committee in March of 2017 as a wholly independent body to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in Olympic National Governing Bodies. SafeSport was conceived to recognize, respond, and reduce misconduct in sports. Since its inception, SafeSport has engendered controversy and confusion about its authority and its procedures--this course will address both, particularly as it impacts parents, coaches and young athletes. 

This program will be taught by Carla Varriale, an attorney in private practice and an adjunct professor who teaches sports law and ethics at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies’ Sports Management Program. She is a recognized expert in SafeSport matters with a litigation background in sexual abuse and molestation cases.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine the origins of the authority for SafeSport and its interplay with the Ted Steven Amateur and Olympic Sports Act in determining athlete rights
  2. Analyze the jurisdiction of SafeSport and the scope of its powers as set forth in the SafeSport Code
  3. Identify the key differences among SafeSport matters versus “traditional” civil or criminal matters, highlighting key procedural and the burden of proof distinctions, with a focus on the Response and Resolution Processes
  4. Discuss the forms of misconduct and abuse (including bullying, harassment, and physical and emotional abuse) encompassed in SafeSport matters
  5. Review reporting requirements, confidentiality concerns, and potential sanctions and the Centralized Disciplinary Database; and Assess “best practices” in handling a potential SafeSport matter 

Credit Information

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Carla Varriale-Barker

Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney

Carla Varriale-Barker is a shareholder in the firm’s New York office, serving as Chair of the firm's Sports, Recreation & Entertainment Practice Group. Her client-centered practice focuses on tort, discrimination, contract, insurance and premises liability matters, including the defense of claims arising from alcohol service, security lapses, discrimination in places of public accommodation, and sexual abuse and molestation. She represents a portfolio of clients in the sports, recreation, amusement and hospitality industries. 

Ms. Varriale-Barker is an accomplished litigator who is at home in a court room, board room or a class room. She counsels clients involved with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an organization established by Congress to address sexual abuse, bullying, and other misconduct, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movement. She is an adjunct instructor at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. She has taught in the Sports Management Program since 2008.

Joining the firm as a lateral hire in 2020, Ms. Varriale-Barker came to Segal McCambridge as a founding partner of a women-owned law firm. She has also written about diversity and inclusion and the importance of mentorship and sponsorship for the American Bar Association.  

Ms. Varriale-Barker earned her J.D. from New York Law School where she was part of the Order of the Barristers and the Moot Court Executive Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University.

Outside of her work in the legal arena, Ms. Varriale-Barker enjoys spending time with her friends and family and pursuing her hobbies, which include exploring art and design, writing, and practicing yoga. 


  • More Than a Mentor: Learn How to Sponsor Your Colleagues, American Bar Association, The Woman Advocate, Practice Points, (2019)

  • A More Perfect Union: MMA Athletes and UnionizationMichigan State International Law Review (2019)

  • #UsToo: Be Part of the Legal Profession’s Positive Response to #MeToo, American Bar Association, Woman Advocate Newsletter (March 5, 2019)

  • Law and Teaching, American Bar Association,  Woman Advocate Newsletter (June 2018)

  • The “Next Battle” Against Ticket Resellers: New York Yankees Strike Out In Ticketing Case, Sports Litigation Alert (May 2018)

  • What's Love Got To Do With It?: Copyright Laws and "Revenge Porn”  Entertainment & Sports Lawyer (Spring 2018).

  • New York Appeals Court Affirms Assumption of Risk Case, Involving Playing Surfaces
    Sports Facilities and the Law, September-October 2017 and Sports Litigation Alert, August 18, 2017

  • Kansas City Chiefs Sued Over Wrongful Death of Fan
    Sports Litigation Alert, August 19, 2016

  • MMA Ban Remains in N.Y., Despite Risks to Amateurs
    Athletic Business, July 2015

  • Mixed Martial Arts: A Fighting Chance in New York
    NYSBA Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Journal Fall/Winter 2014/Vol. 25 No. 3 

  • The Fight Between MMA and New York State Is Far From Over
    Sports Litigation Alert (2014)

  • MMA Gets Off the Mat as New York State Senate Approves Bill Allowing Contests
    Sports Litigation Alert (2013)

  • Court Dismisses Spectator’s Lawsuit Regarding the Supposed Enhanced Dangers Presented by Maple Bats
    Sports Litigation Alert (2011)

  • New York: A Second Look at MMA? Promoters and Fans Hope So
    Sports Litigation Alert (2011) 

  • Can Patrons Be Forced to Stand for "God Bless America?"
    Facility Manager (2010)

  • Settlement in “Enforced Patriotism” Case Commenced by New Jersey Teens Against The Newark Bears
    Sports Litigation Alert (2009)

  • Court Holds That High School Cheerleading Is A Contact Sport — Providing Immunity For Teammate And School District
    Sports Litigation Alert (2009) 

  • A Match Made in Court
    Billboard (February, 2009)

  • Author,  Introduction to Chapter 12, Legal/Risk Management,  Sport Facility Management (Second Edition, Gil Fried, Esq., 2009)

  • Professional Baseball Team Snags Victory in Personal Injury Action
    Sports Litigation Alert (2008)

  • New Jersey’s Highest Court Applies Limited Duty of Care in Hockey Spectator Injury Case
    Sports Litigation Alert (2008) 

  • That’s the Ticket . . .What’s Next for the Ticketing Industry After Ticketmaster v. RMG Techs., Inc.
    ABA Entertainment and Sports Lawyer (2008)

  • The Covenant of Security: Don't 'Pass the Ball', It's an Opportunity for Owners and Operators of Sports Arenas
    Sports Litigation Alert (2006) 

  • New Jersey Supreme Court Crafts Hybrid Rule for Injured Patrons at Baseball Stadiums
    Sports Litigation Alert (2006) 

  • Don’t “Assume” Anything: Avoiding and Defending Negligence Actions When Spectators Harm Spectators
    Stadium Manager (2006)

  • Liability In Spectator Injury Cases: The Risk Has Changed, Will The Law
    Amusement Business (2006)

Presentations and Media Appearances

  • Interrupting Racial & Gender Bias in the Legal Profession, Professional Liability Defense Federation (September 2019)

  • Sexual Abuse and Bullying In Sport: Balancing The Rights Of Accused And Accusers, American Bar Association Sports Law Committee (March 2019)

  • Gender Issues in Sports Law, New York Law School's Sports Law Symposium (March 2018)

  • 4 Premises Liability Cases to Know
    360Law (February 2018)

  • Gender Issues in Sports Law, New York Law School's Sports Law Symposium (March 2018)

  • Protecting MMA Fighters: A More Perfect Union, International Law Review Symposium, Michigan State College of Law (February 2018)

  • Conflicts of Interest in Sports: Fiedling Ethical Curveballs, Lecture for Columbia University Talks at Columbia series (November 2017)

  • Current Cases of Interest, Lecture for National Student Leadership Conference summer program, (July 2017)

  • Panelist, New York Law School Sports Law Symposium (March 2017)

  • Panelist, Women in Sports Law Career Panel (March 2017)

  • No Holds Barred With Eddie Goldman
    (August 2016)

  • The CUSP Show (Episode 25) Columbia University Sports Management Program.
    (July 2016)

  • New Ticket Restrictions Could Be Risky For Teams

  • Defining Litigation Strategies and Minimizing Public Relations Challenges for High Profile Accident Cases Involving Catastrophic Accidents
    (American Conference Institute’s Forum on Recreation, Leisure, and Amusement Park Compliance and Litigation
    February 2015)

  • Mock Trial at the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition (Orlando, FL, July 2015)

  • Trauma Unit: Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries and U.S. Sports Law
    (St. John's University School of Law Guest Lecture, October 2014)

  • Balancing Legal Ethics in a Non-Stop Media World
    (2014 Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law symposium
    September 2014)

  • Power in Mentoring event
    (Young Risk Practitioners Advisory Committee of the New York Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, May 2014)

  • If You Build It, They Will Come
    (Entertainment Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, panel discussion, September 2013)

  • Blood, Sweat and ... Broken Bones: Litigating Sports Injuries
    (American Bar Association Webinar and Teleconference, April 2013)

  • Protect the Pocket: Risk Management and Insurance Issues in the Sports and Entertainment Industries
    (ABA Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee 25th Annual CLE Seminar, March 2013)

  • Rising Spectator Injuries and Deaths Raise Safety Concerns
    (National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition, August 2012)

  • The Long-Term Tort Implications of Professional Sports
    (Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium, September 2012)

  • Bats, Balls and Rock 'n Roll: Liability basics for the sports, recreation, live entertainment and hospitality industries
    (North American Contingency Association Annual Conference, May 2012)

  • Hot Dog Toss: Liability & Risk Management in the Stadium Trenches
    (Orange County Bar Association, August 2011)

  • Sports Can Kill - Can Litigators Win
    (Online Course via LawLine.com)

  • Sports Litigation Alert
    (Stadium Managers Association Conference February, 2011)

  • Trends in the Ticket Resale Market
    (Ticket Summit, January 2011)

  • Crisis Management in Sports in an Era of Instant Feedback
    (Brooklyn Law School's Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society, November 2010)

  • Current Events: Legal Cases and Situations
    (IAAM International Crowd Management Conference, November 2010)

  • Ticketing: Managing the Keys to the Kingdom
    (Billboard's Touring Conference and Awards, November 2010)

  • 99 Bottles of Beer in the Law: Legal Issues Related to Alcohol Management

  • Lawline (2010)

  • Is It Fair or Foul?

  • Lawline (2009)

  • Year in Review

  • FoxNews’ Cops and Cases (2009)

  • Do you have to stand for “America the Beautiful?”  and can you sue the team if you are hit by a baseball?
    (Bulldog and The Rude Awakening Show, WOCM-FM 98.1, November 2009)

  • Where Does Your Liability Start?
    (IAAM International Crowd Management Conference, November 2009)

  • Risk Management in Sports: Business Interruption, Event Cancellation, and the SAFETY Act
    (The ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports, October 2009)

  • Legal Issues Panel Discussion
    (IAAM Annual Conference and Tradeshow, July 2009)

  • Current Issues In Sports Law
    (University of New Haven, March 2009)

  • Two Tickets to Paradise
    (Billboard Touring Magazine Conference Awards, November 2008)

  • Protecting Your Campers, Protecting Your Camp
    (Tri-State Camp Conference, March 2008)

  • Venues and Premises Liability
    (2008 Stadium Managers Association, February 2008)

  • International Sports Law
    (London, England, December 2007)

  • Avoiding Liability as an Owner/Operator of a Sports or Recreation Facility
    (Athletic Business Conference & Expo, November 2007)

  • Craig Kelly Sport & Entertainment Law Symposium
    (University of South Carolina, November 2007)

  • Spectator Liability Issues; Using an Expert Witness
    (International Conference on Sport and Entertainment Business (ICSEB), November 2007)

  • International Association of Assembly Managers, July 2007

  • Protecting the Crowd, Protecting the Venue:The
    Tinderbox of Stadium Liability

    (Stadium Managers Association Annual Seminar, February 2007)

  • Craig Kelly Sport & Entertainment Law Symposium
    (University of South Carolina, November 2006)


Jenn H.


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