Association & NGB Product Update Highlight Reel

At the end of 2020, the Sports Connect Product team set forth a roadmap to prioritize the enhancements and features to be released in 2021. Many of these product features and enhancement ideas came directly from you, our partners. We are grateful for your partnership and eager to provide you with all of the tools you need to manage and grow your organization. We are proud to showcase what was accomplished this year.

Featured Association/National Governing Body enhancements from 2021:

EVENT MANAGER: Our Event Manager offers solutions for a variety of registration management needs such as camps, clinics, referee education, ODP events, and more. In 2021, we introduced a refreshed, mobile-friendly registration experience with a greatly enhanced account creation process.

NEW SAFESPORT INTEGRATION: We integrated with the new SafeSport learning platform so that training results continuously and automatically are matched, then inserted into Team Admin profiles. We built new features to supplement existing certificate management and expiration functionality. Highlights include:

  • Automatic system lookup and matching of new Admin users
  • Manual lookup and matching of any user from the Admin profile page and My Account
  • Subscriptions to future training completions for matched profiles
  • Player Turned 18 functionality, including customizable org level notifications
  • Certificate acceptable completion date control

GENDER MANAGEMENT: In a system-wide overhaul, we rebuilt all gender-related features, rules, and logic on the Association platform to support org-specific introductions of a third participant gender (expanded roll-out pending Club readiness in 2022).

ONLINE INVOICE MANAGEMENT (OIM): OIM enables our Partners to collect membership dues based on customized billing rules in an efficient, user-friendly way. While onboarding several additional Partners onto our OIM solution in 2021, we continued to build supporting new features and enhancements:

  • Monthly notifications that are triggered by an outstanding balance (instead of new registration activity) to alert Clubs that payment is due
  • A new Org level Fees / Paid / Due Widget
  • Ability to accept partial payments so that Clubs may apply multiple payments towards larger balances
  • A new transactional OIM report that facilitates both the online and offline payment collection process; a Fee Type, Play Type & Amount Owed Summary for the PDF Invoices; an OIM Summary Counts report with billable Player and Admin data by play type
  • A new OIM Email Feature so that Orgs can communicate with Club contacts separately from system generated alerts, using a customizable template with relevant macros. We also added new functionality to filter and send communications based upon last captured payment
  • Seasonal Year added to email templates and to the remittance reports to better define overlapping billing periods

TOURNAMENTS & SEASONAL PLAY: Our already robust competition platform was further enhanced with a large number of new features and improvements. Highlights include:

  • Team-to-Team Reschedule messaging feature
  • Play-by-Date tool to control rescheduling periods
  • Auto-advancing teams to next round
  • Game Roster printability tied to the teams’ activation status
  • Officials Connect integration

Additional Enhancements

Program and Business Management

NDC Auto Submission: Our USSF NDC tool was enhanced and now has seasonal configurations for both manual and weekly, automated submissions. When auto-submission is selected, no user effort is required for data to be sent.

Affiliate Sanctioning (ASM) ELAs: We built enhanced ELA/Waiver functionality for the ASM with specific settings that independently controls the signature collection & storage process by season for current and past affiliate registrations. The ASM now also offers a method for the organization to control the display order of ELAs.

Split Fee Management Tool: To support our integrated Split Pay pilot, we introduced a tool that allows an organization to instantly update a player’s State/NGB Fee payment status regardless of any actual transactions (the status itself controls if the fee should be assessed or not in a future Club registration). A new report was also built to further support this process.

Upload Portal Enhancements: New logic automatically inserts a Player’s contacts as Guardians instead of Mother/Father, solving the issue of legacy relationship-to-player mixups. Relevant pages in the UP experience are consistently referring to ‘Guardian’ as well. Season name now displays on both the upload queue summary page and the approval preview page to ensure the user is uploading to the correct season.

Season Access: A configuration to control season access in Association was introduced, allowing organizations to restrict member access to any future/current/past season and its related data. It provides an option to exclude any season from the seasonal dropdown list – hiding without archiving.

Seasonal Team Migrations: Enhanced User Rights were built to more precisely control the seasonal migration feature that is critical to organizations requiring Team ID continuity from season to season. User Rights can be restricted to allow for migration of team ‘shells’ separately from players/admins; team shells are then also available via the ‘Get Teams’ feature in the Club experience.

New Email Macros: In order to give organizers the ability to share quality registrant email addresses with partners/sponsors, an email macro was created for a long list of notification templates. The macro is used in combination with the cc feature that allows for external email addresses to be included in notification-specific distribution lists.

Discount/Promo Rules: The Association discount logic was thoroughly reworked, ensuring that all various discount types are applied correctly and only to qualified products (fees) from the discount-issuing tier. Additionally, discounts/promos of any kind are no longer applied to donations.

New Season Type: A new Season Type was added to the seasonal setup process — there is now a “Winter” option available. This change also included creating seasonal migration rules, to and from the new season type.

Safety & Compliance


Get SafeSport | Admin Profile: Users with access to the internal Admin profile page may click the ‘Get SafeSport Updates’ button to look for a matching profile in the SafeSport platform. When a match is found and/or a more current verification is available, it will be inserted and replace the current results in Association. Future training completions will automatically be inserted as well.

Get SafeSport | My Account: For Team Admin self-service, the ‘Get SafeSport Updates’ lookup feature is also available in My Account. The SafeSport Certificate presentation was also simplified and given the same look & feel as other certificates.

Training Completion Acceptable Date: Results from the new SafeSport training platform will now follow the same acceptance rules as results retrieved from the USSF Learning Center, so that orgs can control the cut-off date for aged training. This was not applicable to the Center’s previous LMS since results were only available immediately after completion [and not historically].

Identifying 18+ Players: To make it easier for orgs to assess which players should be SafeSport certified [at this time], the Player Compliance report now includes the player’s actual age calculated at the time of running the report.

SafeSport Trained Icon: A new SafeSport feature displays the SafeSport Trained (ST) icon on the team roster page for players that are in verified status AND are 18 or older.

SafeSport Player Matching: When a player completes SafeSport training with a Stack associated profile, the player is automatically put into verified status (with the proper date/time stamp) in the Association platform. The SafeSport Verified overlay presents on the internal player profile page, My Account, and OLR. This is also true if the user has both an admin profile and a player profile. It is critical that a new user enters the SafeSport platform via the custom Stack URL.

Player Turned 18 Alert: A custom SafeSport alert for Players turning 18 was built to support critical Association/NGB level communication when a youth player becomes subject to adult SafeSport compliance rules. Organizations may customize the default alert (relevant macros available) and a configuration control when in time (days before, on, after the player’s 18th birthday) the notification is triggered.

General Safety & Compliance

Org Content for Club Display: Two new content templates were built at Association level to provide organizations a direct way to create and display custom compliance information, direction, and other org specific matters to Team Admins/Volunteers and Registrars inside the Club experience.

Background Check Integration: The integrated background check solution was re-engineered, greatly improving order submissions and response times to mitigate seasonal bottlenecks.

Risk Status History: A new Risk Status History feature contains data related to a user’s past and current risk statuses and expiration dates. The page provides Association and NGB users with details on the specific value that was added, by whom, and when.

Youth Admin Risk Management: New custom logic was created to automatically update a youth volunteer/team admin’s risk status and systematically assign an expiration date based on the individual’s future 18th birthday (available upon request).

Verification Accepted Date Control: A new certificate verification control feature was developed, providing organizations a method to configure the earliest date a SafeSport, Concussion, or Sudden Cardiac Arrest training completion received from an integrated learning platform should result in ‘Verified’ status per the org’s specific business rules.

Compliance Widget Profile Views: Our new ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ record functionality greatly enhanced the widget’s lookup feature at all organizational levels! By clicking into any one compliance item, users can view the high-level result lists, access the player/admin profile details from any record, then navigate between profile pages. The profile order matches the widget’s current display list order.

Compliance Widget Background Check Submitted: The widget’s background check/risk status component at all tiers was enhanced to include a ‘BGC last submitted’ date, reducing confusion with the existing ‘last application’ date. This helps registrars determine if/when follow up actions may be necessary.

Team Compliance Status Filters: New Team Lookup functionality allows users to filter on a variety of system assigned team compliance statuses as well as self-assigned activation readiness. Users can efficiently work with a well-defined subset of teams, which is especially beneficial in organizations where team activation is a multi-step process that involves users at various levels in the organization.

Adding Players/Admins to Activated Team: To ensure that teams remain in compliance, any new Player or Team Admin rostered post-activation is now automatically added to an ‘Unassigned Member’ section, regardless of registration method. When pushing the Unassigned Members up to the active roster, all team activation rules are systematically checked. Any compliance issues generate actionable alerts for items that must be resolved before rostering is allowed.

In Person ID Verification: A simple ‘ID Verified’ feature has been added to the Admin Profile page. This was done to support the need of clubs conducting in-person ID verification of first-time admins to ensure that a person is a match to the identity used.

Security User Management: System logic introduced in additional organizations to only allow Lookup of registered Admins when adding new Security Users to the system, preventing manual key-ins. This ensures a more complete profile of Security Users, including the possibility of background checks (available upon request).

Release & Transfer Tracking: To ensure that players’ R&T history remain intact, we created new logic to not allow a team to be deleted if the team history includes any player involved in a Release/Transfer.

ELA Management: Similar to the existing organization level logic, enhanced functionality will now automatically auto-assign ELAs at all system levels to any nested lower tiers. A lower tier is not able to deactivate/unassign an ELA established by a higher tier in the season setup grid.

Travel Request ELAs: The new ELA functionality for Travel Requests consistently displays ELA information along with date, time and user signature on the request summary page (regardless of application status).

Tournaments & Seasonal Play

Tournament Application UI: The tournament & league application process was updated to match the overall presentation. Classic view application pages are no longer exposed.

ELA Management: New enhanced ELA functionality was introduced in Tournament & Gaming. A user with access to the team’s application can sign competition ELAs at any time, independently of payment submission. Unsigned ELAs are accessible from the ‘Review’ page where signed ELA data is displayed.

Rescheduling Play-By-Date Tool: A new Team-to-Team rescheduling feature was introduced, providing organizers control of how far out the rescheduled game date can be set. This must-play-by-date configuration is available by flight, or round and provides organizers optimal flexibility.

Team-to-Team Reschedule Messaging: A new message feature was created in the Team-to-Team rescheduling tool to support back and forth conversations before submitting a firm request. By keeping this communication inside the tournament/league experience, organizers are able to track down conversation details should there be any disputes or incorrectly rescheduled games.

Team-to-Team Reschedule Responses: New response options were added to Team-to-Team rescheduling to enhance the user experience and avoid unintentional deadlocking.

Scoring Deadlock Alerts: A new templated notification is automatically triggered when two team admins input conflicting game scores (or cards), causing scoring to become deadlocked. Tournament Directors are quickly notified so that they can take proper action to review and unlock the scoring (affected team admins also receive the notification). Notification content can be customized at both org level and tournament level.

Publish Control: A new publish configuration gives tournament organizers the flexibility to dynamically control what groups of teams, by application status, should be displayed on the public ‘Teams’ page (there are currently nine application statuses in use).

Team Status vs. Game Roster Printability: This new feature makes it possible for tournaments and leagues to allow teams to apply to the competition regardless of their activation status, then later systematically check and require an activated status before Game Rosters can be printed.

Player Suspension: Custom logic was built to ensure proper enforcement of complex player suspension rules, requiring a player’s red card suspension to always be served with their registration team and never while club passed. Suspensions follow the player+registration team instead of the player only (available upon request).

Auto-advancing teams: New logic will advance winning teams in the knockout rounds as games are scored. The system will independently advance teams every 8 minutes in all rounds with the exception of bracket rounds (as they may include tie breaking rules that require all games to be scored before advancing teams can be determined).

Officials Connect Integration: An Officials Connect (OC) integration menu option was added as a setup option at the Tournament & League level. This will allow Tournament & League Directors to send games to Referee Assignors in OC in an integrated solution. (OC is still in a beta phase at this time; we look forward to sharing additional updates in the near future.)

Officials Connect Assignment Filter: Tournament & league schedules integrated with Officials Connect now include a referee assigned filter to determine if any games are missing coverage in OC.

Venue Time Zone: Game Venues in Tournament & Gaming in all organizations now have a Time Zone drop-down setting. When a competition is using Officials Connect for referee assignment, the venue’s time zone is passed via the integration to ensure that schedules are correctly synced.

Club User Batch-Apply: Functionality was developed for C-tier registrars to batch-apply teams into tournaments from the Leagues & Registration side, complementing the existing legacy L tier (league) feature.

Scheduling Drag & Drop Tool: The Drag & Drop scheduling tool now has a locked right hand panel to make scheduling/unscheduling games a smoother experience when simultaneously managing multiple dates and fields.

Application Data: To allow tournament organizers to better communicate with registered teams, the name of the user actually submitting a team’s application is displayed on the summary/review page, and also pulls in to the Application Info and Payment Details report.

User Experience & Value Add

Configurable Registration Fields: This new feature offers Org level control over which standard registration data fields are presented, and set to required or optional, in the Club experience. Organizations may opt to introduce new Player and Admin fields previously not available and hide fields that are not relevant to their needs.

Batch Cancel Player Applications: A new Batch Cancel Player Application feature was introduced on the Player Lookup page, allowing Association/NGB level users to cancel many pending player applications with a single action.

Association Profile Changes > Club: A new service was introduced to sync name and DOB data changes from the Association side to Club: when a change is made to these fields, the data is immediately updated in the Club portal.

Registration Primary Contact: A content template was introduced to manage the “Account Primary Contact” area in the online registration flow, allowing Orgs the ability to create custom content suitable to their chosen business process.

Profile Creation Date: A profile’s creation date now displays at the bottom of the page for admins, parents and players.
Chrome Auto-Fill Removed: Saving valuable time, new logic now prevents Chrome from auto-filling the Username + Password fields on the Admin and Parent profile pages.

Exclude Profile From Form Printing: A new profile feature makes it possible to set a “Parent” profile to be excluded from form printing. The system treats Admins as adult records; all adult records in a family become a Player’s Parent records — thus a Player who is also an Admin or Referee is considered a Parent of him/herself (and would print on their own medical release form).

Team Roster: The Team Roster page has now been enhanced to also include the Admin roster date.

USSF ID Lookup Filter: The Player Lookup and Admin Lookup features have been enhanced with a new USSF ID option. Users are now able to search for a matching record by exact USSF ID value.

Parent Profile: The ‘Gender’ field has been exposed on the Parent profile’s ‘Team Role’ tab as an optional field. This page is used by registrars to manually and internally create a first admin application for a parent.

Internal Player Application: When an internal Player application is created, the ‘Accepted’, and ‘Age Legal’ boxes are now checked by default to ensure that internally registered players can be found in lookup and are included in any OIM billing.

To learn more about enhancements for leagues and clubs, read our Sports Connect Club Enhancements Post.