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Fishers' Ken Stopkotte Accepts Two-Year USA Swimming Ban, Takes Shot at USA Swimming, Indiana Swimming in Farewell Speech -- August 31, 2010

FISHERS, Indiana, August 31. INDIANA Swimming, in conjunction with USA Swimming, announced today that it reached a settlement with Fishers Area Swimming Team former head coach Ken Stopkotte as well as the club itself regarding the report of false times nearly 200 times from three separate meets in February of this year. Stopkotte, however, did not go quietly as evidenced from his speech to the FAST parents on Aug. 22, 2010.

This investigation stemmed from 180 times that were altered or inserted into final results of three meets in February, including the reversal of 31 disqualifications and submissions of those times as legal swims. Earlier this month, Stopkotte resigned as the head coach at both the FAST club team and at Fishers High School.

Stopkotte accepted a two-year ban from USA Swimming as well as a five-year ban from Indiana Swimming. He also paid what are being called "undisclosed financial penalties." Part of the agreement also called for Stopkotte to accept sole responsibility for "the fraud, deception and dishonesty as it relates to swim times." Additionally, according to the press release Stopkotte "admitted that despite his previous statements to the press, the Indiana Swimming investigation which resulted in the complaint was in no way retaliatory for any of Stopkotte's other statements or actions regarding Indiana Swimming and USA Swimming."


This seems to contradict Stopkotte's response to a Swimming World request for statement on the story just released to us. for background purposes, Stopkotte provided the text from his speech in a parents meeting held on Aug. 22, 2010, prior to today's settlement requiring Stopkotte to retract his previous statements stating the investigation was retaliatory.

He also provided the following statement along with the text of his speech:

I resigned and agreed to the settlement with USA Swimming in order to avoid the FAST Tigers Swim Team from being bankrupted by USA Swimming and Indiana Swimming's lawyers. I'm not happy with the terms of the settlement, but I have no choice but to live with it.

These are the same legal tactics that USA Swimming is using to evade its responsibility by suing its swim clubs across the country for USA Swimming's own failure to prevent molestations of children by coaches and administrators.

I admit that I took an administrative shortcut and merged and submitted actual times achieved in high school meets into USA Swimming sanctioned meets. I am very sorry for this and deeply regret the mistakes I made. I wanted to be forthright about it as soon as the charges were filed. However, the proposed penalties by Indiana Swimming were so severe and vindictive in nature that I had no choice but to retain an attorney and remove the process from Indiana and USA Swimming.

I think it is sad and pathetic that USA Swimming and Indiana Swimming are more interested in timing issues than protecting the young children that continue to be placed at risk by a culture that protects and covers-up for coaches and administrators at the expense of young swimmers.

USA Swimming has succeeded in removing me from coaching, but they will not succeed in silencing me from advocating on behalf of children that are sexually molested due to USA Swimming's inadequate policies, procedures and background checks.


That speech is in line with his previous statements to the media that include an appearance on the bombshell ABC News 20/20 report in April stating that sexual abuse within the sport is "something that coaches talk about all the time." In May, Stopkotte also filed a joint complaint with Michael Saltzstein stating that both faced retribution for their comments made in the media against USA Swimming. Stopkotte claimed in that complaint that USA Swimming took him off a high altitude training trip as part of the Indiana Swimming All Stars.

Saltzstein, meanwhile, won an arbitration hearing reinstating him to the USA Swimming Officials List.

Full press release from Indiana Swimming
Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Swimming has reached settlement agreements with Ken Stopkotte, FAST Head Coach, and the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers (FAST) as it relates to multiple Code of Conduct violations. The violations were outlined in a Complaint filed back on March 22, 2010 with the Indiana Swimming Board of Review as outlined in the organization's bylaws. The complaint documented 180 swim times that had allegedly been altered or inserted into the final results of three meets held by FAST in February 2010. This included the submission of thirty-one (31) disqualified swims as legal swims. To the best of Indiana Swimming's and USA Swimming's knowledge, there have never been any violations of this type or magnitude involving final results of swim meets. The investigation into the complaint began on March 1st as the result of a phone call to the Indiana Swimming office questioning some duplicate swims in the USA Swimming database.

Indiana Swimming sought an immediate suspension of Coach Stopkotte back in March, but the suspension was not awarded at that time. Over the last five months, Coach Stopkotte has denied any wrong doing and instead claimed that the Complaint was a retaliatory action for Stopkotte speaking out against USA Swimming and Indiana Swimming in another legal matter. Stopkotte and his attorney Ed Williams got the matter moved out of the Indiana Swimming Board of Review process and into AAA Arbitration as defined by the USOC. Arbitration was set for Monday, August 30th in Indianapolis. Prior to the arbitration hearing, Indiana Swimming via its attorney, Tom Schultz, reached separate agreements with both Ken Stopkotte and FAST.

The agreement with Ken Stopkotte involves him admitting he was the person solely responsible for the fraud, deception and dishonesty as it relates to the swim times. Stopkotte has also admitted that despite his previous statements to the press, the Indiana Swimming investigation which resulted in the complaint was in no way retaliatory for any of Stopkotte's other statements or actions regarding Indiana Swimming or USA Swimming. The agreed upon penalties for Stopkotte are a two-year ban from USA Swimming membership, a five-year ban from Indiana Swimming and undisclosed financial penalties.

The agreement with FAST involves a financial penalty as the club holding the sanctions for the meets in question. FAST has also agreed to work with Indiana Swimming to try and prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. FAST Board members will attend Indiana Swimming workshops on Swim Club Leadership and Governance as well as their meet personnel attending workshops on Meet Management. FAST will not be able to host any sanctioned meets until the meet management workshop has been completed. It is anticipated that FAST meet personnel will have completed the meet management workshop prior to their October Invitational scheduled to be held at Fishers High School.

Indiana Swimming is pleased to come to an agreement with both parties in this complaint so that the swimming community can move forward. The financial penalties involved were important to Indiana Swimming to ensure that the members of Indiana Swimming did not bear the burden of adjudicating this valid complaint. It is unfortunate that Stopkotte chose to deceive not only Indiana Swimming and its member swimmers but also his own swimmers and parents. Even though Indiana Swimming sent the Complaint to both Stopkotte and FAST back in March, it became apparent only in the last week that Stopkotte hid from the FAST Board the true nature of the charges and the financial penalties involved. At that point FAST engaged their own attorney and began discussions with Indiana Swimming to try and resolve the matter separate from Stopkotte. Indiana Swimming looks forward to working with FAST to help the club continue to serve the Fishers, Hamilton County and Indiana swimming communities.



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Reaction Time Comments
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August 31, 2010 The guy lied about times and reversed disqualifications and you print his diatribe against people who acted to preserve the integrity of the sport like it is fact. You guys need to be better than that. The fact that former Coach Stopkotte was being investigated well before he chose to speak out on 20/20 proves there was no link to between the issues except as Stopkotte's last chance grasp at a defense. The guy is is a liar, cheat and bully and the fact that the media treats him as an expert on sexual misconduct is laughable. The headline should have read "Ken Stopkotte Banned From Coaching For Cheating (again)." Just check with Ohio Swimming about his past transgressions. The fact is he was an elected member of the Indiana Swimming Board of Directors and did not attend a single meeting or bring forth one proposal to enhance child protection practices.
Submitted by: thetruth
August 31, 2010 is "adminstrative shortcut" the new euphemism for cheating?
Submitted by: thetruth
August 31, 2010 Again, the facts are that it was another coach who initially complained about Stopkotte's actions, not IN SWimming. It isn't just about changing times -- 31 DQd swims were reinserted as legitimate. If I DQ a swimmer and a coach feels it was a bad call, let him question the call ank take it to the meet ref. If it is overturned, fine. If not, there is no legitimate reason to use that swimmer's time.
Submitted by: kimrim
September 1, 2010 Ahhh yes, another example of "The best defense is a good offense"
Submitted by: bab
September 1, 2010 Agree with all the comments above. And @bab, lol! So sooooo true!
Submitted by: Hodori88
September 1, 2010 It amazes me that people continue to buy into former coach Stopkotte's diatribe. Stopkotte twists and hides behind everything but the truth. If he was truly interested in the health of FAST he would have stepped up and admitted his wrongdoing back in March. That however would have made it difficult for him to be credible during his self promotion as being concerned for the sport that took place in April on ABC's 20/20. Stopkotte is all about Stopkotte. He has now "resigned" from his last 4 clubs under questionable circumstances (2 in IN, 1 in TN and 1 in OH). I find it curious that Swimming World chose to use his speech from Aug 22nd because at that time Stopkotte was still hiding from his own club the exact nature of the charges as well as the fact that FAST was on the hook for the financial penalties as the host club. If members of FAST had been contacted yesterday before the article was posted, I am confident that the article would have a significantly different slant. Whom should one believe? The former coach who admits cheating as well as lying to the press about retaliation -or- the Governing Body who is left to try and maintain the integrity of the sport and to help the club most affected by his dishonesty.
Submitted by: thepath
September 1, 2010 Since I've had several people contact me regarding Stopkotte's response, I'm going to explain our thoughts behind it.

It is a journalistic standard to allow both sides to voice their views on a story such as this, and Stopkotte's decision was to use his speech from prior to the settlement. That was his desired statement to a direct request for comment from us sent to him yesterday. He stated that he felt his speech told his side of the story.

We, as a news agency, cannot put words in someone's mouth or alter anything they say, or want to say when we ask them for the information.

We trust our readers to be able to make a solid decision when we put forth the facts of a story. It is not our place at Swimming World to tell people what to think, as we don't place an agenda on our reporting.

People trust us, because we do our best not to try to force public opinion in any specific direction when we report the news.

It is not our job as a news reporting agency to find specific "slants" on any issue. We report the facts as we know them, and let our readers decide what they want to think about them.

I know this is a bit unusual since most media in the world now engage in agenda-journalism, but we hold ourselves to a different standard here.

Feel free to contact me directly anytime you have a question regarding our reporting. You can find my contact info on the Contact Us page.
Submitted by: Jason Marsteller
September 1, 2010 If I'm reading all of this right...I think the problem with printing the text from the parent meeting speech is that the text, and the speech, took place prior to the finalization of the settlement requiring that this coach admit that the actions taken against him were in no way retaliatory. Despite the fact that the text from his speech does not SAY the action is retaliatory it certainly implies it towards the end.

Releasing this previously authored text AFTER the settlement allows the coach to air his accusations without violating the terms of his settlement. His response can always be, "Well they clearly stated that the speech was given on August 22, prior to the settlement." I think this was purposefully planned chicanery on his part and Swimming World fell into the trap.

If Swimming World were looking for comment it should have only reported commentary that was originated AFTER the settlement. Arguing that you are allowing "both sides to voice their views" is inaccurate. You allowed one side to voice a view that has been publicly and legally changed via settlement. I think it was an honest mistake made with positive journalistic intentions, but that statement of his should not have seen the light of day at this point.
Submitted by: manofthefred
September 1, 2010 Thanks to everyone for double-checking us.

While we stand behind giving Stopkotte his chance to voice his view on the story as a participating member of that story, we have reviewed the text from the original report, and found that we were not completely clear in our reporting.

Here is the updated text:

This seems to contradict Stopkotte's response to a Swimming World request for statement on the story just released to us. For background purposes, Stopkotte provided the text from his speech in a parents meeting held on Aug. 22, 2010, prior to today's settlement requiring Stopkotte to retract his previous statements stating the investigation was retaliatory.

He also provided the following statement along with the text of his speech:

The rest of the article is unchanged. The text we ran was his direct statement in answer to our response, and not a copy of his speech.

We regret the lack of clarity on the article, but stand by allowing Stopkotte to make a statement.
Submitted by: Jason Marsteller
September 1, 2010 Everyone needs to look at the time line here. Stopkette went to the media in September, 2009. The alteration of times occurred in February, 2010. So he went to the media to talk about the abuse before he had defrauded the Illinois Swimming. It is simply not true that the USA Swimming started to investigate Stopkette before his pubic appearance on 20/20.
Everyone also need to remember Salzstein won the abitration hearing against the USA Swimming. So the whole matter is not as black and white as "theTruth" claims.

Submitted by: doc
September 1, 2010 Everyone needs to look at the time line here. Stopkette went to the media in September, 2009. The alteration of times occurred in February, 2010. So he went to the media to talk about the abuse before he had defrauded the Illinois Swimming. So it is simply not true that the Illinois Swimming started to investigate Stopkette before he went to the media talking about the abuse.
Everyone also needs to remember that Mike Salzstein won the arbitration hearing against the USA Swimming. So the claim about the retaliation is not baseless.

Submitted by: doc
September 1, 2010 Doc, what did he do the previous September exactly?

It was another coach that reported him. You won't find many other coaches or clubs that will sympathize with Stopkotte here. He clearly and knowingly broke the rules. The disciplinary action is completely justified given the infractions.


Submitted by: ShortChange
September 2, 2010 Stopkette spoke to local media in September, 2009:
http://www.theindychannel.com/news/21308941/detail.html
Submitted by: doc
September 2, 2010 What Stopkette did in February is wrong and stupid. But he had pushed for changes regarding abuse long before that. It is really sad that he provided enough reasons for the other side to discredit him.
Submitted by: doc
September 2, 2010 He discredited himself.

There's nothing in that local article that's particularly scathing or harsh nor that other coaches haven't also said. He's now trying to exploit the ongoing child protection issue to his own ends.

The punishment fits the crime.


Submitted by: ShortChange
September 2, 2010 Stopkotte was an elected member of the IN Swimming Board. He never raised issues of protection of swimmers or the lack of policies on abuse at any board meetings. Of course, he never attended any board meetings either. If his real concern was the welfare of swimmers, why didn't he use his elected position to propose safeguards?
Submitted by: kimrim
September 3, 2010 correct me if I get any of this wrong: Coach Stopkotte NEVER: molested/abused children, never hit a child, never stole money, never purchased alcohol for under-age children, never gave enhancement drugs to athletes, never gambled with his or others money (the list goes on). Coach Stopkotte DID: love athletes, arguably generated more success from athletes at the club level than any other coach in USA (think: Countryside Y, Cincinnati Marlins, FL, TN, Carmel, Fishers), kicked senior swimmers off the team in Cincinnati for getting drunk at a party, won a ton of state meets wherever he coaches, got buy-in from his parents and athletes every step of the way, built every team to a larger program than when he arrived, (the list goes on). So, bottom line, is it fair for Coach Stopkotte to be banned from paying his family's bills and not work with children for taking the administrative short cut on getting times from HS meets into the USA-database? Remember, these are not "made up performances", children actually swim those times and parents don't understand why "some times count" and "some times don't count". Did his punishment include "education-on-what-he-did-wrong", or was it solely "penalty-based"? A drunk driver who kills a pedestrian often times receives LESS punishment than what Coach Stopkotte recieved. Did Indiana Swimming have a little "joy" in going after Coach Stopkotte and want to make him an example? Maybe. As an outsider, I can't help but think Coach Stopkotte looks better than the other side on this. For some reason, I don't feel bad for Indiana swimming, but I do feel bad for the athletes and families and Coach Stopkotte in the sport. Indiana Swimming has always had a reputation as being the most "rule crazy" state in the country in swimming, and they succeeded on this one; for better or worse.
Submitted by: nomish
September 3, 2010 Did nomish miss the part about adding 30 DQd swimmers as legitimate times? These are not times simmers actually made. This was not just about an "administrative shortcut", this is about declaring times from meets that didn't happen. Sure the coach has had lots of success and is loved by lots of people. Here he cheated, got caught, and deserves the punishment.
Submitted by: kimrim
September 3, 2010 Since nomish asked to be corrected if anything was wrong, I think he/she might find it interesting that FAST is currently trying to track down where all the money went from their big meets this summer. They have discovered a number of outstanding/overdue balances with vendors and Indiana Swimming. I suppose that might just be another "administrative error" by former coach Stopkotte. As for an education on what he did wrong, Stopkotte could give a clinic on how to cheat regarding times since he's done it at 3 of his last 4 coaching stops. 2 of which have now resulted in penalties from USA Swimming.
Submitted by: thepath
September 3, 2010 Uh oh... Now KimRim suggests "financial improprieties" by coach stopkotte... What a laugher. Check your own closet before you lynch a coach that knows how to look out for his program. And for those DQs - do you know what they are? A bunch of B- level swims so far off any cut it only suggests one thing: Stopkotte was dumb, not sly. The best punishment for this sad case should be: rehab and education. Not banishment by Indiana Swimming. Indiana, once again, looks like A lynch mob like thy always have. Go ahead readers - enjoy you blogs, and don't forget those real improprieties in your closets!
Submitted by: nomish
September 5, 2010 Check YOUR facts nomish. I suggested only that stopkotte sumbitted times that didn't occur at meets as he submitted them -- something he has admitted!
As for eductaion, any coach who has been in the sport as long as Stopkotte doesn't need "education" to know what is right and wrong.
Submitted by: kimrim
September 14, 2010 According to the Indianapolis Star former coach Stopkotte is being investigated by the Fishers, Indiana Police Department for financial fraud he may have committed against the school district.
http://www.indystar.com/article/20100914/SPORTS02/9140343/1015/LOCAL01/Stopkotte-under-investigation I would bet FAST is not too far behind in auditing Stopkotte's use of their funds as well. Sad shameful situation
Submitted by: thetruth
September 14, 2010 nomish - i don't think any coach, swimmer, or observer with any integrity on this forum care whether or not he reversed B, C, or F level swims if there was such a thing. the act itself was underhanded and deceitful, and deserved punishment. how can that be excused just because they were a "bunch of B- swims"? rehab and education? what a laugher, how long has this guy been coaching? usa-s may have flaws aplenty, but i hope they continue to stick it to him.
Submitted by: fl_coach
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