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.