COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, November 25. USA Swimming concluded its investigation into allegations of improper sexual relations by former U.S. Olympic team coach Mitch Ivey by banning Ivey for life, according to an article by the OC Register.
In response to a request for comment by Swimming World, USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart would not speak directly to the Ivey case. However, she did reiterate USA Swimming’s position on the timing of any official release.
“All proceedings before the National Board of Review are confidential,” Linhart told Swimming World. “With every case, there is a 30-day appeal period that must expire before USA Swimming can publicly share a final decision.”
That means we will likely see Ivey appear on the official USA Swimming Banned for Life list right around Christmas accompanied by a reminder tweet from the Safe Sport Division.
Ivey, who competed for the U.S. at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games, was first reported to have had a history of sexual misconduct 20 years ago during a 1993 Chicago Tribune article that detailed questions surrounding Ivey. These questions included a relationship with Suzette Moran when she was 16 and he was 33.
USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Division, just created a few years ago, first began investigation the potential to ban Ivey from the sport for life back in 2011. USA Swimming claimed this summer that it had interview nearly a dozen individuals, but had not yet yielded any first-hand knowledge of a code of conduct violation, a requirement for a case to be brought before the National Board of Review.
It looks like with the OC Register’s article, USA Swimming found enough evidence to reach the threshold required to put a member up for a ban by the National Board of Review.
Earlier this summer, Moran blasted USA Swimming’s handling of the investigation:
It has come to my attention that over the past few years USA Swimming has been investigating swim coaches for misconduct. After reading articles about various coaches, it appears that USA Swimming is having a difficult time understanding how to conduct comprehensive investigations. I was recently advised that they have cleared Mitch Ivey from any inappropriate actions. It seems that once again they have overlooked several pieces of evidence.
USA Swimming has never contacted me in regards to their investigation of Mitch Ivey. While I do not see myself as a victim, the fact remains that I started having a relationship with Mitch Ivey at 16 and it continued for several years. The relationship was consensual, and completely open to everyone in USA Swimming, family, and friends. It crossed the world of USA Swimming with the ESPN special that I appeared in back in the early 90’s.
The fact that USA Swimming closed their file without trying to contact me is disturbing. It is reminiscent of the Catholic Church. I am very easily located via Facebook, Linkedin, Spokeo, Classmates, and my high school. ESPN found me through the UCLA Athletic Department. It is clear that they made no effort to locate me.
It saddens me that after all of the controversy, Mitch has made the choice to continue to coach, and a team has hired him. It concerns me that the entity who should be investigating and protecting swimmers from predators is still not doing their job, even after such coaches as Andy King and Rick Curl have been incarcerated.
I am publicly asking for Congress to step in and investigate USA Swimming.
Today’s news looks to have finalized the adjudication process required the take Ivey’s name off the books of members rumored to have engaged in improper activity prior to USA Swimming’s relatively recent implementation of the Safe Sport Division.
USA Swimming is still currently in the process of a two-tiered approach to enacting bans within swimming.
First, and foremost, according to conversations with members of USA Swimming, is taking currently active members off deck who have engaged in recent violations. Most of these investigations tend to be much quicker, primarily because law enforcements agencies are involved with recent evidence. With just an arrest or charge of a felony required for a life ban, USA Swimming has seen an immediate return on investment for resources devoted to Safe Sport.
The second tier has been to clear some of the more high profile, long-rumored issues within the sport. These include the likes of Ivey. With no current information regarding improper conduct, USA Swimming has a much longer process to work through to finalize a lifetime ban of a current or former member. However, Safe Sport continues to work towards properly adjudicated resolutions for these cases as the Banned for Life list continues to grow.
Ivey is definitely one of the higher profile names, along with the likes of Rick Curl, to be added to the Banned for Life list. Following his Olympic medals in 1968 and 1972 in the 200 back, Ivey was the head coach at Santa Clara from 1974-81. He also spent time at Concord Pleasant Hill Swim Club and at the Etobicoke Swim Club from the 80s through the 90s. In 1988, he was an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic Team.
He then went on to coach at the University of Florida from 1990-93 before being publicly fired following an ESPN Outside the Lines investigation that alleged sexual misconduct with various former swimmers.
Ivey went on to spend time with Trinity Prep Aquatics, before finally surfacing as a coach at Episcopal High in Florida from 2003-05.
OC Register article