Report: USOC Ignored Advice From USA Swimming

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Several coaches that have been banned by The United States Olympic Committee (USOC), are still coaching kids in a variety of sports.

According to a USA TODAY report, at least six banned coaches are still active in their respective sports — and three were “working at events affiliated with the national sports governing bodies that are supposed to be enforcing the bans”.

This issue has grown in the past several years, especially with the Larry Nassar gymnastics case, the #MeToo movement and the case involving Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors and then coach Sean Hutchison.

An independent investigation by the law firm Ropes & Gray showed the biggest problems are not individual predators, but the structural flaws from the governing bodies of sports and the USOC.

The report was released this week — all 233 pages of it.

USA Swimming has taken heat for the issue, but it was one of the few governing bodies to attempt to come up with a better plan — or at least, a plan.

According to USA TODAY, in 2005, then-USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus recommended that the USOC follow the lead of other national youth organizations by crafting policies and programs that could be implemented at the local level and the USOC ignored that advice.

“Only after the revelation in 2010 that USA Swimming had quietly banned more than 35 coaches for sexual misconduct did the USOC launch a working group to address the problem. The group produced recommendations but little immediate action. A centralized list of banned coaches was discussed at length, but the working group determined it was not the best solution for all sports organizations.’” according to USA TODAY.

A big problem the investigation found was the notification system. Some sports have published banned lists of coaches, some don’t. SafeSport, which now handles all cases for the USOC has a list, but only since the SafeSport office opened in 2017. They are working to add those banned prior to that.

But there are still other issues.

Even in the case-by-case notification and enforcement depends on parents, other coaches and officials. That is a lot of responsibility on the families of alleged victims.

“By understanding the failures of the Olympic community, it will enable the USOC to take action to protect athletes in the future,” USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland told The Associated Press.

Hirshland fired Alan Ashley, chief of sport performance on Dec. 10, after the report showed he did not do enough when faced with suspicions of others involved in sport committing sexual assault.

Prior to Hirshland taking over less than a year ago, the USOC was prone to ignoring, or not responding correctly to allegations.