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USA Swimming has second list of people under scrutiny
Question of the Day
USA Swimming acknowledged to The Associated Press on Tuesday that it has a second list of people who are under suspicion for unscrupulous behavior, having already banned 46 coaches and officials for life, mostly for sexual misconduct.
The board met in Newark, N.J., to sign off on measures that will be voted on at the national convention in September, another step in its efforts to cope with numerous allegations of coaches abusing underage athletes. They included a new athlete protection policy, expanded background checks and a requirement that all adults who interact with swimmers become members of the organization.
USA Swimming president Jim Wood also told the AP there’s a second list of people who’ve been “flagged” for alleged misconduct against swimmers but haven’t faced any disciplinary action because they aren’t current members. That will change — the board voted Tuesday to take those cases before the National Board of Review.
Those who decline to attend an NBOR hearing or lose their case will be added to the list of banned officials that was released last month, Wood said. He did not know how many people were on the flagged list, which was disclosed publicly for the first time.
USA Swimming didn’t respond to an additional request for the number of people on the list.
“Some of them were added recently,” Mr. Wood said. “Some have been there for a period of time. They were nonmembers of the organization that we heard things about and we put them on a list to make sure if they ever tried to become a USA Swimming coach, they would be flagged here.”
At least one is a former member coach who quit the organization after being confronted with allegations of statutory rape. Dave Goble, secretary of the group’s Michigan chapter, said he recently checked on the ex-coach’s status with USA Swimming and was told he had not been banned for life but was on the flagged list.
“There are many accusations in his background,” Mr. Goble told the AP. “In my estimation, he should not be dealing with children.”
Mike Saltzstein, a former vice president at USA Swimming and most prominent critic inside the sport, said the biggest problem with the flagged list is that no one is quite sure what a coach has to do to get on it. For instance, his own inquiries showed that it didn’t include Randy Nack, a former Southern California high school coach who went to jail nearly two years ago for admittedly having sex with two underage female students.
“Why has this list been secret?” Mr. Saltzstein asked.
The most prominent name on the banned list is former national team director Everett Uchiyama, who quit in 2006 after being accused of having a decade-long relationship with a swimmer that began when she was 14. He never faced criminal charges and turned up less than a year later as the aquatics director at the Country Club of Colorado, only about five miles from USA Swimming’s headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Uchiyama hastily resigned from the club after the banned list was published. He landed the job with a recommendation by Pat Hogan, who leads USA Swimming’s club development.
There are at least four ongoing lawsuits against the governing body, contending it has covered up wrongdoing and allowed a culture of abuse to exist in the coaching ranks.
Ed Vazquez, a spokesman for attorneys in several of those cases, said he was surprised to learn of the second list and reiterated his belief that no meaningful changes will occur until the current leadership is replaced.
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