by Irvin Muchnick
Concussion Inc. has learned that the University of Florida conducted an internal investigation of its long-time head swimming coach (and frequent Olympic coaching staff member), Gregg Troy, after one of his athletes — also one of many women swimmers who transferred from Florida because of Troy’s alleged verbal abuse — complained to the athletic department.
The investigation was in or around 2013. Several of our sources claimed that at the time, Troy was suspended from supervising women’s swimming (he is the head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams), but I was unable to confirm this. It is possible that these sources confused a suspension, as a finding of the investigation, with a temporary leave during the pendency of the investigation.
The complaint reportedly involved a stream of body-shaming rhetoric and other remarks targeted at women. Troy was said to harangue particular women swimmers he considered “fat”; to say they were “weighing down the team,” among other sarcastic remarks; and to opine that the size of their rear ends made turns difficult. One former Florida swimmer told of a meeting in which Troy excused the handful of obviously skinny females in the room before ripping into the rest of the women for being “out of shape.”
Troy’s tactics were said to include daily close inspection of women’s upper arms at practices. There is disagreement among our sources as to whether Troy or his assistant coaches pinched certain swimmers’ triceps in order to make their points. [Editor’s note 3/10: The original version of this article said “upper thighs” rather than upper arms.] According to numerous sources at the Gators’ swimming program, the scope of the investigation ultimately was limited to whether Troy had ever inappropriately touched his athletes, and the finding was that he had not.
In addition, women swimmers complained that Troy called them “sluts” or “whores” when he learned that they were dating men.
Some of the allegations might have risen to the level of National Collegiate Athletic Association violations. Asked about knowledge of the Florida investigation, Emily James, the NCAA’s associate director of media and public relations, told us, “Your questions are best answered by the university.”
Janine Sikes, Florida’s assistant vice president for media relations and public affairs, told us, “These are questions for the University Athletic Association.” That is the legal entity overseeing the athletic department, and it is headed by athletic director Jeremy Foley. Neither Foley nor Coach Troy has responded to requests for comment for this story. Our ongoing coverage will reflect any future comments they make.
The swimmer who lodged the formal complaint against Troy, Julia Treible, declined to be interviewed for this story. Concussion Inc. decided that it would be inappropriate to publish the story without naming the complainant, since our sources at Florida say that the complaint did not include an allegation of sexual abuse.
Treible, who completed her intercollegiate swimming career at the University of Georgia, was one of five Florida juniors — from the Gators’ total of ten female frosh in the recruiting class of two years earlier — who transferred out in 2013. Some of them spoke with us. These sources also said that they were contacted by a university investigator to discuss the Troy complaint after their transfers to new schools.
One of these women, Alana Pazevic, was outspoken about her reasons for leaving Troy in comments on a 2013 discussion thread below an article at the swimming news site SwimSwam.com. Pazevic, who transferred to the University of Arizona, said in part at SwimSwim, “If I really wanted to defame the UF program, I could have said much worse things instead of just saying the program was not for me.”
The other transfers out of Florida in 2013 were Trish Regan, Taylor McKnight, and Nelle Glasser. (At SwimSwam, Glasser said, “While everyone has a different experience, mine [at Florida] was great.”)
Interest in the nature of the complaint against Troy, and in the thoroughness and findings of Florida’s investigation, is heightened by recent cases in which universities covered up or downplayed complaints against coaches by student-athletes or their parents. In 2013, the University of Utah appointed a commission to investigate the history and disposition of complaints against fired head swimming coach Greg Winslow. While not concluding that there had been a cover-up, the commission determined that the university administration should have dismissed Winslow much earlier because of his alcoholism.