USA Swimming’s list of coaches who are permanently banned for sexual misconduct today got its first update since June 4. See http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=1963&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=10011&ItemId=5107.
This tip-of-the-iceberg list is now up to 65 names.
Not on the list is Noah Rucker, most recently a coach at the Curl-Burke Swim Club in the Washington, D.C., area (where, among other prominent swimmers, wunderkind 800-meter freestyle gold medalist Katie Ledecky trains).
In June, Rucker was arrested on charges of illicit sex years earlier with a high school swimmer he was coaching at the time. On news of the criminal proceedings, USA Swimming announced its own “emergency hearing” on the Rucker matter.
The next week, USA Swimming’s charming director of public relations, Karen Linhart, threatened to have me thrown out of the building in Omaha where the Olympic Trials were being held when I asked her for a status update on Rucker.
And shortly after that, the former Kelley Davies came forward with documentation of the $150,000 in hush money that Curl-Burke’s founder, one-time national team coach Rick Curl, had paid her family after molesting the Davies girl repeatedly from the age of 13.
In the course of reporting that Curl has accepted a “provisional suspension” from USA Swimming – which says that Curl’s “emergency hearing” has been waived and that the case now will be heard on September 19 – The Washington Post said Curl’s underling, Rucker, also has been suspended. However, the article did not say whether Rucker’s was a permanent suspension.
The fact that Rucker is not on today’s version of the USA Swimming banned list means one of three things: (1) he, too, has been “provisionally” suspended; (2) he has been permanently banned but will not be on the list until an appeals window has expired; or (3) something else that the PR-besotted and procedurally challenged USA Swimming will make up as it goes along.
I asked The Post for clarification but have not yet heard back. This aspect is important because our news media like to play one-and-done with the swimming sex abuse scandal. The lack of national and institutional public memory of USA Swimming’s systemic criminal neglect of our youth swimmers remains an impediment to cleaning house and solving this problem.