It couldn’t get much worse than this for USA Swimming and all its would-be reformers and paperwork-churners on sex abuse, such as technical vice president David Berkoff and recently anointed “safe sport” director Susan Woessner.
At the organization’s convention over the weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, the floor voted down a proposed measure to ban sexual or romantic relationships between coaches and athletes, regardless of age. The change was designed to address the numerous known examples of adult coaches who mentor girls from an early age, prey on their psychological dependency, then take up with the swimmers as sex partners or spouses as soon as the threshold of legal consent is crossed.
The Rules and Regulations Committee had recommended the change, but the full House of Delegates nixed it.
Leading up to the vote, the Associated Press distributed a USA Swimming flack sheet on the glorious triumphs of the “safe sport” program. And America’s voices of sports journalism dutifully ran with it. These included ESPN and The Washington Post. Two years ago ESPN’s Outside the Lines followed ABC’s 20/20 in reporting in-depth on the widespread molestation of girls by coaches in the feeder youth clubs of one of our most popular Olympic sports. Neither ESPN nor ABC has done any kind of follow-up.
Two months ago The Post published the agreement by which prominent coach Rick Curl, in return for $150,000, got the family of his swimmer Kelley Davies to stay quiet about his rapes of her in her early teens. USA Swimming’s non-emergency emergency board of review hearing on the Curl matter, postponed until after the London Olympics and then after the national convention, takes place Wednesday.
Wanna take a bet on whether AP, ESPN.com, and The Post give the Curl hearing as much space as “Highlights of USA Swimming’s inaugural safe sex status report”?