This morning Tim Joyce reported for Baltimore’s WBAL Radio that Dia Rianda – prominent California coach and founding member of the USA Swimming Foundation – has sued her ex-boss, Hall of Fame and Olympic coach Mark Schubert, over his firing her for persisting to report and inquire about sex abuse allegations and their adjudication.
Immediately, fresh news accounts jumped anew on the story of USA Swimming’s generation-long cover-up of Catholic priest-level evidence of the molestation of girls in the competitive sport’s official national youth program – with angles including the Schubert suit and the upcoming Rick Curl board of review hearing on Wednesday.
(Uh, just kidding. But to be fair, National Public Radio today is all over “Short Track Speedskating Coach Put On Leave Amid Abuse Allegations.”)
The reason the Rianda lawsuit is dynamite is that it is a window into the inside politics of Big Swimming. That is something major media are much more comfortable covering – the moving and shaking and backstabbing of the people at the top. On the fact that many of America’s kids are being messed with and scarred for life under the aegis of a national open amateur sport governing body, and the leadership is criminally lying about it – well, we all know there isn’t enough proof to go there.
According to Rianda’s complaint (which I hope to be posting shortly), Amy Shipley, then of The Washington Post, ran innuendo about Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team (FAST) coach Sean Hutchison, which was leaked to her by Schubert. As the Tim Joyce article explains, this was all part of a struggle for control of USA Swimming’s new elite training academies.
Hutchison came up in my pre-Olympic and pre-Rick Curl article on the continuing sex abuse cover-up at USA Swimming. When contacted by me in July, Hutchison began with saber-rattling about being defamed by the question, and concluded with a bland statement about his departure from FAST, after only one year, to devote more time to a tech start-up company.
The Rianda suit reinforces the sense that there’s a bigger back story. It allegedly includes photos of inappropriate behavior with swimmers, which Schubert – the U.S. Olympic swimming team emperor who got deposed by the Colorado Springs authorities before the 2012 Games – kept under wraps for his own intrigue, convenience, and ultimately six-figure contract settlement.
Let’s close this installment with a friendly reminder. Here is what USA Swimming board member David Berkoff said in 2010:
“Denying knowledge of Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s.… I was told Rick Curl was molesting Kelly Davies for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys.…”
And here is what USA Swimming’s laughingstock of an “athlete protection officer,” Susan Woessner, told the Associated Press late last week:
Members “know the complaints and sanctioning process works efficiently and effectively.”
And finally, here is how the USA Swimming House of Delegates disposed Saturday of a recommendation, reported out by the Rules Committee, to expand the definition of banned sexual relationships between coaches and athletes:
They rejected it.