USA Swimming is telling journalists that fired University of Utah swim coach Greg Winslow — on the cusp of indictment for earlier sexual abuse of a minor at Sun Devil Aquatics on the Arizona State University campus — cannot have an official National Board of Review hearing on the charges, which would lead to his addition to the banned-for-life list, because he is not a “current” member of USA Swimming.
Regardless of Winslow’s current status with USA Swimming (and, excuse me, he’s probably now only a certified member of the American Swimming Coaches Association, whose chief John Leonard has assured me does not deal “directly with children, nor is that part of our purpose in any way, shape or form”), Winslow was a member at the time the sex crime is alleged to have occurred.
But as with every other effort to locate responsibility, our national sport governing body, as authorized under the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, just makes up the rules as it goes along.
Today there’s a new story about the banning of a pervert coach in Massachusetts named Erick Lans. See http://swimswam.com/erick-lans-added-to-usa-swimming-banned-for-life-list/.
USA Swimming safe sport director Susan Woessner provides this double-jointed explanation:
“In 2010, the USA Swimming Board of Directors approved a resolution that allowed the organization to bring National Board of Review hearings against non-members if they were members at the time of their Code of Conduct violation.
“Mr. Lans was last a member in 1998. He was convicted in 2001. He was not a member at the time he was convicted.
“We periodically conduct internal reviews of our files and last year during one such review, we reviewed two news articles covering Mr. Lans’ convictions. One of the articles cited Dec 1998 as the date of at least one of the incidents which coincided with Mr. Lans membership. As a result of the 2010 BOD resolution, we are now able to bring NBR action against a past member if the violation occurred while the individual was a member. We requested a hearing from the NBR and Mr. Lans was subsequently banned by decision of the National Board of Review.”
I offered SwimSwam, a semi-shill site, first crack at nailing the contradiction between the management of the Lans and Winslow cases, but didn’t hear back. Look for swim world apologists to proceed with their usual whisper campaign about how unscrupulous muckrakers are getting it wrong.
And Woessner, hapless PR specialist Karen Linhart, and other Colorado staffers under USA Swimming’s $800,000-a-year CEO, Chuck Wielgus, will tweak and contort some more. You see, Lans was convicted (12 years ago!); Winslow hasn’t yet been criminally charged.
The verbal trick here is sometimes to peg invoking the USA Swimming code of conduct to when the abuse occurred; other times, to when the claim arose. They always choose the one that skews the timeline most in their favor.