Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Confirms That Investigation of University of Utah’s Management of Greg Winslow Complaints Remains Open

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by Irvin Muchnick

 

In some quarters, the University of Utah is seen as having closed the matter of monster swim coach Greg Winslow with textbook alacrity.

First, the Utes ran down the clock and imposed unacceptable ground rules on potential witnesses so that many opted not to participate. This allowed the university to frame its report on the most favorable terms to it, and to turn the report itself into a referendum only on the athletic department’s tardy response to Winslow’s alcoholism.

Next, they dumped their no-so-independent report by fixer deluxe Mike Glazier over the Fourth of July. Now, presumably, everyone proceeds to forget all about it, because swimming is just swimming and because the contemporary public attention span can’t even be measured with a stopwatch.

Two factors, however, militate against such an overly tidy resolution. One is the status of possible civil lawsuits by families of Utah swimmers who were physically and/or mentally abused by Winslow. All of their complaints fell on deaf ears prior to the commissioning of the university’s dependent-independent investigation of its previously fraudulent dependent-dependent investigation. I have no special information on the status of the claims by these families, some of whom have scattered for summer vacation and to evaluate their options. I only know that these claims, if pressed, have both great validity and great potential for inflicting further reputational harm on Utah, beyond the hit already taken in the modified limited hangout of athletic director Chris Hill and higher-ups.

The other factor is an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Last month Concussion Inc. reported exclusively that this investigation was officially launched in May at the behest of Matt Fiascone, father of whistleblower former Utah swimmer Austin Fiascone.

Today DOE spokesman Jim Bradshaw confirmed that the Utah probe is ongoing. The department’s complaint procedures are published at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintprocess.html.

On June 3, University of Utah spokesman Keith Sterling told me that it would be inappropriate to comment on the DOE investigation because “the independent [Glazier] investigation is still underway.” Now that the “independent investigation” has concluded, I’ll check back with Sterling to see if he has further comment on the DOE.

P.S. … Sterling: “The university will cooperate fully in this inquiry and provide requested materials to the appropriate officials.”

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