Open Letter to Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie: Answer the Questions Surrounding USA Swimming’s $23,000 Grant Via the American Swimming Coaches Association

More on Joel ‘No Big Deal’ Stager’s ‘Independent’ Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming
October 16, 2014
USA Swimming Sports Medicine/Science Committee, Where Indiana Researcher Serves, Meets About As Often As the Safe Sport Committee – Somewhere Between Rarely And Never
October 20, 2014



Questions Surround $23,000 Grant to American Swimming Coaches Association From USA Swimming’s Wielgus


More on Joel ‘No Big Deal’ Stager’s ‘Independent’ Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming


Mr. Michael A. McRobbie


Indiana University


Dear President McRobbie:

This advance text of our open letter is being copied to the university people with whom I have corresponded over the last several days, as well as to your communications staff. We will publish this at our site,, at the end of business today. Our coverage, today and moving forward, will reflect whatever response we receive, either by then or later.

I am a California-based book author and journalist. With New York writer Tim Joyce, I cover the sexual abuse scandals in USA Swimming – now the focus of federal government investigations.

Questions have arisen concerning a recent $23,000 grant from USA Swimming to Indiana University ’s Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming. The questions are narrative in nature: they involve the documented role of the American Swimming Coaches Association as an apparent third-party broker or go-between for the grant.

Counsilman Center director Joel Stager responded to our questions incoherently and, to be blunt, none too professionally.

I then contacted Shelley Bizila, your research compliance officer.

Today I received a public information request form from a university paralegal.

Mr. McRobbie, I am fully familiar with public records law. I have filed such requests in half a dozen states, and successfully litigated disputes over them in two states. I will complete and return your form. Heads up: We will be requesting copies of every successful Counsilman Center grant application since 2003.

In the meantime, I return to the immediate, unanswered narrative questions, which have nothing to do with public records law and everything to do with Indiana University ’s duty to be open and transparent in relation to breaking news events. What is your response to the obvious interpretation of the published August email by American Swimming Coaches Association executive director John Leonard? To be clear, the obvious interpretation is the following:

– The Counsilman Center did not “independently” develop this research study. The study had at least one political agenda, and likely more than one, and Director Stager was solicited to give them “objective and scientific” cover.

– Most disturbingly, one of the agendas appears to be that of the executive director of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus, in currying favor with the American Swimming Coaches Association at a moment when he has been disgraced by a rescinded International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction — after a petition by coach sexual abuse victims exposed the sport’s cover-ups of this problem and intensified the interest of Congressional and FBI investigators.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.


Irvin Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick