Concussion Inc. has asked Indiana University to produce the records of all successful grant applications over the last decade for its Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming. Today a university deputy general counsel, Joseph M. Scodro, promised “an update on the progress of our response by November 3.”
We’ve been reporting how the director of the Counsilman Center, Joel Stager, secured a $23,000 grant – either from USA Swimming or from the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), via USA Swimming – for a murky research project.
The study was hatched just as ASCA was putting to bed a special issue in tribute to USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus – whose organization is under federal investigation and who had just relinquished his induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame because of a public protest petition, signed by thousands and led by victims of swim coach sexual abuse.
In an August email, ASCA boss John Leonard praised Wielgus to the skies – just as Leonard did in the introduction to the magazine tribute – and said Wielgus was “fast-tracking” the $23,000 for Stager’s study. And the ASCA point person for the project, Texas coach George Block, was also the author of the Wielgus magazine hagiography.
Stager, who calls his university center “independent,” is a member of USA Swimming’s Sports Medicine/Science Committee. But public records show that this committee has never met; or, if it did meet, it never published minutes.
Not that that makes the Sports Medicine/Science Committee much different than other USA Swimming committees. Swimming promotes its Safe Sport program, started in 2010, and U.S. Olympic Committee chief Scott Blackmun extols is as the model for all national sport governing bodies. (Though not so much of a model that it is keeping the USOC, feeling the heat of the feds, from announcing a new-and-improved – and of course “independent” – $20 million sexual abuse investigative agency.)
But Safe Sport is almost entirely the operation of staff and consultants, the latter being especially of the public relations variety. The Safe Sport Committee has published minutes of only four meetings, all in 2013.
More later on the curiously inactive Safe Sport Committee. For now, I’ll be trying to conduct Stager’s colleagues on the Sports Medicine/Science Committee (listed below). Government investigators might be interested in talking with them, too.
Scott Rodeo, chair
Amy Stromwall Beacom
Stacy Michael-Miller, staff liaison