Arizona State Releases Statement on Bob Bowman Text Messages

Arizona State University, the primary employer of coach Bob Bowman, has released a statement regarding a series of text messages sent from his phone to Olympic swimmer Caroline Burckle in 2011. The texts, which have not been published, are reported to have been “inappropriate and suggestive,” according to a letter from then-USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. In an interview with the OC Register last week, Burckle described the texts as “disturbing.”

In their statement, Arizona State says that they first learned of the incident last week when they received a press inquiry, and said that at the time of Bowman’s hiring, that Busch, who wrote the letter of admonishment to Bowman in 2011, “highly recommended Mr. Bowman to ASU.”

After that inquiry was received, but before Arizona State responded (at least to SwimSwam’s inquiry), indicate that Bowman was interviewed by Ray Anderson, the school’s vice President of Athletics, and that Bowman confirmed that he was involved with the text messages. The statement says that Mr. Anderson “communicated to Mr. Bowman that the text message exchange was inappropriate and unprofessional and that no such incidents will be tolerated at ASU.”

Bowman as named the head swimming coach of Arizona State in April of 2016. In his two seasons with the school, the Arizona State men have finished 4th out of 6 teams twice, while the women’s team finished 6th and 3rd in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Arizona State’s Full Statement

Arizona State University learned through a press inquiry on July 19 of a complaint made to USA Swimming in 2011 regarding a text message exchange between the complainant and Bob Bowman when Mr. Bowman held a position with that organization.

ASU was not aware of this complaint at the time of Mr. Bowman’s hiring in 2015. In fact, in discussions with USA Swimming about the possibility of hiring Mr. Bowman, then USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch highly recommended Mr. Bowman to ASU.

Upon receipt of the press inquiry, ASU’s Vice President of Athletics, Ray Anderson, initiated a review of the matter including an interview with Mr. Bowman in which he confirmed his involvement with the text message exchange. Mr. Bowman also stated that he apologized to the complainant for the text message exchange in the presence of his supervisor, Mr. Busch. The review of this matter also indicates that ASU has not received any allegations of misconduct from ASU students, faculty or staff, or non-ASU affiliated individuals related to Mr. Bowman.

In a letter to Mr. Bowman, Mr. Anderson has communicated to Mr. Bowman that the text message exchange was inappropriate and unprofessional and that no such incidents will be tolerated at ASU. Mr. Anderson has also reminded Mr. Bowman of the standards of behavior expected of him and all ASU employees.

ASU strongly encourages anyone in the university community who has concerns about interactions with any faculty, staff or students to report those concerns to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the Office of Equity and Inclusion or to the ASU Hotline.

47
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

47 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
aviatorfly
4 years ago

Not a fan of his ego, but I support him staying at ASU assuming he has done nothing wrong there.

Own It, Bob
4 years ago

I will no longer be in the stands supporting ASU athletics as an alumnus until Bob is fired for his misconduct.

If you feel similarly, please note that he works for a public institution for a base salary of $220,000 a year and can be reached directly at [email protected] or 410-302-7370 to explain why he thinks a record of sexual harassment is acceptable for college employees. Feel free to return copies of “The Golden Rules” c/o Bob Bowman to Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, 601 S. College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287-2505.

His supervisor, Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson, can be reached at [email protected] or 480-965-9911.

Commenting isn’t enough. Remember: Bob’s power is silence.

rockinit
Reply to  Own It, Bob
4 years ago

Has ASU AD Ray Anderson sent out a communication to the ASU athletes and parents explaining or supporting Bowman’s behavior and what they will be doing about it and or why they are continuing to employ him. If I were an ASU parent, I would be very very concerned.
Also, does the NCAA allow transfers due to this coach’s behavior? I mean, how do incoming freshman parents deal with this mess?

Swimming Fan
Reply to  Own It, Bob
4 years ago

Wow! You have incomplete facts and context about what exactly occurred, what was said and what was done; yet, you want to want to immediately fire him. Might it also be appropriate to know whether or not there have been any complaints of sexual harassment while he has been at ASU?

Of course, you also realize that legally you would likely be firing him “without cause” so ASU would have to honor his employment contract, assuming that he has one (which I suspect that he does)? I doubt that there is anything in his contract that says it is a breach of that contract to have done something before he was employed at ASU so exactly what “misconduct” would… Read more »

OwnItBob
Reply to  Swimming Fan
4 years ago

I am not a lawyer, but I can make my own personal protest. It’s not a vandetta; it’s a response to documented wrongdoing.

I do not believe that a record of sexual harassment is acceptable for anyone employed at a public institution; especially when it comes to working with students.

Swimming Fan
Reply to  OwnItBob
4 years ago

Pre-employment behavior and you don’t appear to know what was texted or said, nor anything about what may have transpired prior to or after the communications, including what transpired afterwards between Bowman, Burckle and Busch. I don’t know either, but it certainly strikes me as extreme for people to demanding that he be fired based upon a few sketchy articles.

OldSwimmer
Reply to  Swimming Fan
4 years ago

Ok, if it seems extreme to you than what would be the appropriate course of action here? I believe that there has to be a deliberate line in the sand type of action here, if you want change and to protect the athletes.

Krista Hartmann
4 years ago

All these folks who are philosophizing about how no one is without flaws…exactly where is your line in the sand? When it happens to YOUR kid?
What’s next…”forgiveness” for Brock Turner, the ‘stud’ swimmer from Stanford? After all, he spent 45 days in jail for raping an unconcious woman…he’s been rehabbed’ & is a registered sex offender…ASU should do the ‘right’ thing & offer him another chance.
The ‘girls’ can always report him to the Kampus Kops should he want to ‘scratch an itch’…harsh language in a letter will take care of that.

aviatorfly
Reply to  Krista Hartmann
4 years ago

Sorry, but comparing this situation to that of a convicted rapist is ridiculous hyperbole and false equivalency.

SwimmerOH
4 years ago

I don’t know how many people realize that Caroline Burckle was 25 at the time. She wasn’t a child/minor and she wasn’t training under Bowman. No one is perfect and a single man that has never been married shouldn’t try to date a swimmer, but seriously, if they are only connected because she was on the National team and he was a National team coach, there have been many relationships in spoets and academics of people getting married. This one just didn’t work out. I am a little tired of this holier than thou culture that we have become. I understand that there are predators, but at what age are people allowed to push the boundaries and not have it… Read more »

James
Reply to  SwimmerOH
4 years ago

Perhaps Bob just got himself caught up in a stupid night of drunk texting, I don’t know those specific details and it doesn’t excuse the behavior. But the fact of the matter was that until very recently before that time, Caroline Burckle had been a National Team member at times directly under the leadership/mentorship etc of both these coaches. The fact that she was 25 might have some impact on the legality of the situation, but it does not excuse the unethical nature of this type of communication.

Snarky
Reply to  James
4 years ago

I guess she accepted Bob Bowman’s apology until Bob Allard came a callin’.

OLDBALDIMER
Reply to  SwimmerOH
4 years ago

UGH! comments like this drive me nuts! I have no idea what actually transpired with the texts as none of us have seen them, but USA swimming said they were “not good” and he was made to apologize. You have to realize Bob as a National and Olympic coach holds immense power and Caroline’s brother was on the National team at this time. This was stupid and predatory behavior on Bob’s and Sean’s part. Fortunately Caroline did the right thing and reported it to USA swimming (we can argue if USA swimming. did the right thing or not..IMO they did not and as they have in the past seem to bury these things) For a man with that kind of… Read more »

DLSwim
Reply to  OLDBALDIMER
4 years ago

Perhaps it was predatory on Bowman’s part, but to prove that you have to demonstrate intent. We haven’t even seen the texts, so this is hard to judge. I’m not referring here to Hutchinson, who does have a track record.

OLDBALDIMER
Reply to  DLSwim
4 years ago

DL…I can tell you as a former Fortune 50 executive that ran a 1B business group….my code of conduct was fair and also very specific on what was not acceptable behavior. This included my behavior at work and also personal time behavior, the company made that clear that it would not matter if I broke the code of conduct at work or at home. Had I done something like this it would not have even been a 2nd thought from my Boss and I would have been fired on the spot! I am not saying Bob should be fired but what I am upset about is both Bowman and USA swimming sweeping this type of behavior under the rug and… Read more »

Steve Schaffer
Reply to  SwimmerOH
4 years ago

It’s pretty simple. If the boundary you are wanting to push is one of sexual harassment, which includes sending unwanted, unsolicited lascivious messages, then there is no age where that is acceptable behavior.

Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

Lot of condemning comments. Question: has Bowman actually been convicted of anything? Where’s the due process? Are Twitter and other social media US Swimming’s new HR department?

The big point
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

Moral indecency is not a crime, but still unacceptable in our society. He has admitted guilt of the latter, therefore the prior is not the issue here.

So, in your mind, ONLY a convicted person is guilty and punishable? Nice world you live in, glad I don’t.

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  The big point
4 years ago

In my years (I’m older than 35), I’ve noticed that people occasionally say stupid things. If they’re fortunate, they’ll earnestly apologize and have their apologies accepted. Before unleashing the outrage mob, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to cut people some slack.

The big point
Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

I’ll see your 35 and raise a 25. This was multiple inappropriate texts and an inappropriate voicemail over the course of a night……Seriously, a 45 year old man leaving a sexually inappropriate voicemail on a 24 year old woman’s phone…who cares about their past “professional” relationship…this is so wrong.

He didn’t say a stupid thing, he sent multiple sexually inappropriate text messages, which requires composing them and hitting a “send” button, they don’t slip off your fingers. And a phone call that results in a sexually inappropriate voicemail! What was he going to say if she answered??? These aren’t slips of the tongue or saying a stupid thing.

M C
4 years ago

ASU would appear to be extremely frustrated with Frank Busch and rightfully so. I wonder if they specifically asked him if he was aware of any complaints of misconduct against Bob Bowman during his recommendation. Would seem like a logical question to ask of someone’s reference. At some point, Busch is really going to have to explain himself. How on earth do you provide a reference for someone to coach young men and women and completely omit that kind of information in good conscience?

The big point
Reply to  M C
4 years ago

BINGO! SPOT ON! How does a Director write a letter of reprimand to an employee such as the one published, and it not become a “permanent” item in the employee’s file, to be referred to in the future instances.

Yeah, there was 3-4 years between this incident and his hiring at ASU, however, ASU deserved to know of it, if they specifically contacted Busch for a recommendation/reference. Then they either drop the candidate, or provide him the opportunity to explain himself. That in itself provides ASU the chance to witness first hand whether there is “true remorse” on the candidate’s part, and witness his “demeanor” while addressing the situation to decide if they are “comfortable” with this being an isolated… Read more »

Dude36
Reply to  The big point
4 years ago

Frank Bush is culpable and responsible for Hutcheson, Bowman and Dahmer!!!

Coach
Reply to  M C
4 years ago

He shared tap water with Pat Hogan?

Superfan
Reply to  M C
4 years ago

He recommended his son and we know that was a biased untrue recommendation. His son has issues and should have told administrators exactly that!

Steve wildon
4 years ago

Transparency can solve many questions. Timing? Content of texts? And intent?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »