The American Swimming Coaches’ Association (ASCA), the most powerful educational and organizational body of swim coaches in the United States, has said that they will discuss later this year a policy on what to do about coaches that have been banned by USA Swimming.
The matter becomes relevant after USA Swimming announced a lifetime ban of high-profile coach Joe Bernal on Monday for violations of three sections of the organization’s Code of Conduct. The violations revolve around inappropriate sexual behavior, though the specific sections cited do not specify whether or not any such action was toward a minor.
Bernal was inducted into the ASCA Hall of Fame in its most recent class last fall along with 4 other coaches.
John Leonard, the Executive Director of ASCA, tells SwimSwam that “No policy exists” at present, but that the board will be discussing a policy at its next meeting in September.
“Due to this impetus, it’s on the Board agenda for a September discussion of what the policy should be (NOT the specific case, since only USA Swimming knows specifics.),” Lenoard said via email on Wednesday morning. “It will be discussed then, and either a policy will or will not be determined…It requires a face to face Board Discussion.”
The ASCA Board of Directors includes 15 coaches, among them some of the biggest names in American swimming. Mike Bottom, the head coach at the University of Michigan; Dave Marsh, the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s team head coach for 2016; Dave Salo, the head coach at USC; and Gregg Troy, the head coach at the University of Florida and the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s team head coach are all counted among a group that holds a lot of power and influence in the sport even beyond their positions with ASCA.
- See Also: the full ASCA Board of Directors here.
Done Heidary, the head coach of Orinda Aquatics in California, is the president of that board, and did not respond to a request for comment.
ASCA is not formally an arm of USA Swimming, though the two organizations are very closely linked.
Bernal is a former head coach of Harvard University and is well-known as the coach of Olympic swimming legends David Berkoff and Bobby Hackett. He is also the founder of the Bernal’s Gators Swim Club, which was sold and stripped of his name shortly before USA Swimming announced the ban of Bernal.