A report from Congress created after a yearlong investigation into the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and its national governing bodies showed “a number of breakdowns and failures in the system to protect athletes.”
The 132-page report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee is a broad look at the USOC and its 48 national governing bodies. The yearlong, bipartisan investigation showed a number of failures within the system, most notably a prioritization of “reputation and image” over athlete safety and the USOC’s uncertainty as to whether it had authority over the national governing bodies.
The report is broader than the Ropes & Gray report earlier this month. The Ropes & Gray investigation was carried out by a law firm hired by the USOC, and focused specifically on the USOC’s and USA Gymnastics’ actions during the Larry Nassar That report led to the firing of USOC chief of sport performance scandal. Alan Ashley.
This new report and investigation, carried out by Congress, looked at national governing bodies in all sports, and came with a number of recommendations to put all national governing bodies on the same athlete safety playing field. Recommendations include:
- USOC, national governing bodies and the U.S. Center for SafeSport shouldn’t consider reputation when investigating or punishing members.
- All national governing bodies should have a consistent definition of “covered individual.”
- The USOC should develop a database to allow national governing bodies to share information on coaches who don’t pass background checks.
- All national governing bodies should keep publicly posted banned lists, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport should compile “historical bans and suspensions” in its database. Currently, the Center’s database only includes bans after March 2017, when the Center was established.
- The USOC should find other options for sanctioning national governing bodies other than decertifying or defunding them, as the USOC is currently doing to USA Gymnastics. The report says decertification or defunding can directly impact athletes.
You can read the full report here. The House Committee’s press release is here.