A bill set to be introduced in the United States Senate calls for major reforms to Olympic and sporting governing bodies, including increased legal liability, more athlete representation and more mandated funding to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
The Washington Post reports that the bill came out of a Senate Commerce subcommittee, which found that the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics “knowingly concealed abuse by Larry Nassar, leading to the abuse of dozens of additional amateur athletes from summer 2015 to September 2016.”
The Congressional panel was led by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who now say they plan to introduce a bill today calling for sweeping reform to both the U.S. Olympic Committee (recently rebranded as the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, or USOPC) and the 47 sport-specific governing bodies like USA Swimming.
Per The Post and USA Today, the bill would focus on three specific areas:
Increasing legal liablity for USOPC & NGBs
The bill would increase legal liability against the USOPC and national governing bodies like USA Swimming. It would require the USOPC to keep a public list of banned coaches (though that is already being done by the U.S. Center for SafeSport), and would give Congress sweeping power to decertify national governing bodies or even dissolve the USOPC board of directors in the future. The USOPC would also have to review its national governing bodies every four years.
Increasing athlete representation in governance
The bill would increase athlete representation on both the USOPC board and in NGBs like USA Swimming from one-fifth (20%) to one-third (33.3%).
Mandating more funding for & limiting interference on U.S. Center for SafeSport
The bill would mandate that the USOPC provide $20 million a year in funding to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which investigates complaints of athlete abuse, hands down sanctions and keeps a public database of banned individuals across all sports. The bill would also prohibit employees of the USOPC or sport-specific national governing bodies from serving at the Center in an attempt to root out conflicts of interest or interference in investigations.