An arbitration hearing held yesterday to decide the fate of Ken Stopkotte was cancelled as the result of a settlement he reached with both USA-Swimming and Indiana Swimming. The accusation of Stopkotte falsifying times has been one of the hottest stories in swimming over the past few days.
The Cliff’s Notes are that Stopkotte, the former head coach at a highly regarded club in Indiana, is believed to have inserted or changed up to 180 times from meets hosted by his club, the Fishers Area Swim Tigers, in February. He is also accused of counting 31 disqualified swims as legal swims, and entering the results as such.
Possible punishments that were tossed around included a lifetime ban.
The settlement that Stopkotte and his lawyer Ed Williams reached included a 2-year ban on membership in USA-Swimming, a 5-year ban on membership in Indiana Swimming, and undisclosed financial penalties.
Also as a part of the agreement, Stopkotte accepted full blame for his actions, despite previous statements he had made to the press, and retracted statements that his involvement with investigations against USA Swimming was a factor in the accusations and prosecution.
F.A.S.T. has also reached a separate agreement with Indiana Swimming. They faced punishment of a ban on hosting meets, however were able to down to financial penalties and mandatory workshops for team leadership. This punishment focused on keeping Indiana Swimming from having to bear the brunt of the financial burden of the issue and reinforcing the values of leadership and integrity in sports.
A press release by Indiana Swimming indicates that never before has there been a case of falsifying times to this magnitude.
A few days prior to the settlement, Stopkotte resigned from his position at both F.A.S.T. and Fishers High School to try and deflect blame from the club. Accordingly, F.A.S.T. hired their own attorney to handle the case on their side. The two cases were settled separately.
We’ve got some good discussion going on how offensive this act truly was. Click here and scroll down to the comments to join in!
Below is the full press release from Indiana Swimming, unedited.
Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Swimming has reached settlement agreements with Ken Stopkotte, FAST Head Coach, and the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers (FAST) as it relates to multiple Code of Conduct violations. The violations were outlined in a Complaint filed back on March 22, 2010 with the Indiana Swimming Board of Review as outlined in the organization’s bylaws. The complaint documented 180 swim times that had allegedly been altered or inserted into the final results of three meets held by FAST in February 2010. This included the submission of thirtyone (31) disqualified swims as legal swims. To the best of Indiana Swimming’s and USA Swimming’s knowledge, there have never been any violations of this type or magnitude involving final results of swim meets. The investigation into the complaint began on March 1st as the result of a phone call to the Indiana Swimming office questioning some duplicate swims in the USA Swimming database.
Indiana Swimming sought an immediate suspension of Coach Stopkotte back in March, but the suspension was not awarded at that time. Over the last five months, Coach Stopkotte has denied any wrong doing and instead claimed that the Complaint was a retaliatory action for Stopkotte speaking out against USA Swimming and Indiana Swimming in another legal matter. Stopkotte and his attorney Ed Williams got the matter moved out of the Indiana Swimming Board of Review process and into AAA Arbitration as defined by the USOC. Arbitration was set for Monday, August 30th in Indianapolis. Prior to the arbitration hearing, Indiana Swimming via its attorney, Tom Schultz, reached separate agreements with both Ken Stopkotte and FAST.
The agreement with Ken Stopkotte involves him admitting he was the person solely responsible for the fraud, deception and dishonesty as it relates to the swim times. Stopkotte has also admitted that despite his previous statements to the press, the Indiana Swimming investigation which resulted in the complaint was in no way retaliatory for any of Stopkotte’s other statements or actions regarding Indiana Swimming or USA Swimming. The agreed upon penalties for
Stopkotte are a two-year ban from USA Swimming membership, a five-year ban from Indiana Swimming and undisclosed financial penalties.
The agreement with FAST involves a financial penalty as the club holding the sanctions for the meets in question. FAST has also agreed to work with Indiana Swimming to try and prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. FAST Board members will attend Indiana Swimming workshops on Swim Club Leadership and Governance as well as their meet personnel attending workshops on Meet Management. FAST will not be able to host any sanctioned meets until the meet management workshop has been completed. It is anticipated that FAST meet personnel will have completed the meet management workshop prior to their October Invitational scheduled to be held at Fishers High School.
Indiana Swimming is pleased to come to an agreement with both parties in this complaint so that the swimming community can move forward. The financial penalties involved were important to Indiana Swimming to ensure that the members of Indiana Swimming did not bear the burden of adjudicating this valid complaint. It is unfortunate that Stopkotte chose to deceive not only Indiana Swimming and its member swimmers but also his own swimmers and parents.
Even though Indiana Swimming sent the Complaint to both Stopkotte and FAST back in March, it became apparent only in the last week that Stopkotte hid from the FAST Board the true nature of the charges and the financial penalties involved. At that point FAST engaged their own attorney and began discussions with Indiana Swimming to try and resolve the matter separate from Stopkotte. Indiana Swimming looks forward to working with FAST to help the club continue to serve the Fishers, Hamilton County and Indiana swimming communities.