USA Swimming Hands Out 6-Month Suspension to Phelps; Two Sides Agree on Withdrawal From Worlds

A week after four-time Olympian Michael Phelps was arrested for DUI, USA Swimming has announced their punishment.

Citing a violation of Section 304.3.19 of the USA Swimming Code of Conduct, Phelps will be suspended from USA Swimming sanctioned competition for 6 months, he will withdrawal from the 2015 World Championships team, and forfeit the USA Swimming monthly stipend for 6-months.

Update: USA Swimming has clarified that Phelps’ withdrawal from the World Championships was something that “each (agreed)” to, and that he was not forcibly removed, per se.

He will be allowed to train with his club (NBAC at present), but won’t be allowed to compete through April 6th, 2015. If he comes back on that date, the first Grand Prix that he would be eligible for would be the April stop in Mesa. Coincidentally, that’s the meet at which he made his return to swimming last year.

Theoretically, Phelps could compete at a meet that was not USA Swimming sanctioned earlier. If his group elects to go that route, it would have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, as the rules on sanctions are complicated.

Phelps, even just 6 months into his comeback, had already returned to medal-contender status in at least the 100 fly, and would be in the conversation in the 200 IM as well.

“Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct. Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences,” USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said. “Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”

The rule that Phelps has been suspended under is the broad, catch-all rule that gives them wide disciplinary powers:

304.3.19 Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.

Phelps has a mid-November date set for his first legal proceedings on 5 counts in Maryland, where his BAC was reportedly .14, almost twice the legal limit, and he was clocked going 84 in a 45MPH speed zone.

Based on selection criteria, Phelps earned spots in the 100 free, 100 fly, and 200 IM individually for Kazan. Though official replacements were not announced, the next eligible swimmers in those races are Ryan Lochte in the 100 free, Tim Phillips in the 100 fly, and Tyler Clary in the 200 IM.

See the full press release from USA Swimming below:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Swimming announced today that, due to a violation of the organization’s Code of Conduct, Michael Phelps(Baltimore, Md.) will be suspended from USA Swimming-sanctioned competition for six months, withdraw from the 2015 FINA World Championships Team and forfeit his funding from the NGB for six months.

Phelps’ discipline is set forth under Section 304.3.19 of the 2014 Rule Book, which states “Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.”

As a result, USA Swimming has taken the following actions:

  • Six-Month Suspension from Competition. Phelps will be permitted to train with his member club, but shall be ineligible to participate in USA Swimming-sanctioned competitions through March 6, 2015.
  • Withdrawal from the 2015 World Championship Team. Phelps and USA Swimming each agree that Phelps will not represent the United States at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, from August 2-9.
  • Forfeiture of USA Swimming’s Monthly Stipend. The monthly payments from USA Swimming will be halted during the six-month suspension period.

“Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct. Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences,” USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said. “Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”

The measures were approved by the USA Swimming Executive Committee and take effect immediately.

In This Story

192
Leave a Reply

66 Comment threads
126 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
92 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
JP

Not to make light of the situation, but would this move anybody into his spots in events at Worlds? Like, Phillips in the 100 fly, or Clary into the 200 IM?

TheTroubleWithX

Just looking real quick at the roster SwimSwam worked up here: http://swimswam.com/2015-u-s-worlds-team-qualifiers-non-olympic-swimmers-qualify-pan-pacs/, it looks like….

~ Ryan Lochte into individual 100 free spot
~ Matt Grevers into 4×100 free relay spot
~ Tyler Clary into 200 IM spot
~ Tim Phillips into 100 fly spot

TheTroubleWithX

Actually, looking at the selection procedures a little more closely, I happened upon this… “(B) Filling Vacant Positions in 100m or 200m Freestyle with Team Vacancy. If a vacancy occurs in the 100m or 200m Freestyle individual Event, the next highest Available Swimmer already on the Team will compete in the individual Event, provided that he/she has satisfied the FINA “A” Time Standard (and the highest-finishing Available Swimmer has also met the FINA “A” standard) as well as any other applicable requirements set forth in these Selection Procedures, and no additional swimmer will be added to the Team. If the vacancy occurs due to the withdrawal of a relay-only swimmer, then a replacement will be selected according to the procedures… Read more »

no1swimfreak

Can someone explain to me why this is a different sanction than his two previous infractions?

SPRINTSWIM

USA Swimming has no business pulling him from worlds or suspending him. The US judicial system should be punishing Phelps… USA Swimming has gone over-board with being politically correct.

Annon

If the NFL and other major sports can suspend players for criminal actions so can USA Swimming. Phelps is the face of USA Swimming and if they let him get away with it they would look terrible.

Max

I completely agree.

ME

I suppose the sport of swimming has a right to establish a certain image for themselves.

Lando

completely agree. Granted he did sign the code of conduct, but swimming is phelps livelihood. He can’t swim, sponsors drop, etc. it’s complete crap that they banned him from swim. You don’t fire someone from work because they get a speeding ticket..

Cate

This was more than a speeding ticket. It was a DUI with 4 other counts in the charges. Plus it’s not the first one. I don’t know what kind of a job you have, but in many occupations you are responsible for what you do outside your workplace, and yes you can be suspended or fired. I am not sure what you mean by his livelihood. He is worth 40 million bucks. He isn’t going to be out on the street. He has responsibilities to his fans, his sport and his sponsors. His image is what his sponsors pay him for. It is part of his job. He is the face of swimming and he willingly took that on. I… Read more »

C'mon man

No, but people get fired for DUIs… His livelihood? The man’s worth $40 million.

beachmouse

Yeah. He’s probably spent more on a weekend of gambling out of his petty cash fund than what a rank and file national team member gets in stipend for a whole year.

Correction

Actually you CAN fire someone for that. For example, last month a man who gave a TV interview about a brawl the Palin family instigated at a party was fired less than one hour after it aired.

Bob

You’re an idiot.

Justin Thompson

Judging by your response I’m not sure you can’t say the same about yourself. Very thoughtful and articulate.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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 »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!