USA Swimming Publishes SafeSport Investigation Process Flow Chart

In an effort to add more transparency to its process regarding the banning of coaches who violate its code of conduct, both for sexual abuse and for other matters, USA Swimming Director of Safe Sport Susan Woessner has released a new document that lays out a flow chart for the complaint process.

Although much of this information was already available, the new format makes it much easier to read and understand for the general public.

See the flow chart here.

Among the key details are:

  • an “emergency hearing”to secure a temporary suspension is called when the complaint involves an arrest of a member in violation of part 304.3.6 (under 2013 code of conduct numbering) that reads:” Conviction of, imposition of a deferred sentence for, or any plea of guilty or no contest at any time, past or present, or the existence of any pending charges, for (i) any felony, (ii) any offense involving use, possession, distribution or intent to distribute illegal drugs or sub-stances, (iii) any crime involving sexual misconduct, or (iv) any criminal offense against a minor.”
  • After gathering information and referring to law enforcement, as appropriate, and determining that a violation is possible, the first two steps are to “report to outside legal counsel” and “initiate formal investigation by outside investigator.” This means that other than preliminary information gathering to determine a possible violation, most of the investigation is done outside of USA Swimming.
  • The investigative report is reviewed by USA Swimming before deciding whether to submit a petition to the National Board of Review chair to request a hearing.
  • The National Board of Review chair can choose to grant the request for a hearing, or not.
  • Hearing before the National Board of Review happens no fewer than 45 and no greater than 60 days after it is granted.
  • A note is on the chart that “Every complaint is different and may deviate from this process based on the circumstances of the situation.”

There are still some fuzzy areas of the process, including who exactly is subject to this process and where the checks and balances are within the system (there are several instances in the flow chart where small groups, or individuals, can derail the process-there’s no specific mention of checks on those groups or individuals, though that doesn’t mean there isn’t any), but with the help of Ceci Christy, we will continue to work with USA Swimming to inform the swimming community of what exactly happens with these complaints and what all is being done to clean up the sport.

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10 years ago

Any other NHL ice hockey fans out there? Because this reminds me of the old ‘Colin Campbell’s top secret suspensions flow chart’. (humor site link)

Reply to  beachmouse
10 years ago

So true – thanks for the laugh.

10 years ago

In other words: The investigative part can take years before the decision is made as to whether or not the National Board of Review grants the request for a hearing.

I agree with Nicole – social media has played a huge part in holding USA Swimming accountable.

10 years ago

In other words: The investigative part can take years before the decision is made as to whether or not the National Board of Review grants the request for a hearing.

10 years ago

Well, the rules are nice but it takes more than that. This sport was built on the structure of only including people of a certain race and income so it was considered safe just like hockey. It held the idea that only bad people existed in urban based sports. The society that paid for this sport manifested the problem by denying that it even existed because everything was swept under the rug. Without social media, this wouldn’t be out either. It also refused to believe that it was capable of doping, but that turned out to be false also. It’s light years behind other sports that will fire a coach on impact. The urban neighborhood is not the only place… Read more »

Chest Rockwell
Reply to  Nicole
10 years ago

I believe you are trying to insinuate there is a vast conspiracy by hundreds of organizations and thousands of people to exclude minorities from participating in two sports because they all believe bad people only come in dark skinned models? Are you serious?

Lets just start with the fact that hockey is far more expensive than swimming in almost every way. You think paying $800 for a suit was bad? Just top end skates cost $800. The stick can be another $200-$300, and that just scratches the surface. It wasn’t priced out to be exclusionary, the equipment is expensive even at the low ends. And that doesn’t even start to talk about non-parent run organizations that can cost $10,000 a… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of 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, …

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