In a letter addressed directly to the Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics (USAG), Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), states that the USOC Board of Directors have specific steps that USAG must complete if USAG expects to maintain their national governing body status over gymnastics in the United States.
These six steps include:
- All current members of the USAG board of directors must resign
- An interim board must be seated, consistent with USAG’s current bylaws. Athlete representatives on this new board must be selected by athlete constituent groups as contemplated in the USAG bylaws, and may include
athletes who have resigned from the USAG board under 1, above. No other USAG board member who has resigned in number 1 above may be included in the newly configured board.
- Within the next 12 months, new board members must be seated to replace interim directors, consistent with USAG’s current bylaws and the nominating processes of constituent bodies. The requirement as to resigned board members in 1 above applies here as well.
- During at least the next 12 months:
- A USOC-designated liaison must be invited to attend each USAG board meeting
- At each USAG board meeting, the board must substantively discuss progress and plans for continued implementation of the findings in the Daniels Report
- After each USAG board meeting, USAG must report such progress and plans to the USOC board
- The USAG Chair and CEO must attend at least one USOC board meeting during the first six months to discuss these and other issues
- USAG must cooperate with an independent investigation of exactly who knew and who should have known of USAG athlete reports of abuse by Dr. Nassar (and when) and did not report these allegations appropriately, and of what systemic failures may have contributed to these failures to
- Within three months, USAG must confirm that all staff and board members have completed SafeSport training offered by the US Center for Safe Sport
- Within six months, USAG must confirm that all staff and board members have completed a comprehensive ethics training unit
In the letter, Blackmun states, “If USAG cannot or does not achieve steps 1 through 6 above promptly and clearly, the
USOC will have no choice but to pursue termination of USAG’s NGB status.”
Blackmun continues to explain that all steps must be completed in a timely manner in order to avoid immediate termination of governing body status.
Two of the six steps have specific completion deadlines.
Step 1, All current members of the USAG board of directors must resign, must be completed by January 31, 2018.
And Step 2, An interim board must be seated, consistent with USAG’s current bylaws. Athlete representatives on this new board must be selected by athlete constituent groups as contemplated in the USAG bylaws, and may include athletes who have resigned from the USAG board under 1, above. No other USAG board member who has resigned in number 1 above may be included in the newly configured board., must be completed by February 28, 2016.
The USOC has offered to assist USAG in the following ways:
- USOC and/or external resources to assist with the board search and seating process and board transition
- Assistance with access to SafeSport and ethics training as needed
- Assistance with developing improved ombuds or other avenues for athlete feedback and input
- Assistance with driving implementation of the Daniels Report findings down into the larger USAG organization (clubs, etc.)
- Full cooperation in the independent investigation in 3.e above
- General assistance to Ms. Perry and the new USAG Board Chair as appropriate
“Please understand that the circumstances that led to this crisis demand our attention and intervention. Our common focus and motivation needs to be athlete support and protection. These steps are intended to help USAG create a culture that protects and supports its athletes in the way I know we all want to do. USAG has shown resolve in its work on addressing its current issues. The USOC stands ready to help USAG further this job.” states Blackmun.
The full USOC letter can be read here or by clicking on image below.
USA Gymnastics released the following statement in regards to the USOC letter;
“USA Gymnastics completely embraces the requirements outlined in the Jan. 25, 2017 letter from the United States Olympic Committee and appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs. We understand that the requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being. Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear.