USOC statement regarding latest developments to Section 8 complaint against USA Gymnastics:
The following statement is attributable to USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland:
“As we’ve said before, this is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions. Seeking to revoke recognition is not a decision that the USOC came to easily, but we continue believe it is the right action. While there are important questions to answer as we move forward with this process, we are eager for the hearing panel to begin its work and for our board to come to a final determination.”
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Below is an open letter to the gymnastics community in the United States.
To all USAG gymnasts and the gymnastics community in the United States:
As you know, on Nov. 5, 2018, I filed a complaint under Section 8 of the United States Olympic Committee’s bylaws seeking to revoke USA Gymnastics’ recognition as the National Governing Body for gymnastics in the United States. The complaint also afforded USAG the option to voluntarily relinquish its recognition.
We received USAG’s response to our complaint on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. In that letter they did not choose to relinquish recognition as an NGB and instead asked a series of questions that relate to the matter and the Section 8 hearing process. Thus, in addition to working with USAG on their questions, we will ensure that the Section 8 process goes forward without delay.
As I described in my last note to you, the next step in the Section 8 process is for me to select an independent, three-person hearing panel with representatives from the USOC board of directors, the NGB Council and the Athletes’ Advisory Council. The panel will next review my complaint and USAG’s response, hold a hearing, create a report and recommendation for the full USOC board and then the board will take an action.
A formal timeframe is not described in our bylaws, so I don’t know exactly how long this process may take. At minimum, we expect it will take several weeks, perhaps a few months.
It is important to note that during this process – and per our bylaws – USAG will continue to operate as a fully recognized member NGB of the USOC. We are not shutting down USAG. Nor is the USOC taking over USAG. In the immediate term there are no changes for USAG members or clubs.
Upon conclusion of the process described above, should USAG lose recognition, its future would be decided by the USAG board of directors.
If USAG loses its recognition, the organization would essentially sever its affiliation with the Olympic Movement and as such, the USOC would, on an interim basis, assume control of USAG’s high-performance program. This would ensure that U.S. Olympic gymnasts have the support they need to excel on and off the field of play. As part of that oversight, the USOC would also be responsible for ensuring the fair selection of athletes and teams for so-called “protected competitions” (i.e. major international competitions that serve as qualifying events for the Olympic Games).
The USOC would remain in that role until a new or existing organization has been identified to assume the responsibility of serving as the recognized NGB for gymnastics. It will be the critically important responsibility of that organization to lead gymnastics in the United States and rebuild a supportive community of athletes and clubs that can carry the sport forward for decades to come. The USOC is prepared to identify and help build such a culture for current and future generations of American gymnasts.
Today is the next step in an important process. As I’ve said before, the path is not crystal clear, but our motives are – put simply, to ensure the NGB for gymnastics in the United States is the type of organization each gymnast and the coaches, trainers and club owners who support them, deserve.
Thank you for your continued support and patience, and know that I won’t rest until we’ve delivered that promise.
Finally, thank you for reaching out with your comments and questions. They have been very helpful to us and have shown us the vast differences in perspective and opinions. We have created a few questions and answers to help address questions that you have raised. We hope they are helpful and ask for you to continue to reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Chief Executive Officer