Wednesday, December 14, 2011
USOC finalizing sex abuse guidelines
Nearly 15 months after the U.S. Olympic Committee issued a report to help Olympic sports standardize policies to prevent sex abuse in their ranks, a manual outlining the policy is close to being completed.
At the USOC's quarterly board meeting in Redwood City, Calif., on Wednesday, CEO Scott Blackmun said finishing the manual has become even more important given "recent events," including child sex abuse allegations at Penn State and Syracuse.
Though neither involves the USOC, basketball is an Olympic sport, and Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim is an assistant on the team that will compete in London. USA Basketball recently said Boeheim remains on the coaching staff. The USOC is monitoring the situation involving his former assistant coach.
In the aftermath of a number of sex abuse cases involving USA Swimming, last year the USOC formed a committee that recommended the national governing bodies of the Olympic sports adopt standardized policies to ensure safe training environments. The committee also drafted the manual that is still being reviewed.
Blackmun said the board did not discuss the USOC policy in the context of what's happening at Penn State, Syracuse or the Amateur Athletic Union , where sex abuse allegations also have surfaced, "but we did talk about it in the context of where we stand vis a vis the recommendations we delivered in 2010."
When it announced the committee's work, the USOC said it would "encourage," but not require, national governing bodies to adopt standardized policies to prevent abuse.
The USOC also hired an attorney, Malia Arrington, as director of ethics and safe sport.
"Obviously, recent events have made implementation of programs even more important now," Blackmun said.
Also at the meeting, the USOC board approved the 2012 budget. While not divulging details, Blackmun said the USOC is financially healthy in large part because of a number of sponsorship deals that have been newly signed or extended.
USOC chairman Larry Probst updated the board on long-running negotiations with the IOC over revenue sharing. He said there had been no substantial progress but both sides are motivated to come to a conclusion. They'll meet again at the Youth Olympic Games in January.