KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KSHB I-Team sent surveys – on two separate occasions - to 50 NGBs to get their comments on the Center for SafeSport and if it’s meeting its goal to end abuse in Olympic Sports.
Only one NGB responded.
U.S.A. Artistic Swimming (USAAS) said the Center is “working hard” to address abuse prevention, education, and accountability.
“The Center has set up a system and compliance standards that are now a part of the daily operations of USAAS,” spokesman Adam Andrasko wrote. “More important is that the mission of the Center is now woven into the culture of USAAS. The work of the Center and our alignment with the center makes our sports organizations a safer place for all of our members.”
He added, “Our standards are far greater than those of youth sports competitors and we will continue to improve.”
Asked if the Center has met its mission to respond to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct in the Olympic movement, Andrasko wrote in 2021: “ To put it simply, they are. Unfortunately their resources are not yet to a level that allows them to be ideally functional in their response and resolution, but they are reviewing, responding and taking action on all cases that happen within our organizations.”
Andrasko said his NGB has not received any complaints from members about the Center.
“However, we have a minimal number of grievances that have been filed with the Center,” he said. “That is a positive for our sport and I believe that it demonstrates how clearly athlete safety is ingrained into the culture of our organization.”
The I-Team’s survey also asked NGBs what advice they’d give Center officials to make sports safer for Olympic athletes.
“The Center knows that they need to reduce the length of time it takes to process cases through their system,” Andrakso wrote. “They are also aware that the message of SafeSport needs to continue to expand throughout the Olympic movement and beyond, to other youth serving sports organizations.”
He added: “In the development of the Center and our work together, we haven’t got it perfect, but it is far better than it was before the Center’s existence.”
Key Findings In KSHB I-Team Review of Center for SafeSport
- The Center administratively or jurisdictionally closed 82% of its cases from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020, according to a Government Accountability Office Report;
- The Center only has jurisdiction over active members in the Olympic Movement;
- If the Center permanently bans someone, that individual can still participate in sports that are not part of the Olympic Movement, including private gyms, youth organizations, or teams affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU);
- Investigators with the Center do not have the same tools as law enforcement to investigate allegations of sexual abuse, including subpoena powers or the ability to execute search warrants;
The KSHB 41 I-Team conduced a four-part investigation into Center for SafeSport. You can read our coverage at the links below:
Part 1 | Sexual-abuse survivors demand accountability for predators in Olympic sports
Part 2 | Survivors recount claims of abuse at hands of coaches
Part 3 | Missouri boxing coach goes rounds with SafeSport after incorrect addition to database
Part 4 | Protecting young athletes from predators in sports