Over the weekend, there were numerous updates to the "Splash of Truth" (SOT) website. As they have uploaded depositions and articles, three things have become readily apparent:
1. When you volunteer and/or work at a high level for USA Swimming, you have a remarkable inability to remember much of anything that happened while you were there.
2. None of the strongest accusations in the SOT e-mails are verified by what has been posted so far.
3. Nobody but Tony Austin and I want to touch any of this with a ten foot pole. What else is new?
The latest deposition posted is that of Dale Neuberger. Neuberger served as President of USA Swimming from 1998-2002 and has been on the board in some capacity since 1990. Much like Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, there is much that Neuberger does not remember. This, much like the previous depositions, makes for extremely boring reading, because as any questions relating to sexual misconduct of coaches come up, Dale simply can't remember or doesn't know anything. Let me give you a few examples. As in my previous blog, I have inserted the name of the lawyer (Jonathan Little) and Neuberger for clarity:
Little: Were you on the USA Swimming board of directors in 1993?
Little: Do you recall any discussions about Mitch Ivey in 1993?
Little: So is it your recollection that there were no discussions of Mitch Ivey after he was on ESPN Outside The Lines in 1993?
Neuberger: If Mr. Ivey was part of a television broadcast, I'm not aware of it.
Mitch Ivey was fired as the swimming coach at the University of Florida in 1993 after ESPN's Outside the Lines featured several of his former athletes giving accounts of his sexually inappropriate behavior. I found an article about the program in the SI Vault that cited one of his athletes saying he made sexual advances on her when she was 15. She ended up marrying him at age 18, when he was 31 but divorced him after discovering he had a relationship with another 17 year old swimmer.
Let me excerpt another exchange that shows Neuberger's apparent "cluelessness":
Little: Do you know who Sean Hutchison is?
Neuberger: I do.
Little: Who is he?
Neuberger He's a USA Swimming coach, member.
Little: Where does he currently work?
Neuberger: I don't know.
Little: Does he work for the Fast Swim Club in Fullerton, California?
Neuberger I don't know his location of employment at this point.
Keep in mind this was January 7th, when everyone was wondering whether Sean Hutchison would continue on after rumors floated about his involvement with a swimmer. Neuberger goes on to say he has little idea of how the National Post Graduate Centers were set up, their funding, or how coaches were chosen. But, how should we expect him to, he's only on the board, right?
Things get quite heated and both Mr. Little and the attorney for USA Swimming, Jean Weil, get very frustrated. Little shows his frustration with this line of questioning:
Little: Do you take drugs, Mr. Neuburger, any kind of psychiatric drugs?
MS. WEIL: Do you, Mr. Little?
Little: Are you under the influence of alcohol in this deposition?
Little: Are you under the influence of anything that could impair your memory?
Which brings us full circle. USA Swimming members be alarmed that the people at the very top of the organization seemingly know very little about very important parts of the operation. Still, there is nothing concrete that I have read so far that validates a cover-up or any of the far more serious charges. The question now becomes, how long do we wait for SOT to prove it?