What I’m about to offer is a theory as to how the situation with the swimming scandal reached the level it did without action from the Athletic Department taking place. It’s something I’ve put together reading the article from Yahoo and the extensive coverage on Concussion Inc combined with some things I’ve learned and what seems like reasonable assumptions to fill in some holes.
First let me tell you where I’m starting. The Yahoo article is either entirely or mostly true. Yahoo is too good at what their doing for this to be a pile of crap. So I believe it.
Greg Winslow was hired in 2007 likely because he had a previous relationship with former Associate Athletic Director Pete Oliszczak. Oliszczak was in the athletic administration at North Dakota while Winslow was an All-American Swimmer there. Now we know that complaints began almost from the beginning. But I believe that they weren’t strong enough or frequent enough to warrant action.
Now the timeline given by the Fiascone family to President Pershing begins in 2009. We must remember that something else came up in 2009, the likely hood of Pac-12 membership. In fact, if you were a Utah messageboard follower, you became aware of this possibility several months before the June 2010 announcement. Now, if you are about to reach your schools life goal and your life’s work, Pac-12 admission, do you really want to answer questions because you had an abusive swim coach?
I don’t even necessarily believe that the U simply ignored or covered it up. In fact, it may come to like in the investigation that the U attempted to get Winslow some help in his private life. But in any event they didn’t make a move to stop him.
Now June 2010 comes and we’re in the Pac-12. The problem is we have a swim coach with some time left on his contract. While it’s clear things aren’t getting better, if you’re the powers that be at the U, you’re left with a couple of choices. On one hand, no one knows about what is going on. And since the media in Salt Lake tend to be lazy, are they really going to try to sniff out a swimming scandal. And honestly are they going to listen very much if one or even two disgruntled swimmers come forward. So if you just keep quiet till Winslow’s contract is up, you simply don’t renew it, he leaves and it all likely goes away.
Your other choice is to fire him. Then suddenly there is a story, why is the U suddenly firing a swim coach with a couple of years on his contract. A couple of disgruntled swimmers stories suddenly sound more interesting. And since you’ve sat on this through the Pac-12 admission, well it’s going to look bad.
So I believe they said, it’s swimming, no one is going to care, not enough of them will come forward to make anything of this. Let’s just ride it out. I’m not sure the OEO investigation was a sham, but I’ve seen more than a few scholarship athletes say they wouldn’t have exactly told the entire truth for fear they would be singled out and lose their scholarship.
One other thing I believe is that Pete Oliszczak left for family reasons unrelated to the investigation. It was common knowledge that there was an ill family member and he likely left so that the family could be there to care for that person.
The problem become this. They didn’t count on another shoe dropping, like Winslow allegedly having sex with a 15 year old. Suddenly there is a story there, and the complaints of what seems like a whining walk-on, the Fiascone kid, seems more interesting. He is able to link to a lot more people and suddenly an entire group of people feel empowered to speak out. That gives us the Yahoo article and the several articles at Concussion INC.
Now before you simply dismiss this as the writings of a madman, think about one thing. If the scandal about the 15 year old doesn’t break, do we hear about any other part of it. The Salt Lake media certainly knew nothing. Would there have been any reason for Yahoo to come sniffing around. In fact if they were just going to try to ride it out, didn’t they nearly pull it off.
So there you go and I’d be curious to hear thoughts.