FAQ: Where is the status of the Governing Body of USA Gymnastics?

FAQ: Where is the status of the Governing Body of USA Gymnastics?

The United States Olympic Committee announced on Monday that it would start the process of revoking the status of USA Gymnastics as the national governing body for the sport. Just days after the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup in Doha, Qatar, where the US women's team won gold and Simone Biles and Morgan Hurd won seven more medals, US President Sarah Hirshland sent a letter to the members of the Teams said the organization had failed to "change their culture, rebuild their leadership and effectively serve their membership."

After at least a year in the Larry Nassar scandal and several flawed leadership changes, the news is by no means unexpected but still surprising. What we know and what we do not know yet and what we expect next.

What has led to the USOC's decision to revoke the status of US Gymnastics as a governing body?

How much time do you have? It was a tumultuous year for USAG, due to Rachael Denhollander's initial public accusations that had been abused in August 2016 by former team doctor Larry Nassar. Hundreds of others were subsequently arrested, and 156 women were shockingly victimized. Nassar's trial in January was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison. Among those who told stories of abuse were former members of the national team, including Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Maggie Nichols and Jamie Dantzscher.

It was later revealed that several high-ranking USG officials knew of the allegations against Nassar in 2015, but did not inform Michigan State University authorities or officials, where he also worked as a doctor. While the USAG suspended Nassar this year, in 2016 he continued to see patients at the school.

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The former USG President, Steve Penny, who was arrested last month and charged with manipulating evidence in connection with the Nassar investigation, resigned in March 2017 after demanding his dismissal. Kerry Perry, who took over the role in December 2017, was later scrutinized after appointing Development Coordinator for Mary Lee Tracy, a coach who continued to defend Nassar well after dozens of women entered. Perry was asked to resign in September. Former Congresswoman Mary Bono was appointed Interim President last month. This term lasted four days. After exposing allegations of abuse, in 2015 she sent a USAG law firm. Prior to being named USAG CEO, she sent a tweet criticizing Nike and her support of Colin Kaepernick. In January, every board member of the USAG resigned at the urging of the USOC.

This series of grave missteps challenged the organization's future and raised serious questions about its effectiveness and ability to guide and protect the members of the gymnastics community.

As Hirshland wrote to the gymnasts in her letter, "They deserve better."

Why now?

Hirshland addressed this question in her letter to Athletes: "The short answer is: We believe that the challenges that the organization faces are simply more than it can overcome in its current form," she said. "We have been working closely with the new USAG Board over the last few months to support them, but despite careful efforts by the NGB [national governing body] keep fighting. And that's not fair for Turner across the country. Only weeks ago, I hoped that there was another way. But we now believe that this is no longer possible. "

The Trampoline and Tumbling World Championships, which US athletes will attend, will begin this week in Russia. Otherwise, no major gymnastics events are planned until March.

Will the USAG give its approval voluntarily?

Hirshland said she gave the organization the opportunity. In a statement released shortly after the announcement of the USOC, the executive committee of the USAG said that their group "carefully reviewed the contents of this letter and evaluated the best way for our athletes, professional members, the organization, and our employees." As a result, many of the challenges and changes faced by the Board were described in detail, and he said he was looking for a new CEO.

What happens next?

The USAG will now have the opportunity to present "factual and legal evidence to the allegations of the complaint" before a panel, according to the statute of the USOC. The panel elected by the USOC will consist of three persons – a representative of the Council for National Bodies and of the Athlete Advisory Council, and chair of a USOC board member. The panel will recommend what action to take next, and the USOC will finally decide on the fate of the USAG. It is important to note that USAG can ultimately maintain its status as a governing body, and Monday's announcement is not an immediate death sentence for the organization.

Hirshland said it was not a fixed timetable for such a process, but the USOC would "do everything it can to move forward". If the 2020 Olympics are fast approaching, you would expect them to move in both directions as quickly as possible.

Is this unprecedented?

No, but it is rare. The USOC has revoked the status of a governing body only three times before.

What does this mean for Biles, Hurd and all other athletes who want to compete in Tokyo in 2020?

Whether the USAG has successfully declared its case or remains in power or the USOC revokes its status, the committee will do everything it can to ensure that the US team is ready for the competition and has all the resources that the USC has Athletes need for medals. It is unlikely that the USOC will let this process get in the way of a star like Biles. In her letter Hirshland insisted that the USOC would ensure "the support of the Olympic hopefuls who could represent us in Tokyo in 2020".


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