It’s been two years since the Larry Nassar scandal broke and USA Gymnastics (USAG) still finds itself at the center of a rapidly unwinding news dump.
The week began with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) taking the first step to decertify the organization on the heels of more resignations and the arrest of Steve Penny. It was later released the organization was drawn to that decision when USAG officials “found” missing documents at its Indianapolis headquarters.
And as survivors launched a victim statement website Thursday evening, financial documents hit the media showing exactly how much lost sponsorship and the payout for lawsuits will cost the organization.
There was, of course, a lot of other stuff going on — most of which happened on a busy Thursday — so consider this a timeline of another frantic week as the fallout continues.
USOC seeks to revoke recognition of USAG
The USOC announced Monday is is seeking to revoke USAG’s recognition as a member of the national governing body. The full statement can be found here.
There is no specific outcome the USOC is seeking as there is a process to follow. The move is to avoid the situation that followed this week.
USAG announces it found “missing” documents
The New York Times reported that “missing” documents finally found at the USAG’s headquarters played a role in the USOC’s decision, noting it intended to “avert the possibility of another scandal.”
Documents central to the Nassar investigation were found at the USAG Indianapolis headquarters with no clue if they were purposely hidden or who knew about them, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Walker (Texas) County law enforcement officials have been looking for the documents for years, and were incredibly open about that when they visited Karolyi ranch last month.
Penny, former chief executive of USAG, ordered them to be removed from the ranch after the Texas Rangers were denied access to the ranch two years ago. Stephanie Stroud, first district attorney in Walker County, told the NYT that their investigators were told Penny had the files and former president Kerry Perry testified to Congress that USAG didn’t have them.
“So it’s kind of interesting that the documents just showed up,” she said.
USAG sent a letter to Walker County district attorney’s office Saturday, according to the New York Times, saying they had documents “that may have come from the ranch that may be applicable to the investigation, though none of these documents contain Nassar’s name.”
“The belated discovery of these documents played a role in our decision to begin the process of revoking USA Gymnastics’ recognition as a National Governing Body,” USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said Thursday in a statement
USAG expects to pay up to $150M to survivors
The organization expects to pay between $75 million and $150 million to the more than 330 women who were victims and survivors of Nassar’s abuse, according to audited financial documents it released Thursday. Sports Business Daily was the first to release them.
The organization has been in mediation talks since the spring and has suits against it by approximately 220 gymnasts in Michigan and California, according to USA Today. USAG expects the settlement to be covered by insurance and the amount could increase if more gymnasts come forward, according to USA Today. The organization filed a lawsuit against the insurance carriers in April seeking full reimbursement for defense costs.
The investigation by Ropes & Gray could also affect the settlement. The law firm is looking into if anyone at USAG knew about the athletes’ complaints and failed to report them, as well as if systematic failures were to blame.
Emails show depth of divided alumni anger, support
The Detroit News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for emails sent to then-Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon regarding the Nassar scandal. The outlet reviewed more than 1,600 emails sent from mid-to-late January, during Nassar’s hearing, and published them Thursday.
The snippets show alumni’s anger and assertions they would stop their financial donations while also showing some stood fully behind her.
Missing from the request are emails from Simon regarding the case, with the exception of her mass communications. The News has filed a FOIA appeal for a “broader view of the response” from MSU’s “top leader and those who felt compelled to reach out to her.”
What can we expect in the Nassar case now?
Knowing the USAG, who knows. David Weeks, district attorney for Walker County, said his team will begin to find out “where the documents have been, who had them and how they ended up where they did just now.”
Meanwhile, in Michigan, the attorney general’s investigation will not conclude by the end of the year, according to the Lansing State Journal. It will therefore switch hands from Republican AG Bill Schuette, who announced the investigation in January, to Democrat Gretchen Witmer, who won the election and will take over in January.
The Michigan State Board of Trustees will also have new blood, as two MSU grads were voted to the eight-member board on election day.
If after all this you need a pick-me-up, visit the Nassar survivors’ new website “In Our Own Words” that showcases their victim impact statements.
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