Investigations, Resignations in Wake of USA Gymnastics Scandal

(ATR) Two U.S. government bodies investigating sexual abuse in sport after sentencing of former USAG team doctor.

(ATR) The fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving the former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar is growing by the day.

The Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives says it will investigate sexual abuse in organized sports. The committee has sent letters to USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State University, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo on the topic and want a response by Feb. 9, according to Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Education said it is also investigating the Nassar case.

Mark Hollis, the athletics director at Michigan State University since 2008, resigned on Friday, telling reporters his decision to retire would help "a little bit" in the healing process. Hollis maintains he did not know about any allegations against Nassar before they became public in September 2016.

His resignation comes just two days after the university’s president Lou Anna Simon stepped down, just hours after Nassar was sentenced. The NCAA, the governing body of college athletics in the United States, has launched an investigation into the school. An ESPN Outside the Lines investigation revealed on Friday "a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression" of sexual assault, violence and gender discrimination complaints at the university.

Nassar was a sports physician for Michigan State University and began working with USA Gymnastics in 1996. Instances of the abuse date from 1994 to 2015.

He was sentenced Jan. 24 to 40-175 years in prison for sexual abuse against 168 known victims. Many of them were gymnasts, some of them Olympic medalists. He had pled guilty in October to 10 counts of sexual abuse and was already serving 40 years for possession of child pornography before Wednesday’s sentencing in this case.

The USOC CEO Scott Blackmun on Jan. 24 had revealed in an open letter the wholesale changes required for USA Gymnastics to avoid decertification. At the top of the list were the resignations of all current USAG directors. It was learned on Thursday, when the USOC sent USAG an official letter outlining the requirements, that the deadline for those resignations is Jan. 31.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement that it "completely embraces" the requirements outlined in the letter and "appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs".

The sooner the USAG gets its house in order the better, as far as AT&T is concerned. The company on Jan.23 announced it was suspending its sponsorship agreementuntil the organization "is re-built and we know that the athletes are in a safe environment".

AT&T is the fifth major sponsor to jump ship since the Nassar scandal surfaced, according to ESPN. Under Armour ended its deal early while Hershey, Kellogg's and Procter & Gamble declined to renew existing sponsorships.

Written by Gerard Farek

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