Who Are We Protecting?

Today, Swimswam reported that Michael McCorvy was added to the "permanently ineligible" list, commonly referred to as the "banned list" last month. McCorvy had been (and is still currently listed as) the Head Developmental Coach for Magnolia Aquatic Club.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Magnolia Aquatic Club was also where Scott MacFarland, the coach who sexually abused Sarah Ehekircher, plied his trade until he "retired" a month ago. It is also a club that was lauded as a "Gold Medal Club" by USA Swimming last year.

I found out about McCorvy's ban the same time that Swimswam did, when an anonymous source sent me the judicial record from 1993, where McCorvy was charged with sexual assault and criminal trespass but ultimately plead down to just the criminal trespass charge. They also pointed me to the fact that McCorvy's name was in the publicly searchable database at the US Center for Safe Sport.

McCorvy's ban raises a lot of questions. Prior to Swimswam publishing the article, Irvin Muchnick had been working to get some of those questions answered, and with his permission I am forwarding on what he has learned.

The Swimswam article begs for some of the same information. Who was notified, and when, about the investigation and subsequent banning of McCorvy? Why is there such little information and transparency around the US Center for Safe Sport's process (as well as USA Swimming's process), and who are we protecting by having things done this way?

Muchnick posed the question to a representative, Kate Brannen, at the US Center for Safe Sport: 

"How does the Center communicate to a team regarding, first, an investigation and, second, a finding or disciplinary action? And are there expectations from SafeSport regarding how the team processes and publicly communicates that information?"

Brannen replied:

"We communicate directly with the national governing body concerning the notice of allegations, a notice of an investigation, and/or a temporary suspension or sanction (SafeSport Code, “Privacy,” PDF page 18/40). It is our expectation and requirement that the NGB will immediately communicate that information to the relevant club."

The response is too vague to determine whether Magnolia was notified of the allegations or subsequent investigation against McCorvy. If they were not, there is an obvious follow up, why not? Shouldn't a club know if they are employing a coach with accusations against them as soon as Safe Sport finds out, so they can take immediate action to remove said coach, if even provisionally, and notify parents and swimmers?

I have heard from several sources that USA Swimming clubs were not notified of a coaches "banned" status until the day the ban took effect. Even if this is still the policy (which is completely nuts), it is crazier still that Magnolia has to be badgered into admitting that there are serious accusations against another one of their coaches.

The silence protects bad actors like McCorvy. It does not protect swimmers, or other coaches, or anyone else involved trying to do right by our sport. The chorus crying about false accusations (yesterday, there were commenters on Swimswam railing against them in a case where SOMEONE PLEAD GUILTY TO A CRIME) do not protect people trying to do right by our sport. 

If you are still unclear about the nature of "false reports", please read up on them. End blog.