Now that details regarding the University of Utah’s swim program meltdown are public, new measures are in place. Boy, are they in place. University officials have announced the following:
* An ombudsman to athletics, who will serve as a “confidential conduit” for student athletes. The ombudsman will report to the dean of students, independent of the athletics department.
* A faculty athletic rep/special assistant to the president “with specific directions to monitor student welfare.”
* Members of the Student Athlete Wellness Team will now report abusive coaching practices directly to the athletics director, rather than an associate A.D.
* Written standards defining acceptable coaching methods will be drawn up and enforced.
* The university will “work to better ensure all employees and students are provided with information on substance abuse and how to report it.” Associate Vice President Amy Wildermuth will verify that proper disciplinary measures are carried out.
All the above measures are to be in place August 15.
In light of the problems brought on by former coach Greg Winslow’s alcohol issues, new standards were clearly needed. But will they overtax already busy employees?
For instance, is the new ombudsman already on staff at the university in another capacity? If so, that means added responsibilities to someone.
Is the faculty rep/special assistant to the president a new hire, or someone who has been handed additional assignments?
Finally, there’s athletics director Chris Hill. It was a breakdown in communication with former associate A.D. Pete Oliszczak that allowed Winslow to continue coaching. Now the Wellness Team is to report abusive coaching practices directly to Hill. So that’s one more thing for Hill to handle. Yet that’s why associate A.D.’s are hired in the first place – so the A.D. doesn’t have to do everything.
Now he does.
At any rate, strong measures will be in place in August. It’s always a good thing when protecting the student athletes comes into play. The question here is whether some people will be spread so thin monitoring coaches and athletes that they won’t have time to perform other duties.