USA Gymnastics Board Resigns, MSU Athletic Director Retires
The United States Olympics Committee threatened to decertify the organization if the board didn’t take necessary steps toward change.
The latest developments in the fallout from the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal include the resignation of all members of the USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors and the retirement of MSU athletic director Mark Hollis.
All remaining members of the USA Gymnastics board announced their resignation after the United States Olympics Committee threatened to decertify the organization if it didn’t take big steps towards change, reports ESPN.
As of last Monday, the entire executive board had resigned. Last Friday, USA Gymnastics announced the remaining 18 board members, who are unpaid volunteers, were resigning as well.
“USA Gymnastics supports the United States Olympic Committee’s letter and accepts the absolute need of the Olympic family to promote a safe environment for all of our athletes,” the board wrote in a statement. “We agree with the USOC’s statement that the interests of our athletes and clubs, and their sport, may be better served by moving forward with meaningful change within our organization, rather than decertification.”
The announcement came just two days after USOC chief operating officer Scott Blackmun wrote a letter calling for a “full turnover of leadership.”
Many of the victims who spoke during Nassar’s sentencing also called for a revamp of the entire organization. In August, Rachel Denhollander, the first person to come forward as a Nassar victim in 2016, called for the board’s executive officers to resign. Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman also talked at length about the need for a complete organizational overhaul, including in a book she wrote outlining her abuse by Nassar.
MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis Announces Retirement
On Friday, Michigan State University athletic director Mark Hollis announced he would be retiring after 10 years in the role, according to The Associated Press.
When asked why he was retiring, Hollis replied while holding back tears, “Because I care. When you look at the scope of everything, that’s the reason I made a choice to retire now. And I hope that has a little bit, a little bit, of helping that healing process.”
Hollis insists he did not know about the alleged Nassar abuse until the Indianapolis Star reported it in 2016. He also says he did not know about the 2014 investigation by the Department of Education.
“I don’t believe that I’ve ever met him,” Hollis said of Nassar.
Former Michigan State rower Cate Hannum, who was treated by Nassar, says Hollis would not be retiring if he had “approached the situation with integrity from the very beginning instead of adopting a not-my-problem attitude.”
Hollis’ announcement comes just one day after MSU president Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation. University vice president Bill Beekman will serve as acting president following her departure.
Several Other Investigations into MSU Underway
Governor Rick Snyder also announced on Friday he is considering an inquiry into the university’s handling of the reported sexual abuse, depending on whether it would interfere with other investigations such as the attorney general’s. Under the state constitution, the governor is able to remove or suspend public officers for “gross neglect of duty,” corruption or “other misfeasance or malfeasance.”
“The governor hasn’t seen enough done for the survivors after everything they’ve gone through,” said spokeswoman Anna Heaton. “He wants to make sure that something is being done.”
Hannum also reached out to Nike, who has a partnership with Michigan State. Nike called her back directly and also wrote her a letter, stating, “We stand in support of athletes and we’ve expressed our deep concerns with Michigan State University. We are following the details of the rapidly developing events at the university and evolving actions by the Board of Trustees.”