Home Sports USA Gymnastics Board to Resign Following Larry Nassar Abuse Scandal

USA Gymnastics Board to Resign Following Larry Nassar Abuse Scandal

The USA Gymnastics (USAG) board will resign over the Larry Nassar abuse scandal, complying with a US Olympic Committee’s (USOC) ultimatum.

The USOC earlier said the 18-member board must step down by January 31 or lose status as a sports governing body.

It outlined steps the board must take after ex-USAG doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for abusing young athletes.

Five directors of the USAG board have already resigned amid the fallout.

Two Michigan State University (MSU) officials have also quit after the school became embroiled in the scandal.

Mark Hollis, the Michigan State athletic director, stepped down on January 26 following reports that the school knew of the abuse claims but failed to take action.

He said he was “brought to tears” as he listened to Larry Nassar’s victims during his sentencing on January 23.

Mark Hollis said in a statement: “My heart breaks thinking about the incomprehensible pain all of them and their families have experienced.”

Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, worked at MSU between 1997 and 2016 and served as national medical co-ordinator for USAG from 1996 to 2014. Nearly 160 women have accused him of abuse.

USAG has admitted dragging its feet on alerting the authorities when it learned of abuse allegations against the physician in 2015.

Multiple molestation complaints from young athletes against Dr. Nassar between 1997 and 2014 were ignored by MSU.

On January 25, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun wrote in a letter that USAG board directors had six days to resign and until February 28 to replace them with an interim panel.

He said: “While the USOC encourages USAG to think and act broadly on reforming its culture, we also believe that reform must start with an entirely new board.”

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Scott Blackmun outlined six steps the sports body must take, including:

  • The entire interim board should be replaced in the next 12 months
  • USAG must co-operate with “an independent investigation” looking into whether the anyone knew of and ignored the abuse allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar
  • The board “must substantially discuss” plans for combating abuse.

In a statement on January 25, USAG said it “completely embraces the requirements outlined” in the letter and “appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change”.

Michael Burns, the head men’s gymnastics coach at the University of Minnesota, became at least the fifth member to resign from USAG’s board on January 26.

He confirmed in an email he submitted his resignation letter on Janaury 24.

Both USAG and MSU deny there was a cover-up, but some victims have criticized both organizations for not doing enough to prevent the abuse.

Mark Hollis’ resignation from the university comes a day after the Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon quit amid increasing calls for her resignation over the case.

However, it was revealed on January 26 that Lou Anna Simon can opt to return to a faculty position and take a 12-month leave of absence to conduct research, during which time she would receive her $750,000 salary, according to her contract, which was provided to CNN by Michigan State spokesman Jason Cody.

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, who testified at Larry Nassar’s sentencing, slammed USOC in a tweet on January 25.

On January 26, the US House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would launch an investigation into abuse in organized sports following Larry Nassar’s case.

The committee sent letters to USOC, USAG, MSU, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo.