Following the recent suspension of University of Utah head swim coach Greg Winslow for allegations of sexual abuse, some former athletes and their parents are claiming the university knew of inappropriate behavior for years, but failed to take action.
The University of Utah suspended Winslow on February 28th, after allegations surfaced that he had sexually abused a 15-year-old girl he coached while he was working at Arizona State University.
On Monday, the University of Utah announced they will hire outside investigators to review allegations of physical abuse and inappropriate behavior. According to KSL-TV in Utah, some parents say the university has been aware of multiple incidences of abuse since as early as 2008, but covered them up.
University of Utah athletic director Chris Hill confirmed to KSL-TV that the university was aware of complaints against Winslow, but he would not confirm what those complaints were.
According to media reports, parents said Winslow commonly came to practice drunk, purchased alcohol for an underage swimmer,had outbursts of anger, and forced a team member to swim underwater with his hands tied to a PVC pipe that was strapped to his back until he blacked out.
Winslow has not been arrested in either Utah or Arizona and he remains on paid suspension.
While the parents’ complaints relate to physical and emotional abuse, Winslow’s alleged behaviors are major red flags and should have indicated to the University that the coach was not safe to be around young athletes.
This story reflects a widespread policy issue continuing to face universities and other institutions.
One of the best ways to keep predators out of institutions is to remain of red flags and err on the side of caution. When you ignore red flags and choose not to err on the side of caution, children’s lives are devastated and you are accountable.