University of Utah AD Chris Hill vows to look into allegations aimed at athletics dept.
SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah athletics director Chris Hill spoke to the Deseret News on Saturday regarding allegations that his athletic department didn't properly address misconduct in the U. swimming and diving program.
The allegations became public in the wake of swim coach Greg Winslow's dismissal.
Hill announced last Monday that Utah would not renew the contract of Winslow, who has been accused of child sexual abuse during a previous job in Arizona.
Since then, reports of a lack of action for alleged misconduct by Winslow at Utah have surfaced among various sources.
A published report by Yahoo Sports quotes the parent of a former swimmer saying that Hill knew of problems in the swimming program for years but did nothing about them. Another parent told the Deseret News he had similar concerns about the program and that he had kept quiet for 31/2 years so his son wouldn't suffer any consequences, before complaining to Hill and other university officials last fall after his son was dismissed from the team.
"I talked to President (David) Pershing today and I assured him that we'd find out what the athletic department knew, when we knew it and see what we need to do to take corrective measures," Hill said. "This is important, for sure, and we want to make sure we do our due diligence on all this going backwards and forward. We don't want any stone unturned and that's what we're determined to do."
Matt Fiascone, father of former Ute backstroke standout Austin Fiascone, wrote a letter to Hill and others detailing problems within the swimming program earlier this year.
"As soon as Mr. Fiascone sent me a letter, I immediately sent it down to the legal counsel and gave it to President Pershing," Hill said. "I said, 'Could you find people to look into it because it needs to be independent of athletics?' I wanted to make sure I gave it the respect and seriousness I needed to."
When asked about allegations that he knew about problems with the swimming program several years ago, Hill was not as clear.
"What I don't want to do is not cover all the bases," he said. "We know a lot, but we want to make sure we know everything. That's what I can tell you today. A lot of things are out there and I want to make sure I cover everything. We're going to look into everything. And everything means everything."
Winslow, who began coaching at Utah in the fall of 2007, was suspended by the university on Feb. 28 amid reports from Arizona that he sexually abused a 15-year-old girl in his previous job as coach at Sun Devil Aquatics from 2003 to 2007. Then earlier this week, the university announced that Winslow's contract would not be renewed for next year.
The Yahoo Sports story quotes a parent of a former swimmer saying she had brought concerns to Hill and the university five years earlier. Suzanne Jurgens said she first wrote to Hill in May 2009 about concerns that her daughter was humiliated by having a mesh bag put over her head and having her legs taped together — among other things.
Matt Fiascone, meanwhile, wrote of his concerns to the university after his son was suddenly dismissed from the team in November, accusing the coach of alcohol abuse, verbal abuse, assault of an assistant coach and many other negative issues related to the program.
Austin Fiascone and Karson Applin are among some two dozen swimmers who were either kicked off the team or quit the team since Winslow became head coach.
Both Fiascone and Applin say they were dismissed from the team with little explanation. Applin was dismissed in August, the first week of school, while Fiascone was let go in November.
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