Chris Hill on Greg Winslow situation: ‘We could have done better. I could have done better’
Attempts to locate and contact Winslow for comment were unsuccessful.
Hill said that the responsibility for the problems surrounding Winslow and the swim team was ultimately his. “If even one student believes his experience is not optimal, then I have failed to achieve our No. 1 goal,” he said. “I would like to apologize to any of our former and current swimmers who feel that I have not done my job.
“As this report indicates, we could have done better. I could have done better. I am ultimately responsible for all 400 student-athletes and pledge to do a better job in monitoring our staff, our coaches and our programs.”
The investigative team outlined recommendations regarding transparency, accessible paths for student-athletes to report concerns, consistent coaching expectations, and appropriate monitoring of coaching staffs. The final point is an effort to provide clear guidance regarding which tactics are safe and effective motivation and which are abusive.
In order to fulfill his pledge to improve the university programs, Hill and University of Utah President David Pershing announced that measures will and are being taken to adhere to the committee’s recommendations. Those improvements are to be in place by Aug. 15.
“All our coaches, in their contracts now, they have a background check,” Hill said. “We do that, but we need to do it more extensively. It’s really important to investigate that carefully. I’m disappointed in a couple of things that have happened, and they’re going to be fixed. They are being fixed.”
Among other actions, student-athletes will now have two additional routes to confidentially report issues. One will be through the student affairs office and the other through a representative who reports directly to Pershing. Both routes are independent of the athletic department. Additionally, a member of the Student Athlete Wellness Team will report instances of abuse directly to Hill; the university will adopt standards for safe and effective coaching methods; and the university will make sure students and faculty have better information on substance abuse as well as how and where to report such instances.
They also said the new policies will be expanded to all athletic teams, not just the swimming and diving programs on which the investigation centered.
“We are going beyond swimming,” Hill said. “In every sport. The recommendation is in swimming but this has to be every single sport so that every single student-athlete goes in and understands (what to expect).”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.
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