Letter to the Editor: The U’s delay of Winslow investigation uncalled for

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Editor:
The U has now commenced a long overdue investigation to examine numerous charges made by student-athletes and their parents from the swimming and diving program. I am one of the parents who has been involved in bringing this despicable situation to light. While I am hopeful that this process will lead to a resolution for all the victims, I am understandably skeptical.
There is now evidence that the Athletics Department, led by Dr. Chris Hill, has been aware of serious concerns about the dismissed swimming coach for more than four years. During that time, Dr. Hill apparently placed the coach’s credibility and right to privacy over the credibility of multiple students and parents. In spite of the fact that the Athletic Department was fully aware of Winslow’s alcohol abuse issues, anger issues resulting in the assault of a fellow staff member and other misconduct that most reasonable people would consider grounds for dismissal or at least ceasing of contact with young adults and minors on recruiting visits. All of this speaks to Dr. Hill’s judgment. Why would a self-described educator and father place more credence in a troubled coach than several fellow parents? And, if he would do this for a minor sport program like swimming, what might he do for a revenue-producing sport that is his ticket to the Pac-12? I think any investigation should not be limited to the swimming and diving program, but all programs under the direction of Dr. Hill.
So, now we have an investigation that reports directly to the president of the university. Does that seem like a conflict? Haven’t we gone that route with the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity? The university is apparently admitting that was a failure since they are now paying for a new investigation. I strongly suggest that the new investigation report to the Board of Regents or some other body appointed by the governor as Utah will be left with the liability should any of the charges prove true.
I am also very concerned about the timing of this investigation. Due in large part to the delay in taking this situation seriously, other victims have suffered. There are now student-athletes with serious depression and other psychological issues that need immediate help. They can’t wait for another investigation followed by more internal posturing and machinations. The same goes for student-athletes that had their scholarships pulled by a vindictive bully (Winslow) and others who need clarity on their athletic eligibility so they can consider their options for next year. They all need resolution sooner rather than later. Why can’t the university step up and address these immediate concerns without waiting to see how big their ultimate problem is? It’s the right thing to do, and it’s time for the university to do something right for these students.

Matt Fiascone
Parent of Austin Fiascone