As of January 31, 2018, the entire USA gymnastics board of directors resigned in the wake of the conviction of former national team doctor Larry Nassar.
The board’s resignation came at the last minute of a conditional deal set by the U.S. Olympic committee. The alternative was that USA gymnastics would be replaced as the sport’s governing body.
Before resigning, the USA Gymnastics board issued a statement saying that it embraced the changes called for by the Olympic committee and that it would hold the organization to the highest standards of safety and care as it developed the future culture of empowerment for its athletes. The board then resigned before the Olympic committee could mandate their collective termination. USA Gymnastics is expected to name an interim board by the end of February.
The driving event that sparked the resignation of the board was the recent conviction of Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting numerous female athletes. Nassar was found guilty of only seven sexual assault charges, but more than 265 women came forward with claims that Nassar had abused them.
In just one week, 156 women gave statements in a Michigan courtroom, many of which placed some of the blame on USA Gymnastics, where Nassar worked for more than 20 years. They didn’t feel that the organization did enough to protect them from the abuse they suffered.
Following the trial, the US Olympic Committee developed a series of requirements for USA Gymnastics, including its own investigation where it would be determined if anyone in the organization knew of the athletes’ complaints of abuse. USA Gymnastics was also given 70 different recommendations for implementing a complete culture change, as detailed in a report from former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels.
The conviction of Nassar and related allegations also resulted in Congress passing a bill that demands the governing bodies of amateur athletic organizations to report any abuse allegations to law enforcement immediately. The House already approved the bill, and it’s simply awaiting the signature of the President to go into effect.