The remaining members of the 21-member USA Gymnastics board of directors have agreed to resign from their positions following an ultimatum by the U.S. Olympic Committee to do so or face decertification of the national governing body. The move comes days after the top three officers of the board resigned in the wake of the scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years for sexually abusing more than 150 of the sport’s athletes.
The shakeup from the aftermath of Nassar’s sentencing has also had significant impacts at Michigan State University, where Nassar also worked, including the resignation of the university’s athletic director and president.
In a January 25 letter to USA Gymnastics, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun gave the remaining board until January 31 to resign following the departure of the chair, vice-chair and president. He called for an interim board to be seated stating that any current members could not be part of the interim board, except for the current athlete representatives if they choose to seek the post again. A new board, he said, would need to be seated within 12 months. Blackmun ordered the interim board to “substantively discuss progress” being made on reforms to the governing’s body’s sexual assault response at each board meeting, which the USOC intends to send a representative to attend.
“The shocking and tragic stories surrounding Larry Nassar’s years-long abuse of vulnerable athletes are now well known to all of us and the recently concluded Nassar sentencing hearings served to drive home the impact on individual victims in a way we will never forget,” Blackmun wrote. “We must take further action to ensure that it cannot happen again.”
Following Blackmun’s letter, the NGB had issued a statement saying it “completely embraces” the recommendations. “We understand that the requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being,” the statement said. “Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear.”