Some Olympic athletes say Ruger got the boot because he wasn’t advocating adequately for them. Others of our sources believe he performed decently in a conflicted job (with his salary paid by USOC even as he was being mandated to confront it under the Amateur Sports Act).For now, the allegations have not been reported elsewhere. (Concussion Inc.)
Regardless of how effective he was, there are dangling questions concerning Ruger’s sudden retirement this year, and whether his accompanying severance package was a “golden parachute” designed to keep him from speaking with full candor to federal investigators.
Now a new controversy has emerged – over the hiring process for Ruger’s successor, Kacie Wallace.
A group of dissident Olympic athletes ... has complained to the USOC that the Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC) was not consulted in Wallace’s selection. The Sports Act specifies such consultation.
* * *Another point of contention is that the job description says the ombudsperson is tasked with advocating for “elite” athletes. The word “elite,” however, is not in the Sports Act. It’s easy to see how a truncated definition of the role could be used to argue that complaints of one sort or another are not in the ombudsperson’s jurisdiction.
And to get right down to it, it is especially easy to discern how, with the extra-statutory qualifier “elite,” a young, not-yet-elite athlete at the local club level who is, say, sexually abused, can be left without appropriate advocacy at the highest levels of the USOC.
* * *Contacted by email, assistant ombudsperson Sara Clark, who is running the office during the transition from Ruger to Wallace, told Concussion Inc., “The new athlete ombudsman has not started her employment yet. And I cannot comment” on our inquiry.
Related posts: Complaint of USA Swimming Officials to be Heard by Olympic Ombuds; ABA 2011 Dispute Resolution Conference Set for Denver; Olympic Ombuds to Speak at ABA Dispute Resolution Conference; South Sudanese Runner Will Compete in Olympics With Help from USOC Ombuds; IOA Posts Agenda for 2014 Conference in Denver; Job Posting; U.S. Olympic Committee Appoints Next Ombuds.