Why should only coaches be given lifetime bans for being found to have mistreated or abused athletes?

Why are PSO (Provincial Sport Organization) and NSO (National Sport Organization) Executives and Board members protected? How does protecting PSO & NSO Executives and Boards prevent abuse of power? How does making PSO & NSO Executives and Boards exempt from lifetime bans prevent abuse of power, prevent the mistreatment and abuse of athletes and of coaches?

If policies developed and implemented by PSO & NSO Executives and Boards place athletes at risk of mistreatment and of abuse by coaches then PSO & NSO Executives and Boards are as guilty of any mistreatment and abuse that any coach is found to be guilty.

If policies developed and implemented by PSO & NSO Executives and Boards directly result in the mistreatment and/or abuse of athletes, then PSO & NSO Executives and Boards are alone responsible for the mistreatment and abuse.

So then… why are these Executives & Board members not at equal risk of receiving a lifetime ban from a sport or sport altogether?

I believe that by protecting and making exempt PSO & NSO Executives and Boards from bans opens the door to the abuse of power which leads directly to the mistreatment and/or abuse of not only athlete but equally of coaches.

I believe that Sport Canada is directly allowing PSO & NSO Executives and Boards to get away with the mistreatment and/or abuse of both athletes & coaches as a result of its addition of the “organizational reputation” clause into the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). As a result, it is Sport Canada that is not only allowing for the cycle of mistreatment and abuse of athletes & coaches to continue, Sport Canada is in fact encouraging the culture of mistreatment and abuse of athletes and coaches to exist.

If anyone attempts to state that its difficult to implement ‘lifetime bans’ on PSO and NSO Executives and Board members, I disagree…

The entire Board and all Executives of USA Gymnastics were required to step down in light of the abuse scandal relating to the team doctor of USA Gymnastics. Thus, any claims that the sport will ‘fall apart’ if everyone is required to step down are unsubstantiated, and in the case of abuse, even if the risk of the sport ‘falling apart’ temporarily is real, it far outweighs the message that is made by allowing all those involved in the abuse to be allowed to continue in positions of power and oversight.

Regarding a sport “falling apart”: no sport will fall apart because the athletes, the coaches and the clubs will not fall apart if and when the highest levels within the sport organization are temporarily vacant. Athletes who effectively have/had no functional sport organization during the Coronavirus outbreak & subsequent quarantine still continued on training in seclusion, ready for the instant that their sport and their sport organization resumed operation.

Executives and Boards are always calling for the sky to fall without their involvement, much like Swim Ontario (SO) and Swimming Natation Canada (SNC) always calling for the sky to fall if unattached registration was reinstated. Both SO and SNC claim and have claimed that unattached registration of swimmers (i.e no mandatory club membership) would decimate the sport as there would be no volunteer officials to assist in running swim meets. Oh really? How is it then that Masters Swimming Ontario (MSO) operates as a complete standalone organization without any affiliation to either SO and SNC and just so happens to have not only a fully functioning schedule of swim meets but has its own Provincial Championships with a full contingent of officials at all meets? Huh? How is that possible? Exactly, Executives & Boards of PSOs and NSOs (such as SO and SNC) want everyone to believe that the sport cannot live, cannot exist without them when the reality is that any sport can exist without Executives & Boards… all that a sport needs to thrive are athletes. If that wasn’t enough, Masters Swimming Ontario not only allows for a full season ‘unattached’ membership, it even allows for a single event registration!  That’s right, just like Triathlon Ontario/Canada that allow for single event registrants (i.e. you can do 1 triathlon and register as a member of Triathlon Ontario just for that 1 triathlon). And even with single event registration masters swimming and the sport of triathlon are thriving and both have officials to ensure proper levels of safety and rule compliance during competitions… sorry… where and when is the sky exactly supposed to fall?

As for cases where athlete and coach mistreatment and abuse occurred in past, I believe there is value in the current Executive & Board to instate a lifetime ban on former Executives and Board members. It is the necessary statement to all PSO & NSO staff that athlete and coach mistreatment and abuse is not tolerated… ever and will carry consequences even if the issue arises many years in the future.

Athletes, parents of athletes & coaches, its time to hold Sport Canada to a higher standard.  Coaches alone should not be made out to be scapegoats for PSO & NSO Executives and Boards. Absolutely coaches need to be held responsible for their actions, but only when PSO & NSO Executives and Boards are equally held responsible for their own actions will sport have a chance at eliminating mistreatment and abuse.