A U.S. senator asked the U.S. Olympic Committee on Monday to explain why officials linked to the misuse of more than $1.3 million in grants to amateur boxing still had USOC jobs.
In a letter to USOC president Bill Hybl, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called for a “substantive USOC penalty” against former leaders of USA Boxing and said failure to do so “would set a harmful precedent.”
“It would definitely not comport with the high standards of integrity and accountability that athletes, USOC members and the American public deserve and expect,” he said Monday.
The letter, released by McCain’s office in Washington, mentioned three former USA Boxing officials involved in the scandal and targeted two - Jim Fox, a former boxing executive director and now head of the USOC’s broadcast division; and Steve Ducoff, a former boxing treasurer and currently volunteer head of a USOC committee.
McCain said he was especially concerned that officials implicated in the case remained on the job in the Olympic community and “would appreciate being informed of the rationale for allowing individuals allegedly involved in the misallocation of over $3 million in USOC funds to remain with the USOC. …
“This is not a case of minor management errors or a series of administrative oversights.”
Fox remains in his job while the district attorney in the USOC’s hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo., considers bringing charges in the case.
USOC executive director Dick Schultz said no administrative action would be taken against Fox as long as the D.A.’s investigation remained open.
Fox, reached at his office in Colorado Springs, said he had not seen the letter and declined to comment. Phone calls to Ducoff’s office were not answered, and a number for Mathis was not available.
While acknowledging the case “has been a difficult and painful situation for the USOC,” McCain said he hoped his intervention “will lead the USOC to strengthen its oversight procedures for all (sports governing bodies) to prevent any similar misconduct in the future.”
McCain is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which is holding hearings on revisions in the Amateur Sports Act, the 1978 federal law that gives the USOC ultimate authority over Olympic sports in the United States.
Last February, after lengthy and often heated negotiations, USA Boxing agreed to repay more than $1.3 million, 40 percent of the questionable spending of $3.18 million in USOC grants uncovered by an Olympic committee audit.
The amount was reduced after accountants agreed that $1.9 million had been spent on valid athlete programs, but not originally reported. USA Boxing has an annual budget of $2.8 million.
Ducoff, treasurer of USA Boxing most of the time when the improper spending took place, is executive director of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., and co-chair of the USOC Pan American Games review committee, a volunteer position.
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.