(ATR) The United States Olympic Committee will begin 2019 minus one of its sponsors.
(Dick's Sporting Goods Twitter)
Dick’s Sporting Goods is not renewing its contract with the USOC past the end of the year, according to multiple reports.
The sporting goods company cited “a new investment focus” as the reason for the change in a statement to Reuters.
But the decision comes on the heels of a damning report earlier this month on the USOC’s handling of the sexual-abuse scandal surrounding former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
The key conclusion of the Ropes & Gray report
was that two top USOC executives failed to report allegations of sexual abuse against members of the national gymnastics team by Nassar for nearly one year after they learned of them.
Alan Ashley was fired as USOC sports performance chief the same day the report was released. Scott Blackmun, CEO since 2010, had resigned in February citing health problems. Nassar is now in prison for the rest of his life.
Dick’s is the first of USOC’s 22 sponsors to change its stance in the wake of the Ropes & Gray report.
The decision spells the end of Dick’s Contenders program, which provided U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls with flexible job scheduling and a highly competitive wage while working for the company.
Dick’s told Reuters
that all 86 athletes currently in its Contenders program will be given the option to remain as associates while moving to a traditional part-time role beginning January 1.
Keeping its remaining corporate sponsors on board should be a major priority for the USOC in the coming months.
According to Bloomberg, the USOC received $387 million from its corporate partners, or 42 percent of its total revenue, in the four-year cycle from 2013-16.
Written by Gerard Farek
For general comments or questions, click here.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.