Swimmers want Gurley-like defense for UGA coach Jack Bauerle

ATHENS — The University of Georgia’s vigorous defense of football player Todd Gurley in the face of NCAA allegations has raised the ire of some former swimmers and UGA alums. They say that legendary swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle hasn’t been afforded the same support by the school.

Former Olympians and All-Americans Kristy Kowal and Kara Forbis sent to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what they called an “open letter to the University of Georgia” complaining that Bauerle was not been similarly supported in his ongoing NCAA issue. Whitney Goodstone, a UGA business school graduate, also submitted an opinion piece that made the same argument.

Bauerle, who has led the women’s swim team to five national titles over 35 years, has been suspended from his duties as the Bulldogs coach since Jan. 4. The NCAA alleges that Bauerle provided an extra benefit to star swimmer Chase Kalisz and a breach of the coach’s conduct code when he interceded on an academic matter by asking a university professor for help in December 2013.

UGA goes before the NCAA committee on infractions on those charges on Thursday. Per his agreement with the university, Bauerle has had to pay for his own legal representation in the case and for the university’s the legal representation.

Informed of the swimmers’ complaints, McGarity disagreed with their assessment.

“I’d just say we support Jack and we have all the way through and we’re still fighting for this,” McGarity said. “Jack knows we’re doing that. That’s all that matters.”

McGarity pointed out that UGA is seeking to get the NCAA to reduce the charges against Bauerle from a Level I major violation to Level II.

Following are the letters received by The AJC:

October 12th, 2014

An Open Letter to The University of Georgia:

Jack Bauerle has been a loyal Bulldog for 34 years.  Over these years, his guidance and mentorship has produced the following:

  • NCAA Women of the Year: 3
  • NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship Winners: 34
  • This ranks the Georgia Swimming and Diving PROGRAM 8th out of all COLLEGES in the US
  • SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year: 6
  • SEC Post Graduate Scholarship Winners: 15
  • Capital One Cosida Academic All Americans: 30
  • College Swim Coaches of America Assoc. All America Team: Too many to count
  • Foundation Fellowship: 8
  • Woody Hayes National Scholar Athlete: 1
  • Today’s Top VIII award: 3

As the news broke of Todd Gurley’s suspension, a subsequent statement from Athletic Director Greg McGarity noted, ‘I encourage the Bulldog Nation to continue to pull together during this difficult time and support all of our coaches and student-athletes as we move forward.” This was very confusing.

We ask where has that public support been for Jack Bauerle’s 35 years of service to Bulldog Nation?  Where is the support for someone who has guided his student-athletes to accomplish all of the above academically; not to mention the numerous SEC and NCAA championships his teams have won?

Have you made it clear that Jack “is still a member of the Bulldog family, and we will support him in every way we can?”  We would argue, that NO you haven’t made that clear in your actions.

It’s also interesting that Jack currently does not have a title listed on georgiadogs.com, but a member of the athletic department staff who resigned in September still has a title and bio on the website. Personally, as alumni of the program, that’s a slap in the face.  To see the university that you were honored to compete for, treat someone who has given so much to so many with such disrespect is disheartening.

The lack of respect for someone who truly embodies the NCAA’s motto and guides his student-athletes to ‘go pro in something other than their sport’ begs the question, WHY?  WHY have you approached Jack’s situation differently than you have approached others?

Showing the power of teamwork, as noted in the Athletic Department’s mission statement: We clearly understand that the success of any one person is always the result of dedicated effort on the part of many people, the Swimming and Diving alumni have amassed more than 100 letters speaking to Jack’s character and integrity.  These letters have been sent to the NCAA prior to the upcoming hearing.  That’s because we believe that Jack truly embodies the values set forth in the athletic department’s mission statement: Integrity, Personal Development, Teamwork, Excellence and Leadership.

Signed,

Kristy Kowal – All American, Olympian, World Champion, NCAA Woman of the Year, 1996-2000

Kara Forbis – All American, Academic All American, USA Swimming National Team Member, 1994-98

 

“Bulldog Great Thrown Under the Bus”

By Whitney Goodstone

Upon the news of Todd Gurley’s alleged NCAA rules infraction, the Bulldog Nation’s moans could be heard around the country and the University of Georgia acted as I would expect by stepping in with lightning speed; for despite the failure of our football program to deliver a national championship in 34 years (the irony abounds), football is big business for the University and Athens, and Gurley playing benefits both.

Reaction has not been so swift for Coach Jack Bauerle, who has not been allowed to coach his team for over nine months while waiting on UGA and a NCAA investigation and hearing. This is a disgrace to Georgia!

Bauerle has been a Bulldog for 44 years, first as a record-breaking swimmer, then as a record-breaking coach. Bauerle does more than coach swimmers who break national and world records, bringing home championships for the University; he coaches swimmers who go on to be pillars of their community and exemplary representatives of UGA.

Bauerle, a three-time Olympic coach, was at the helm when Team USA won 14 medals under his watch in Beijing 2008. At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, I could not have been prouder as a Georgia alumna, than when standing in the Sydney Aquatic Centre as Coach Bauerle and the women’s USA freestyle team, including UGA’s Courtney Shealy, won their record-breaking gold medal!

Contrast my pride then with my disgust now because of the lack of loyalty from McGarity and the University for Coach Bauerle. His suspension and the gutless way McGarity has handled it does not make the news like Gurley’s suspension. This is wrong: a man’s remarkable coaching career has been put on hold while the NCAA uses Coach Bauerle’s alleged infraction to flex its muscle and McGarity and the University use Coach Bauerle as the sacrificial lamb. At some point it was stated that the University “imposed meaningful corrective measures and/or penalties” by immediately suspending Coach Bauerle…before any investigation occurred. So now Coach Bauerle has been basically ignored during an ongoing nine month investigation and suspended since April 4, 2014?!

Ultimately, the University is a state run educational institution and Coach Bauerle’s swimmers consistently academically outperform athletes nationally. His catch cry, “Now go get some A’s” after every practice is well known. Having known Coach Bauerle for 40 years and the professor involved for more than ten years, I know both men to be extremely honorably people. If the swimmer contradicts them, the NCAA should should question if the stress and immaturity of the swimmer clouded his memory, at the very least. Had this action been brought for a student and not a “student-athlete”, over which the almighty NCAA asserts its dominion, none of this would be seen as an “improper benefit”.

During this ongoing investigation and hearing, the veteran coach is paying for his own legal fees and ultimately the University’s legal fees while UGA retains Gurley’s attorney. All for an alleged infraction that should never have been treated the way it has been by the University or the NCAA. The University has stated that Gurley “is still a member of the Bulldog family, and we will support him in every way we can.” This is great and I could not agree more, but where is this support for Coach Bauerle?

Coach Bauerle and the swim program do not mean big money for the University so we don’t see the support that we should for our long-standing coach. If the handling of Coach Bauerle’s suspension pushes one of our winningest coaches away from Georgia, it will be a massive loss and the Bulldog Nation must challenge whether McGarity is “taking all appropriate steps to support our student-athletes and our coaches and to act in the best interests of the University of Georgia”.


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