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The U.S. Center for SafeSport is opening an investigation into long-time University of California women’s swimming coach and 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s swimming coach Teri McKeever over multiple allegations of verbal and emotional abuse, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports Thursday afternoon. 

SafeSport’s decision to investigate McKeever follows a story published Tuesday in the Orange County Register that reported that 19 current and former Cal swimmers, six parents and a former member of the men’s team allege that McKeever has been verbally and emotionally abusing swimmers on the team for decades. 

McKeever, 60, was placed on administrative leave at Cal Wednesday evening.

USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body, referred the case to SafeSport, which took jurisdiction in the matter, according to the person with knowledge of the matter who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

SafeSport opened in March 2017 to investigate sexual abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports, but it has discretion to investigate other cases involving physical and emotional abuse as well.

Earlier this month, SafeSport suspended well-known U.S. figure skating coach and 1988 Olympic pairs bronze medalist Peter Oppegard for “physical and emotional” misconduct after he allegedly bit a teenage female skater he was coaching during a 2013 training session, among other allegations.

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Verbal AND emotional abuse?


Man....this group would have hated my rugby coach, our junior A coach and pretty much every motivator I have ever known in my life.


While I don't argue that coaches/coaching and especially parents take things to far in seeking perfection we always know the line gets blurred between abuse and motivation

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SafeSport is going to be busy with investigations over the coming years unfortunately. I’m just glad that these incidents are coming to the forefront more and more so those responsible can no longer continue their abusive ways hurting others while hiding in the shadows. Just because something happened before doesn’t mean it’s right. These stories are showing there’s progress being made to becoming a better and safer society.

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