SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The University of Utah‘s award-winning gymnastics program is under review after its head coach, Tom Farden, allegedly verbally and emotionally abused and physically intimidated members of the team, according to a report by Deseret News.
Farden’s allegations reportedly include public shaming, a toxic and unwelcome environment, and physical intimidation.
The university has engaged the Kansas City-based law firm Husch Blackwell to conduct the review.
If true, the allegations directly conflict with the University of Utah’s Student-Athlete Health, Safety, and Well-Being Program, which states that coaches, volunteers, and staff associated with the university are to act positively and respectfully, enhancing the health, safety, and well-being on student-athletes.
According to the program, coaches are responsible for creating a safe training environment for student-athletes that is “free of abuse.”
Farden, historically, has been a key member of the gymnastics team — he led the Red Rocks to four consecutive Pac-12 Regular season Championships, three straight Pac-12 Championships, three NCAA Regional titles, and a third-place finish at the last three NCAA Championships, according to the university.
The University of Utah provided this statement following the allegations:
The well-being and safety of our student-athletes is of the utmost importance to the University of Utah and our Athletics Department. The University is committed to ensuring our student-athletes feel respected, supported and safe. This includes providing our student-athletes with access to campus and community resources as needed, whatever the situation.
After learning of concerns within our gymnastics program, the University ordered an outside independent review of the program. The review began in July, and the University expects to receive a final report in the coming weeks. The report will be made available via the University website once finalized.University of Utah, 8/28/23
This is a developing story. ABC4 will update this post with more information as it becomes available.