Has Charlie Wade requested a SafeSport hearing? Wade, attorney and University of Hawaii won’t say

by in News

Since it was revealed last week that Hawaii men’s volleyball coach Charlie Wade has been suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Volleyball since September, Wade, his attorney and university officials have repeatedly complained about what they describe as SafeSport’s failure to respond to requests for updates on the center’s investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against the coach.

But Wade, his attorney, Michael Green, and university officials have also either refused to answer or deferred questions as to whether Wade has requested a 72-hour emergency hearing with SafeSport that could lift the suspension, or if he has requested any hearing with the center at all.

SafeSport placed Wade on an interim-measure suspension in September after receiving from USA Volleyball sexual misconduct allegations against Wade involving a then teenage female player he coached at an Orange County club in the 1990s.

Despite the suspension and being under investigation by SafeSport, Wade has continued coaching Hawaii this season with his team ranked No.1 and in the semifinals Thursday night of the NCAA tournament. The NCAA does not recognize SafeSport or national governing body suspensions.

Charlie Wade (University of Hawaii photo)

While an investigation proceeds SafeSport can take interim measures including suspension of an accused individual that “may be appropriate to ensure the safety or well being” of the reporting party, other athletes and persons.

Under SafeSport code, an individual under an interim-measure suspension “is prohibited from participating in any capacity in any activity or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies recognized by the USOC, and/or a Local Affiliated Organization of a national governing body recognized by the USOC pending final resolution of the matter.”

But the SafeSport code also allows individuals on interim-measure suspension to request a hearing within 72-hours in which an arbitrator could reduce or eliminate the interim-measure suspension. During the hearing the accused presents a defense and evidence.

SafeSport has never denied a 72-hour hearing request, according a spokesman for the Center.

“We have seen this in other cases where people wrongly make it sound as if there’s no ‘recourse for a responding party — untrue,” said Dan Hill, a spokesman for SafeSport.

“Not only is it in the written correspondence, it’s in the SafeSport Code which is on the Center’s website.”

In addition to questions from the Southern California New Group on the matter, Wade was asked at an NCAA tournament press conference this week by Rae Loverde, a veteran volleyball writer, if he has requested a 72-hour hearing.

“Yeah, we’re just going to talk about volleyball this week,” Wade responded. “Anything, you know we kind of operated with a lot distractions throughout the year so, um, we’re just focused on volleyball right now.”

The Southern California News Group reported last week that USA Volleyball in February 2018 became aware of allegations regarding Wade and possible sexual misconduct involving a female player who played for him at Magnum Volleyball Club in Anaheim, according to SafeSport and USA Volleyball documents. The allegations also charge that Wade’s misconduct continued while the athlete was in college.

USA Volleyball forwarded the case to SafeSport last March but the center did not contact the alleged victim for another month, according to SafeSport documents and a person familiar with the case. SafeSport began investigating in July or August and agreed that the case fell under the center’s jurisdiction in September.

Shortly thereafter, Wade was informed of his interim-measure suspension. Under SafeSport code interim-measure notifications list the severity of the allegations against a responding party, in this case Wade, as well contain information on the investigative and adjudication process.

Wade has been listed as suspended on a public list on the USA Volleyball website since at least last fall.

Wade has “denied any type of misconduct,” according to a statement released by the university.

Hawaii announced it is reviewing the matter after publication of the SCNG report. In doing so university officials along with Green have contributed to a narrative that SafeSport has been unresponsive and suggests the center is responsible for the delay in Wade being formally interviewed by SafeSport.

“He still has not been interviewed and has not heard from SafeSport since (September),” the university said in a statement last week. “His attorney formally requested, multiple times, and as recently as April 4, that SafeSport do an update on the investigation. SafeSport has not yet responded.”

Wade has not responded to multiple requests for comment from SCNG including specific questions about whether he has requested a 72-hour hearing or any hearing. Green, Wade’s attorney, has also refused to answer questions about whether he or Wade have asked SafeSport for hearings.

“He is not to answer a single question you are requesting,” Green wrote in an email to SCNG this week.

The University referred questions about the SafeSport hearing issue to Green.

While Wade’s suspension has been listed on SafeSport and USA Volleyball’s websites for months, university officials said they were unaware of the allegations until the SCNG report.

SCNG asked Hawaii president David Lassner in an email this week if the university was concerned that Wade had not previously disclosed the suspension to school officials. Lassner did not respond.

“That is a personnel matter and will be considered during the internal review, which cannot be completed before the SafeSport investigation is complete,” Dan Meisenzahl, a university spokesman, said in a statement, referring to Wade’s delayed disclosure. “The university has recently reached out through multiple channels to SafeSport on the investigation timeline and what info can be shared and when. The university is waiting for a response but to be fair, the requests were just submitted.”

Meisenzahl said the university has not contacted former Magnum players, coaches or employees as part of the school’s review of the Wade allegations.

“That step has not been considered as it is premature at this early stage,” Meisenzahl said.