RED ROCKS GYMNASTICS

Utah Gymnastics Investigation Concludes, Mark Harlan Responds

Sep 14, 2023, 4:04 PM

utah gymnastics tom farden...

Utah Red Rocks co-head coach Tom Farden watches the area screen during an NCAA gymnastics meet versus the Brigham Young Cougars at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Chris Samuels, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY – An investigation into alleged emotional and verbal abuse by Women’s Gymnastics head coach Tom Farden came to an end on Thursday.

45 individuals were interviewed as a part of the investigation. This included student-athletes, former student-athletes, parents, coaching staff, and others.

Investigation Findings

It was found that Farden did not engage in any severe emotional, verbal, or physical abuse.

However, it was found that Farden did violate the Well-Being Policy on one occasion. There were other alleged incidents that would have violated the policy but the investigation could not find sufficient evidence.

The Utah Athletics Student-Athlete Health, Safety, and Well-Being Program states the following.

The Department of Athletics at the University of Utah believes it is our responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes. It is our desire to educate student-athletes and staff about the impact and long-term effects of abuse and inappropriate coaching techniques, as well as how to appropriately address issues, which are inconsistent with the University’s mission.

RELATED: Tom Farden, Utah Gymnastics Under Investigation For Alleged Emotional Abuse

According to the investigation report, Farden “more likely than not threw a stopwatch and a cellular telephone in frustration in the presence of student-athletes.”

Since this act was not repeated and did not involve inappropriate contact with a student-athlete, this incident also did not violate the Well Being Policy.

Farden also questioned diagnoses provided by trainers but there was no evidence that he disregarded the injuries of his student-athletes.

Utah Atheltic Director Mark Harlan’s Response

Although the investigation found that Farden’s actions were not found to be severe by NCAA policies, Utah AD Mark Harlan made it clear that he expects better from his coaches.

“As you can read in the report, there were a handful of instances in which Coach Farden should have demonstrated greater compassion and self-control, and better professionalism,” Harlan said.

Harlan said that he met with Farden and made his expectations for the program clear.

“I met with Coach Farden this week to express my disappointment and to share with him my expectations moving forward,” Harlan said.

Harlan also said that he and Deputy Director of Athletics Charmelle Green will be monitoring how the Red Rocks will be coached very closely for the foreseeable future.

“Both Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Director of Athletics Charmelle Green and I will be even more vigilant in monitoring his conduct and his coaching methods, and he will be held to a higher standard moving forward,” Harlan said.

Recommendations Going Forward

At the end of the investigation report, several recommendations were given for Farden and the Red Rocks as they move forward.

These included a performance improvement plan for Coach Farden, continuous support for the student-athlete advocate, addressing tension between parents and the program, ensuring that all student-athletes understand the terms of their scholarship, and additional attendance by athletics administrators at practice.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah Gymnastics Investigation Concludes, Mark Harlan Responds