Suspended Hawaii coach Charlie Wade attending USA Volleyball event in OC

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IRVINE — University of Hawaii men’s volleyball coach Charlie Wade, currently suspended by USA Volleyball and the U.S. Center for SafeSport while under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, has attended a USA Volleyball affiliated high performance camp in Orange County this week in apparent violation of the terms of his suspension.

Wade was at the Southern California Volleyball Association High Performance Camp at the Momentous Sports Center in Irvine Thursday.

He also attended the camp for several hours on multiple days earlier in the week, according to a person familiar with the camp.

Wade was placed on an interim-measure suspension by the U.S. Olympic and Paralymic Committee-created and financed U.S. Center for SafeSport in September 2018 after the center received allegations of sexual misconduct against Wade involving a then teenage female player he coached at an Orange County club in the 1990s.  The allegations were forwarded to SafeSport by USA Volleyball.

Charlie Wade (University of Hawaii photo)

Wade, who guided Hawaii to a No. 1 national ranking and the NCAA tournament final this past season, has denied any wrongdoing.

USA Volleyball did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“I’m only here picking up my son,” Wade said when asked why he was at the camp and if he wasn’t in violation of USA Volleyball and SafeSport policies.

“I’m picking up my son,” he continued as he began walking away.

Wade’s son who plays for a club in USA Volleyball’s Hawaii association is attending the camp.

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. Wade was placed on an interim-measure suspension on Sept. 5.

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.”

The high performance camp is conducted by the Southern California Volleyball Assocation, USA Volleyball’s affiliated association for the Southern California region. SCVA regional commissioner Ann Davenport did not respond to requests for comment.

USA Volleyball also lists a “Sanctioned Events Attendance Policy” on its website. The policy was created in response to Rick Butler, a Chicago area volleyball coach, who continued to attend USA Volleyball sanctioned events despite being banned for life by the organization in 2018 for having sexual relationship with teenage athletes.

“The safety and security of all USA Volleyball participants is a top priority. We believe in providing a safe, non-threatening environment for all to play, coach, officiate, watch and enjoy the game of volleyball. This policy defines those individuals who are not permitted to attend any USA Volleyball Sanctioned Events (“Events”) in any capacity, including as a spectator,” the policy states.

“Any individual who has been listed on USA Volleyball’s Suspended Members list for having violated the US Center for SafeSport’s Code, or for having committed such other offense that has jeopardized or could jeopardize the safety of other persons, shall be prohibited from attending or participating in any Event, in any capacity, including as a spectator (subject to applicable laws and regulations). Such prohibition shall apply to the individual for the period he or she is suspended from USA Volleyball.

“Those prohibited from attending any Events under this policy shall not purchase tickets or otherwise plan to attend or participate in said Events in any capacity. In the event a prohibited individual is witnessed at Events, that individual will be immediately asked to leave the premises by Events staff, Events security, and/or local law enforcement as necessary.”

The website page listing the policy also includes a link to a current list of “individuals prohibited from attending USAV sanctioned events.” Wade is on the prohibited list.

Wade, wearing a black t-shirt with a large Under Armour logo, Hawaii’s official outfitter, appeared startled when first approached as he stood next to a series of courts where scrimmages were held Thursday.

“I’ve never received anything from USA Volleyball, only SafeSport,” Wade said.

Wade’s suspension has been listed on USA Volleyball’s public website for months. Hawaii officials said they were not aware of Wade’s suspension until it was reported by the Register this past April. The Redondo Beach native and former Cal State Fullerton assistant was able to continue coaching during the college season because the NCAA does not recognize suspensions by SafeSport or the national Olympic sport governing bodies affiliated with the USOC.

The camp is the first step in what USA Volleyball describes as the pipeline to the U.S. national team and features a number of NCAA Division I prospects.

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