THE BIG PICTURE: Shellie Pfohl announces she is leaving U.S. Center for SafeSport at year’s end

The U.S. Center for SafeSport is in the market for a new chief executive after Shellie Pfohl announced she will step down at the end of the year.

Phofl joined the fledgling organization in November of 2016 and headed the staff as the Center began operations in March, 2017. The Center’s statement noted that in this start-up period, “the Center obtained Congressional Authorization, received more than 1,800 reports, issued over 400 disciplinary actions and made nearly 300 individuals permanently ineligible, a testament to the need for the Center and its important work.”

She testified impressively before a House panel on the sex abuse scandals, but noted that the Center has been hamstrung by limited funding and insufficient staffing to handle the growing volume of reports that it was receiving.

Pfohl came to the Center from her role as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (2010-16) and her career has been focused on fitness rather than law enforcement.

The Center named Regis Becker as interim chief executive. Becker is a member of the Center’s Board of Directors and was a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation early in his career. He launched the ethics and compliance program at Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, so his experience matches well with the operating needs of the Center.

Center Board chair Frank Marshall said a new, permanent chief executive is expected to be named early on 2019. “ “The Board and team are focused on a new chapter of growth, initiatives and development and remain committed to creating a national sport culture centered on athlete well-being.”

The Center may be better going forward with someone with more law enforcement experience, but this is one more senior management change in a time of tumult for the Olympic Movement in the U.S.