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Utah's 'Red Rocks' gymnastics program, head coach under investigation

Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 28, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The immensely popular and successful "Red Rocks" gymnastics program at the University of Utah, and head coach Tom Farden, is under investigation after reported claims of emotional abuse, the school confirmed Monday.

According to a statement from school officials, the investigation began in July and is expected to be completed soon.

"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," the statement said.

A report in the Deseret News claimed former gymnasts and their parents alleged verbal and emotional abuse by Farden, along with physical intimidation. None of the other gymnasts said they were sexually abused by coaches.

Some of the accusations against Farden reported by the Deseret News include verbal abuse and public shaming, isolating gymnasts from their family, and lack of concern over the physical and emotional health of athletes. The report also claimed Farden threw objects inside the gym and made athletes feel unsafe.

Farden has been with the Utes since 2011, and began serving as the team's co-head coach in 2016 before becoming the solo head coach in 2020.

The university said it began its investigation "after learning of concerns within our gymnastics program." The school said it provides its student-athletes with access to "campus and community resources as needed."