Junior Volleyball Association bans Coach Rick Butler after allegations YouTube First Coast News
YouTube First Coast News

Chicago-area youth volleyball coach Rick Butler has been banned, according to the Wisconsin-based Junior Volleyball Association.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, the news came to many’s surprise when the association “permanently disqualified” Butler from participating in its activities — along with last month’s expulsion of Butler by USA Volleyball.

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Records show that Butler helped form The Junior Volleyball Association, appearing to have left a door open to his eventual return but it may not be enough to prevent a growing divide between USA volleyball and the groups that have recently banned Butler.

On Sunday in an emailed “statement to our members,” the JVA cited the AAU’s recent move, according to the news outlet.

“The JVA Board of Directors has determined that JVA will act in accordance with the decision of the AAU and is indefinitely suspending Rick Butler from participation in all JVA-hosted and JVA-insured events,” it said. “This action is effective immediately.”

It is not clear how the ban by the AAU and the JVA will affect Butler’s club, Sports Performance Volleyball in Aurora. Butler has not been a member of the JVA for more than a year, according to its executive director.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, there seems to be a falling out between USA Volleyball, the AAU as well as the JVA. In a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times sent early last week by USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis to AAU President Roger Goudy, the letter cited Sun-Times coverage of the Butler controversy and notified the AAU that it would no longer recognize the AAU as an affiliated organization.

It went on to say they would have no tolerance for “any association with coaches, individuals or other organizations who engage in or accept hurtful actions against young people.”

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USA Volleyball issued the following statement by Davis on Sunday regarding the JVA’s decision:

“While we applaud the JVA for ultimately doing the right thing, it is clear from their statement that their values do not match those of USA Volleyball. They have clearly stated that their action is only a result of the recent decision made by the AAU to ban Rick Butler and not a result of their belief that Mr. Butler has done any wrong. Furthermore, unlike USA Volleyball which has revoked Mr. Butler’s membership for life without the possibility of reinstatement, the JVA has suspended him indefinitely which affords him the chance to return to the JVA. USA Volleyball will continue to prioritize the safety of our members.”

The news comes after more than 20 years after USA Volleyball first banned Butler, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1995, that happened after Sarah Powers-Barnhard, Julie Romias and Christine Tuzi alleged that Butler sexually abused them in the 1980s while he was their coach and they were all under the age of 18.

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