Members of the TCU swimming and diving team want an explanation of why their coach "resigned," and they might never hear an official response.
The mysterious "resignation" of Sam Busch on Feb. 18 remains a matter for TCU's Title IX office, which is currently investigating the matter.
Don't let the litigious phrasing fool you: Busch was going to be fired, and there is not much to investigate.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Of the many coaches hired by TCU this century, Busch was not just a miss but a belly flop from the high dive into a dry well.
From alleged verbally abusive behavior to inappropriate language and antics, Busch's hiring was a disaster, and the handling of his resignation had one major flaw — the swimmers and divers he coached, and alienated, deserved at least some explanation.
"They told us nothing," said one TCU swimmer, who along with three teammates spoke to the Star-Telegram. "They left us to explain the whole thing, and we didn't know the answer."
Here are the answers:
* According to several sources, staffers at TCU's rec center, the Rickel, complained to TCU athletic department officials of Busch verbally berating them about practice times at the pool, among other concerns.
* Busch was often said to be seen at local bars drinking and fraternizing with students.
* One swimmer said Busch physically confronted an assistant coach.
* On road trips, Busch was known to leave the team hotel after hours while leaving the responsibilities of the team to his assistants.
One TCU athletic department official said there was no instance of sexual misconduct; another department official said that issue is why the matter is currently under investigation by Title IX.
TCU director of athletics Jeremiah Donati would not comment for this column. Busch could not be reached for comment; TCU swimmers and administrators said they have not seen or heard from him since he left.
On Feb. 3, Busch was placed on administrative leave pending a review by the athletic department. That was approximately two weeks before the start of the Big 12 championship meet.
On Feb. 17 — four days before the start of the Big 12 meet — Busch "resigned." He was going to be fired.
TCU athletic department officials met with the student athletes and told them that Busch had resigned, less than six months after he was hired. They said the team would be coached by assistants the remainder of the season but that it was now a Title IX matter.
Per Title IX rules and restrictions, once that office takes over, the athletic department is eliminated from the process.
Swimmers and divers were frustrated because, while they had heard and witnessed some of the behaviors that led to Busch resigning, they had to explain to whomever asked why, when they didn't know.
There has to be some sort of middle ground here. While the department can't say too much in order to comply with Title IX policy, saying nothing to the student athletes should not have been the final answer.
The real answer is Busch should never have been hired, and his behavior in his one season was a source of constant embarrassment and irritation to the athletic department.
Busch was hired to replace Richard Sybesma, who in June 2017 retired after 38 seasons as TCU's head swimming and diving coach.
Sybesma was a popular man on campus and in the community. He also became a source of irritation for swimmers and divers who complained to department officials that they didn't think he was hard enough on the team, that the coach was a reason for the team's lack of success.
When Sybesma retired, then-TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte found Busch, whose father, Frank, was a six-time NCAA Coach of the Year at the University of Arizona. Frank Busch also led Team USA to 64 medals in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Even though Sam Busch did not swim in college, Del Conte thought he had a young, energetic, bloodline lock to lead a nonrevenue program and, more specifically, not be a problem. Sam Busch's resume in swimming included coaching stops on the high school level as well as Auburn, Virginia and Arizona.
Although he was in his early 30s, he looked young, athletic and kept himself in good enough shape to swim with the team.
One of the primary goals for any major athletic department is that the lower nonrevenue sports, such as swimming and diving, are headache-free.
Busch almost immediately changed that as he implemented new rules, standards and regulations that were counter to Sybesma's ways. The swimmers and divers didn't care for that, either. Busch also openly complained about his predecessor to any set of ears that would listen.
He openly complained about TCU's facilities; TCU's pool is six lanes and 25 yards — well short of Olympic standards.
Student athletes complaining about their coach isn't new. The new coach complaining about the old coach is always a priority in their first year on the job. A coach complaining about facilities is a given.
If it had been just those concerns, Sam Busch would still be the TCU swimming and diving coach.
But as the complaints and evidence of unprofessional to bad behavior piled up, the athletic department felt it had no choice but to allow him to "resign" even though the biggest meet of the season was upcoming.
The department is scheduled to begin interviewing new candidates as soon as next week to re-establish a program that is in disarray. The team was scheduled to have a banquet this weekend, but after a series of embarrassing social media posts and behaviors by some members of the team, the department canceled the event.
The department is frustrated with the team, and the team is frustrated with the department.
And there's your answer.