The head coach of Ohio State University’s diving club was placed on administrative leave and suspended from the sport’s national governing body shortly after a class-action lawsuit was filed, accusing a former diving coach of sexual misconduct.
Ohio State confirmed the actions involving coach John Appleman on Tuesday, though a university spokesman declined to disclose details of what led to the decision.
USA Diving, the Indianapolis-based, national organization that oversees the program, suspended Appleman on Thursday but also declined to comment on the reason. Spokeswoman Cait Cohn said in an emailed statement: "Providing a safe environment for USA Diving members is our top priority. USA Diving currently has suspended members and we are unable to comment further on this matter."
The diving club is part of the university's Department of Recreational Sports and not NCAA affiliated. Appleman has coached at Ohio State since November 2013, according to the university.
He was set to become head diving coach at the University of Arizona, which announced his hiring in June. However, that offer was rescinded without public explanation and Appleman remains on staff at Ohio State. He was placed on administrative leave Friday.
Though not a party to the lawsuit, Appleman was mentioned in a class-action lawsuit against USA Diving, the Ohio State Diving Club and a former coach that was filed last week in federal court in Indianapolis.
Former coach Will Bohonyi is accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl into a sexual relationship with him in mid-2014. The legal filing alleges that a teammate expressed concern to Appleman after seeing cellphone messages at the time between the ex-coach and the teen.
"Neither USA Diving nor Ohio State took immediate action against Bohonyi," the suit alleges.
Bohonyi was placed on USA Diving’s banned list in early 2015, but the group failed to report him to law enforcement in Ohio and Indiana, the suit alleges. However, an Ohio State spokesman has said that the university promptly reported the incident to proper authorities.
Ohio State officials said the school placed Bohonyi on administrative leave from the diving club in August 2014, and he was fired a week and a half later.
The university reopened an investigation into the matter in January, at the request of the alleged victim.
Appleman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.