By Garrison Murphy ’15
In late October, Athletic Director Mr. Bill Woods received a phone call from the Arizona Interscholastic Association inquiring about swimmer Jack Blake ’15.
Mr. Woods said he soon realized the call was part of an investigation of Blake and the athletic department over allegations of his “going pro,” meaning he accepted endorsements for his swimming – a move that could disqualify Blake from competing in AIA events like the state swimming championship.
Swimswam.com, a swimming website, posted a video Blake filmed on his GoPro camera and titled it with a play on words related to the name of the company, “Jack Blake goes pro at 2014 U.S national select camp.”
This prompted a concerned person to contact the AIA, who subsequently launched an investigation even though Blake said he had not even considered going pro.
“I made a video for my friends, … tweeted the link and Swimswam got the video,” Blake said. “It got twisted and … for a second it looked like (I couldn’t compete in state).”
Blake filmed the video at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs as he said was invited to the 2014 Junior National Select Camp for swimmers, an elite camp for the nation’s top high school swimmers.
“The timing of it made it seem like someone was trying to stir the pot,” Mr. Woods said. “They called me and asked me if one of our swimmers is a professional … no action was taken and nothing formal was done by the AIA.”
Coaches and administrators “felt most of the heat” and the threat of being disqualified by the AIA was minimal, according to Blake.
“I got a couple of calls … everybody loves to hate the winner,” said head swim coach Mr. Pat O’Neill. “It was just some jealous parent making a silly mistake. There was someone investigating, so yeah it was official … there was some chance (that he could not compete in the state championship).”
The AIA has not responded to multiple emails and phone calls from The Roundup seeking comment about the matter.
Accepting endorsements is rare in high school swimming, according to Mr. Woods – a Brophy swimmer has not gone pro in at least 25 years.
Although the AIA does not specify its standing on swimming endorsements, according to Mr. O’Neill, the NCAA does, which motivates swimmers to maintain amateur status.
Here is the video posted on Swimswam: http://swimswam.com/video-jack-blake-goes-pro-2014-u-s-national-select-camp/