The University of Hawaii is reviewing a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct against head men’s volleyball coach Charlie Wade.
Wade has been under suspension from USA Volleyball-sanctioned events since September, but has continued to coach his team during this season according to the Orange County Register. The U.S. Center for Safesport has been investigating the allegation, and the school is also undergoing a review.
Wade is accused of having engaged in sexual misconduct with an underage female athlete who played for him at the club level during the early 1990s. The misconduct allegedly continued during the athlete's college career. USA Volleyball was made aware of the allegation in February 2018, and forwarded the case to SafeSport in March.
Wade has denied any wrongdoing and, according to the university, has cooperated with the investigation. A lawyer for Wade reportedly reached out to SafeSport for an update as recently as April 4, but got no response. The alleged victim has expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation.
The Register reports that SafeSport does not discuss “specific matters to protect the integrity of the investigative process and those involved, including witnesses and potential victims.”
The men’s NCAA volleyball championship is currently underway, and Hawaii is the top-seeded team in the event.
The allegations against Wade aren’t the first to send shockwaves through the tournament. Scott Touzinsky, an assistant for Long Beach State, left the program last week after it was revealed that he was sanctioned by SafeSport for similar allegations.
NCAA events don’t fall under the authority of SafeSport, USA Volleyball or the U.S. Olympic Committee — so coaches suspended by those organizations are not prohibited from continuing in an NCAA capacity.
Wade has been a coach with either the men’s or women’s volleyball programs at UH dating back to 1995.
University of Hawaii spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl told the Honolulu Star Advertiser that the university is standing by Wade for the time being.
“One step at a time,” Meisenzahl said. “Let’s see what this investigation yields, if anything at all, and take it from there. But right now, Charlie Wade is our volleyball coach.”