Statement from Rick and Cheryl Butler – June 2022

This week, Sports Performance achieved unparalleled success after the program won its 100th National Championship. We are immensely proud of the business we built and the coaches, players, and supporters who are part of the SPVB Family. Unfortunately, during this time we have continued to be the target of outside attacks which have already caused irreparable damage to our business and even put our own personal safety at risk. After filing a lawsuit to address some of this harm, we have now learned that these individuals are pressuring parents, players, and officials involved in certain volleyball events to donate money for their legal fees.

In December of 2021, we filed a lawsuit for $250 million in damages against Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Champion Women, Sarah Powers-Barnhard, and Deb DiMatteo for using false and misleading information to target our business. They sent false and misleading letters to our corporate sponsors, to clubs that attend our events, and to the facilities where we rent gym space for camps and other events. The letters threatened legal and financial harm to those organizations if they continued to do business with GLV. They used the threat of negative publicity, legal repercussions, and “cancel culture” to force hundreds of organizations to cut ties with us.

Hogshead-Makar, Champion Women, and DiMatteo are now attempting to raise funds for their legal fees and are – again – perpetuating a false narrative to do so. They repeatedly reference SafeSport’s “findings” when SafeSport conducted ZERO investigation and made no “findings” of its own. Of course, it was Hogshead-Makar who helped write the SafeSport Act, and it was Hogshead-Makar who claimed to have “filed an official complaint” with SafeSport. Yet, Rick was never even contacted by SafeSport. There was no investigation, no hearing, nothing.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar and Champion Women exploited their authority as legal advocates to convince the public to cut ties with us. Now, they are relying on that same narrative to raise funds for their legal defense. Just as we allege in our lawsuit, they have continued to misrepresent the nature and significance of documents and other evidence to convince the public that they were doing this all to “protect athletes.” What they don’t want the public to know is that the claims from the 1980s were investigated in 1995. A psychiatrist concluded that there was nothing to indicate that Rick is a sexually dangerous person, and a court-appointed investigator concluded that “Mr. Butler did not break any criminal laws then or now.

Make no mistake: This was never about protecting athletes. Each of the defendants received personal and/or professional benefits from their participation in their scheme against us, such as free marketing for their businesses, professional advancement, notoriety in the volleyball community, growth of their junior volleyball event business, and more. Now, Hogshead-Makar, Champion Women, and DiMatteo are resorting to their same illegal tactics in a shameless fundraising campaign to pay for their legal fees.

This lawsuit was one of the first steps we have taken to begin redressing the harm inflicted on us in recent years and rebuilding what was taken from us. We will continue to release statements and upload court documents so people can finally start to see the other side to this public battle, and we plan to hold those accountable who maliciously worked to destroy our business.