The Larry Nassar scandal is not the only issue that Michigan State finds itself dealing with.
In a bombshell report released just after Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis resigned/retired, an ESPN Outside the Lines investigation reported on “a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression of such allegations by officials ranging from campus police to the Spartan athletic department.” This included officials going to court to withhold athletes’ names in police reports, deleting information from other reports, acting less than transparent with outside investigations and not following proper procedures in reporting sexual violence allegations.
Perhaps most damning was what was uncovered about the football program under head coach Mark Dantonio. The report says that since 2007, at least 16 football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women. The head coach himself was even alleged to be involved in the handling of some of these cases, including dishing out discipline.
While MSU capped off a turnaround campaign on the field in 2017 by reaching 10 wins in the Holiday Bowl, it was a turbulent offseason last year in the wake of several sexual assault investigations led to the dismissal of several players. Over a dozen players were held out of the Michigan State spring game and a staff member was even dismissed after violating school policy. An external probe into the handling of at least one sexual assault case reportedly cleared Dantonio of any wrongdoing.
The OTL report also touched on incidents involving the Spartans basketball program under Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, the fact that MSU is facing a Title IX lawsuit and that the school remains under investigation by the Department of Education in several matters as well.
In a school statement provided to ESPN, they said the following: “Over the past several years, we have dedicated significant new resources to strengthening our efforts to combat sexual violence. Every day, people across campus are working diligently on this critical issue. We acknowledge, however, that we have sometimes fallen short of our goal and the expectations of others. It is clear more needs to be done, and we are using every resource available to get better.”
The larger fallout from the report remains to be seen but it’s safe to say that Dantonio’s position as head coach could be in jeopardy and he might be the next big name to leave East Lansing. The NCAA has already launched an investigation into Michigan State and there are still several others from various other organizations on going. While the Nassar scandal has led to the departure of the school president and athletic director, the latest bit of damning news on how the program handled sexual assault allegations seems to firmly put the football team in the crosshairs as well.