In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal that has rocked Michigan State athletics, a new report by Paula Lavigne of ESPN’s Outside the Lines indicates the school’s administrators have covered up a whole mess of misconduct in recent years, including widespread sexual assault and violence in Mark Dantonio’s football program.
She reported on Friday that there is “a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression of such allegations by officials ranging from campus police to the Spartan athletic department.”
“Over the past three years, MSU has three times fought in court — unsuccessfully — to withhold names of athletes in campus police records. The school has also deleted so much information from some incident reports that they were nearly unreadable. In circumstances in which administrators have commissioned internal examinations to review how they have handled certain sexual violence complaints, officials have been selective in releasing information publicly. In one case, a university-hired outside investigator claimed to have not even generated a written report at the conclusion of his work. And attorneys who have represented accusers and the accused agree on this: University officials have not always been transparent, and often put the school’s reputation above the need to give fair treatment to those reporting sexual violence and to the alleged perpetrators.”
Furthermore, Lavigne reports that, since 2007, at least 16 Michigan State football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women. This past year, several players from the Spartans program were dismissed after being the subjects of sexual assault investigations.
The Outside the Lines report also states that the school is facing aTitle IX lawsuit and is under investigation by the Department of Education in several matters as well under Hall of Fame basketball coach Tom Izzo.
The school has responded to the report, per ESPN, with the following statement.
“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.”
Dantonio’s position as the head coach at MSU is likely in jeopardy at this time. The school’s athletic director, Mark Hollis, has already resigned his position as of Friday morning. Given the way things went down at Baylor for Art Briles a couple years back, it would be shocking of Dantonio wasn’t fired in the wake of this damning report, which likely is only the beginning of what’s uncovered.