The fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal is far from complete at Michigan State University, as an ESPN report details troubling allegations that extend far beyond Nassar in the school’s athletic department.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis resigned Friday before ESPN published its story, which directly contradicts comments football coach Mark Dantonio made last summer about a 2017 sexual assault scandal that resulted in the dismissal of four players from the team.
ESPN’s report claims that at least 16 MSU football players have been accused of “sexual assault or violence against women” since Dantonio began his tenure at the school in 2007.
As detailed by ESPN, when Dantiono answered questions from reporters last summer about sexual assault allegations against Donnie Corley, Josh King, Demetric Vance and Auston Robertson, for which they were dismissed from the team, he gave this response:
“This is new ground for us. We’ve been here 11 years — it has not happened previously.”
Former MSU sexual assault counselor Lauren Allswede told ESPN she left her post at the school in 2015 over “frustrations about how administrators handled sexual assault cases.” She told ESPN that athletic programs routinely investigated and “solved” cases involving sexual assault allegations internally, with the athletic department and even coaches investigating or handling complaints.
“Whatever protocol or policy was in place, whatever frontline staff might normally be involved in response or investigation, it all got kind of swept away and it was handled more by administration [and] athletic department officials,” Allswede told ESPN.
“It was all happening behind closed doors. … None of it was transparent or included people who would normally be involved in certain decisions.”
Allswede also detailed a specific incident of alleged sexual assault involving a Michigan State football player:
Allswede told Outside the Lines that about seven years ago, an attorney from the university’s general counsel’s department came to her office to try to reassure her that coaches were taking allegations of sexual violence seriously. Allswede says the attorney told her how Dantonio, the football coach, had dealt with a sexual assault accusation against one of his players: He had the player talk to his mother about what he had done.
“That did not reassure me at all,” Allswede says. “There’s no guarantee that that had any effect.”
Read the full ESPN report here:
BREAKING: A new @E60 and OTL special investigation of the Michigan State athletic department reveals shocking details of a culture of sexual assault inside the men’s basketball and football programs: https://t.co/nd5zTFFiGY
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) January 26, 2018