Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio called an allegation detailed in an ESPN report that he made a recruit call his mother as punishment for an alleged sexual assault “completely false” in a brief press conference.
“I’m here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false,” he said
“Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with cases of sexual assault. We have always had high standards at this program, and that will never change. The values that we teach to everyone in this program will be enforced. We’ve also always tackled problems here head-on and dealt with issues. When we find out about the problems, it has come from the police or the university authorities. I can assure you as in last year’s incidents, I also immediately reported them to the proper authorities. That’s really all I have to say.”
His comments in full:
On Friday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that Michigan State’s athletic department has a history of not properly handling sexual assault and violence allegations.
In the report, it’s alleged that at least 16 Spartans football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence since 2007, Dantonio’s first season as head coach. In June 2017, Dantonio said he was dealing with allegations toward his players for the first time; Last year, Dantonio dismissed three players from the team after they were charged with sexual assault: Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance. Another player, Auston Robertson, was also kicked off the team after a charge of criminal sexual conduct in a separate incident.
Dantonio’s comments Friday night appeared to address this allegation specifically:
Outside the Lines reported in the story that Dantonio once dealt with a sexual assault accusation against a player by having the player talk to his mother about what he did.
“That did not reassure me at all. There’s no guarantee that that had any effect, any help, whatever,” former Michigan State sexual-assault counselor Lauren Allswede said in the story.
Dantonio is 100-45 as Michigan State’s coach. Dantonio has been the Spartans head coach since the 2007 season. He’s led Michigan State to double-digit win seasons six times, including 10-3 last season.