Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo did not delve into specifics when addressing the media Friday night following his team’s win over Wisconsin in the wake of an investigation into the program by ESPN.
“As far as the reports today, we will cooperate with any investigation going forward as we’ve always done,” he told reporters, “and that’s about all I have to say about it. I understand that you may have about a million questions, but I’m not going to answer them. I’m going to talk about the game.”
Izzo stood his ground when pressed by reporters.
“I’m not going to answer any questions,” he responded to a reporter. “I’m going to stick to worrying about the survivors. I tried saying what I could say last week, and I’m going to stick with the survivors and do my part in helping them heal.”
Izzo confirmed, like football coach Mark Dantonio did earlier Friday, that he is not considering retirement.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’m definitely not retiring. There’s a lot of things today that are part of life. I’m going to worry about the team and the survivors.”
On whether he’d seen ESPN’s report on Michigan State:
“I’ve seen the report. It’s been an interesting two days with the things that have gone on with preparing for a game so I’m going to hold my judgement.”
On what he told his players:
“I told them this is one of the things in life that you have to deal with. Everyone talks about academics, and there’s no book for these things. Players have to learn to make adjustments, no matter what’s out there.”
Izzo’s news conference comes in the wake of multiple reports painting a dark picture of Michigan State athletics and its reported failings to correctly handle sexual assault allegations.
ESPN published a detailed investigation into the Spartans athletic department. Some of the findings:
- In 2010, Travis Walton, a former Michigan State star who was on Izzo’s staff as an undergraduate assistant at the time, allegedly punched a woman at a bar. Walton was allowed to travel with the team after being arrested, and his assault and battery case was eventually dismissed. That same year, Walton and two Michigan State players were accused of sexually assaulting a female Michigan State student.
- The report claims that at least 16 Michigan State football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence since the beginning of Dantonio’s tenure in 2007. However, Dantonio told reporters in June 2017 that he was dealing with players facing those allegations for the first time.
- Former Michigan State sexual assault counselor Lauren Allswede told Outside the Lines that serious complaints against student-athletes were handled solely by the athletic department and sometimes even by coaches. According to Allswede, Dantonio once handled a sexual assault accusation against a player by having the player tell his mother about it. Dantonio denied this in a news conference Friday night.
Another report from The Athletic alleges NCAA president Mark Emmert was alerted to 37 reports of sexual assault at Michigan State, with no indication that Emmert responded with any action.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis resigned Friday before the ESPN report, becoming the second high-ranking official to do so. University president Lou Anna Simon also resigned Wednesday.