Tom Izzo breaks his silence on how he handled sexual assault allegations against former Michigan State players

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo staunchly defended his handling of sexual assault allegations made against former players in an Outside the Lines report published in February during his appearance at Big Ten media days on Thursday, pushing back forcefully on the notion that he wouldn't handle such allegations in accordance with school policies.

"The thought that I was going to hide something like what happened makes me sick," Izzo said via Michigan Live. "The thought of that makes me sick. It's never been, it never was. That was the big complaint on me and (Mark) Dantonio and (Mark) Hollis. It was never hidden and it never will be hidden."

OTL's report on the allegations of mishandling sexual assault allegations -- made against both Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio -- alleged a pattern of denial, inaction, and information suppression by those at the highest level, including former athletic director Mark Hollis. Izzo, however, vehemently denied such allegations to the media in his first extensive comments on the subject publicly.

"The procedures and policies were followed to the n-th degree," Izzo said.

Izzo came under fire in the wake of the OTL report for his handling of the alleged sexual assault instances, despite the fact that charges were never filed. One specific incident involved former Michigan State player-turned coach, Travis Walton, who continued to coach on Izzo's staff after allegations he punched a female student in 2010 came to light. Later, Walton was accused of sexually assaulting a separate female student. 

Izzo defended his actions related to that incident, too, saying he would have shown Walton the door had he known what had transpired.

"I've kicked kids off for drugs, I've kicked kids off for bad academics," Izzo said. "I'm not going to kick somebody off for sexual assault? That's insulting. That's insulting to me."

Izzo, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, has served as the Spartans coach since 1995 where he's led them to a 574-225 record, one national championship and seven Final Fours.

Our Latest Stories