Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio on Friday night denied any wrongdoing in his handling of sexual-assault claims involving members of the Spartans football team, as alleged in ESPN's Outside the Lines. Here's video of his statement read to reporters, via MLive.com:
ESPN's major investigative piece chronicles a pattern of mishandled cases involving sexual assault, violence and discrimination in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal. In particular, the piece focused on from Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo.
The report stated that "at least 16 MSU football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women" during Dantonio's tenure at Michigan State. Moreover, it documented six incidents involving football players that were previously unreported. No charges were filed in each of the six cases.
Among the more damning allegations is that, in dealing with one allegation of sexual assault by a player, Dantonio "had the player talk to his mother about what he had done."
"I'm here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false," Dantonio told reporters. "Every incident reported in that article was documented either by police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I've always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with cases of sexual assault."
Per OTL, "It's unknown whether campus police or any university administrator ever notified Dantonio about the incidents, or if they did, whether the coach ever disciplined any of the players.
"We've always had high standards in this program and that will never change," Dantonio said. "The values 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 university authorities. I can assure you in last year's incidents I also immediately reported them to the proper authorities."
Last year, four players were dismissed from the university for two separate incidents of sexual assault. "This is new ground for us. We've been here 11 years," Dantonio said at the time.
The main issue facing Michigan State was the belief that a lack of charges meant everything was fine when, clearly, it wasn't -- and then trying to keep it a secret. However, on Friday evening, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported that NCAA president Mark Emmert was made aware of the widespread allegations at Michigan State as far back as 2010. Only recently did the NCAA announce an investigation into the matter, a move that .
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollisahead of the OTL report. University president Lou Anna Simon resigned earlier this week. When asked about an online report of his potential resignation, Dantonio called the rumor "false."