tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
  • Home
  • The Martin Chronicles
  • All things sports and beyond.

Why are they still playing games at Michigan State?

Wrap it up. Shut it down.

Why are they still playing games at Michigan State?

And I don't mean denials or shirking responsibility, though I could.

Heads have begun to roll in wake of the Larry Nassar sexual-assault scandal. The Michigan State president. The athletic director. Gone. Who knows where it will end? It might include Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio.

It will come down to what people knew, when they know it and what they did or didn't do about it.

So, why even play athletics at Michigan State until we know all the facts? Why play sports up there until we know that students, not just student athletes, are safe and sound and protected?

The monster Nassar, the former Michigan State doctor and USA Gymnastics doctor, will spend the rest of his life in prison if there is any justice. The entire USA Gymnastics Board has resigned. Michigan State should suspend its athletic programs until we know everything we need to know.

I don't care if Izzo will have a good horse in the NCAA basketball tournament. I don't care if Dantonio has a great signing day. I don't care if athletics generates dozens of millions of dollars in East Lansing. I don't know Izzo. I like him for some of his work with his players and in the community, but don't know him. And I can't get past Dantonio's grim face.

Michigan State is in tatters. Izzo and Dantonio might be gone if it's revealed they had a casual approach to sexual abuse in their programs. Good and gone.

The games don't matter at the moment. Answers do. Yes, I'm biased. I'm sending a daughter away to college in the near future.

They're all our daughters.

Wrap it up. Shut it down.

I want to know more about the charges leveled at Michigan State in an ESPN report. I want to know who knew what and when. I want heads to roll, Izzo's and Dantonio's if facts show they ignored or went soft on allegations of sexual abuse.

The ESPN report links Izzo's basketball program to a former Spartans player and student assistant who once had a charge of assault and battery reduced to a littering fine, and who was implicated in a case of alleged rape. The assistant denies the ESPN charges.

RELATED: Ex-Michigan State player defends himself

What did Izzo and the university know, when did they know it and what did they do?

ESPN reported that at least 16 Michigan State players have been accused of sexual assault or violence during Dantonio's tenure as football coach. The report mentioned that in one case Dantonio allegedly dealt with one accusation by having the player talk to his mother. Dantonio denies the allegations. What did he know, when did he know it and what did he do?

What do games matter at this point?

Let's get to the truth here.

Not a rush to judgment.

It might take time.

It's worth it.

The welfare of students should be in the first paragraph of any university's mission statement. Nothing else matters, not the Final Four, not the College Football Playoff.

The count is now up to 265 – 265 women or girls who have reported to law enforcement that they were abused by Nassar.

You're telling me all of those women are just coming forward for the first time? You're telling me that USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee have clean hands in this? Someone knew about this sexual predator.

First things first. Wrap it up. Shut it down. Draw a line. I have no idea what role Izzo and Dantonio played in this. Let's find out. Make sure Michigan State is a safe place, in the name of universities everywhere.

I have always wondered what the late Joe Paterno would have done if one of his grandchildren had been one of the monster Sandusky's victims at Penn State. To which I say:

They're all our children.

Maybe this is beyond the reach of the NCAA. The governing body probably learned that the hard way in the Penn State case.

But it has to be somebody's job or what are we doing here?

Maybe shutting down an athletic program in the name of fact-finding punishes innocent athletes. But there was Penn State, and there was Baylor, and where is it going to end? It should be about having safeguards in place, in the name of victims and survivors – past, present and future. I'm sure you want them safe and sound.

Me, too.

Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected] Follow @mjfennelly.

Weather Center
Comments