MSU football hosts Pro Day amid investigations surrounding team
MSU football conducted its annual Pro Day on Wednesday as former Spartans aimed to impress coaches and scouts with their ambition to earn a roster spot with an NFL team.
What exactly happened at the event is unknown.
As the Spartan football program is actively under numerous investigations after an alleged sexual assault was said to involve three MSU players and one staff member, the media has had limited availability to the program.
Usually, head coach Mark Dantonio would conduct a press conference to kick off the spring practice season.
This year, there wasn’t one.
Normally, a spring practice depth chart is released.
Not this year.
And the weekly availability the media gets to watch a portion of the practices and interview select players afterward?
You guessed it. Not this year.
The three accused players have now been removed from on-campus housing and MSU football’s director of college advancement and performance, Curtis Blackwell, was suspended with pay last month, though it has not been confirmed if his suspension is linked to the investigation.
Those who wanted to catch a glimpse of the annual Pro Day event had to rely on social media as the drill portion of the event was closed to the media.
Six former Spartans — Montae Nicholson, Riley Bullough, Tyler O’Connor, Josiah Price, R.J. Shelton and Prescott Line — were, however, available to speak to the media after they finished their drills on Wednesday, but Dantonio was not in sight.
The last time the media and general public heard from Dantonio, who is entering his 11th season at the helm of the MSU football team, was through a press release on Feb. 28.
"Regarding the ongoing investigations taking place within our program, the allegations are something we’re extremely concerned about and taking very seriously," Dantonio said in the release. "We took immediate action by suspending those involved as soon as we were notified of the situation.
“I expect all members of the football program to live up to those standards, and I'm doing everything necessary to help throughout this difficult process. When the time is appropriate, I will be able to answer questions regarding our program and discuss our team."
Former Spartan tight end Josiah Price said he is not troubled by the “black cloud” surrounding the Spartans this offseason.
“I’ve been down in Florida — IMG (Academy),” he said. “I haven’t really been around here. I got utter confidence in the players here and the coaches and excited for the season coming up and I have no worries about Michigan State University and they’re in great hands.”
For a university already in heavy scrutiny surrounding the actions of former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, each action the university takes will be carefully examined and possibly criticized.
“I know it’s going to be taken care of," former wide receiver R.J. Shelton said. "Everything else off the field, is going to be taken care of. I know this program, I know what the coaching staff is doing, I know this university, so I'm not really worried about that."
Former Spartan quarterback Tyler O’Connor said on Wednesday the program will soon be able to get past this offseason.
“Everybody goes through tough times, but with our leadership and our management — starting with Coach (Dantonio) — it will all get resolved,” he said. “And obviously, there’s an investigation in place, but there’s the right leadership here that we’ll fight through it and the outcome is the outcome and we’ll get past it.”