MSU spring season football details uncertain during investigation
MSU football started its spring season on Saturday, but this season will look different, possibly because of the investigations of three suspended MSU football players and one staff member for allegations of sexual assault.
have the potential to change the dynamic of the spring season to protect the names of the three suspended football players under investigation. The names will be protected since the investigations are ongoing and are on the individual level.
Thus far, the spring season has largely been on hold, but it’s unclear as to whether this is because of the spring season’s early start this year or if it’s a way to protect player names.
The identities of the three players under investigation could be determined by looking at the 2017 roster, but the roster has not been released yet. Dantonio’s preview press conference, typically held before the spring season starts, has not been scheduled.
The spring practices, usually open for the first 10 to 15 minutes to the media, will be closed to the public and the media this spring.
“The practices are closed to the public and media,” Assistant Director for Athletic Communications Ben Phlegar said in an email. In an email that followed, he added that the “schedule is subject to change as spring practice continues the next few weeks.”
The schedule leading up to the spring game on April 1 was just recently , but a media schedule for these spring practices has not yet been released, Phlegar said.
"(The investigation is) ongoing and I don’t think it’s going to be over in the very near term,” MSU police chief Jim Dunlap said following the Attorney General’s press conference on Feb. 22.
In October, , a former federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney to begin conducting an internal investigation of the university, including the football program. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said the internal investigation will inform the university on how to deal with issues regarding sexual assaults and harassment, specifically with football program.
“I have no necessary concerns that there are big issues, but the confidence of the community requires that we look at it diligently,” Simon said following the recent Board of Trustees meeting.
Simon said MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis “took an extraordinarily important action” in looking into the atmosphere and environment of the current team.
“I thought it was important for him to stand up for the current students, and I would want that from any athletic director,” Simon said. “In the same way, I would want any athletic director to provide an environment where a sexual assault of a high profile set of student-athletes can be investigated in the most full fashion and support that investigation. I think that speaks highly of him.”
While it’s currently unclear just how or to what extent the investigations will impact the spring season, Simon said the investigation should not affect future student-athletes.
“On football recruits, I would say to you, if you want to be a part of a program that aggressively looks at sexual assault and sexual harassment and you want to be a part of that culture, you come here,” Simon said. “Because we’re going to deal with people who are accused of those issues.”