Sunday, March 29, 2020

MSU releases findings from Jones Day investigation

June 5, 2017
Trustee Brian Breslin gives a statement on June 5, 2017 at the Hannah Administration Building. Statements were made by President Lou Anna K. Simon and Breslin based on the findings of the Jones Day Law Firm's report on the MSU football programs compliance.
Trustee Brian Breslin gives a statement on June 5, 2017 at the Hannah Administration Building. Statements were made by President Lou Anna K. Simon and Breslin based on the findings of the Jones Day Law Firm's report on the MSU football programs compliance. —
Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

In two separate incidences of alleged sexual assault involving members of the MSU football team, the Jones Day law firm found senior members of the football program were in compliance with the university's RVSM policy, according to the law firm's report that was released to the public on Monday.

Jones Day was hired by MSU to conduct an independent investigation to determine if supervisors from the football program and the athletic department reported the incidents to administration without impediment, cover up or obstruction, which the report states was done properly. 

Three players who remained unidentified were accused of a single incident in January, while Auston Robertson was dismissed from the program after charges were filed against him for third-degree criminal sexual conduct incident in April. 

"In both instances, we found that senior leaders within the football program and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (Athletic Department) complied with the RVSM policy by promptly and accurately reporting the information they learned about the underlying incidents to departments within the University that are tasked with investigating and responding to such incidents," the report said. "We also found no evidence that senior leaders within the football program or Athletic Department attempted to impede, cover up, or obstruct the Office of Institutional Equity’s (OIE’s) investigation into the underlying incidents."

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Simeon said Tuesday in a release she would authorize sexual assault charges against the three players for the incident in January 16.

Members from the university's Board of Trustees — along with President Lou Anna K. Simon — also met with the media on Tuesday to state the findings of the report. 

The board met for over three hours and discussed mainly the university's budget, according to Brian Breslin, Chairman of the Board. Breslin, however, also said with the speculation from findings of the university's Title IX report, that the Board of Trustees would give its support to President Simon, Athletic Director Mark Hollis and MSU football head coach Mark Dantonio.

The State News reported after the investigation was completed, the three players under investigation from the incident on January 16 were in violation of the university's Title IX policy.

“While it is not the practice of the Board to make a statement after a work session, given the rumors that have been swirling in the media over the weekend, we, the Board, state that President Simon, Athletic Director (Mark) Hollis and coach (Mark) Dantonio have the full support of this Board,” Breslin said.

After Breslin concluded his statement on behalf of the board, Simon added that Dantonio and his team were in outstanding compliance with the university's Title IX policy.

“Coach Dantonio and his team, particularly coach Dantonio, handled this in the utmost manner with integrity, and with swiftness in a consistent work of policy,” Simon said. “That takes all those issues off the board with respect to coach Dantonio and the team that is currently there.”

Simon did not comment on Curtis Blackwell, who was suspended with pay in February, as he is no longer part of the MSU football team. Blackwell’s contract expired May 31 and the team did not renew it.

Stay with The State News for updates.

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