Friday, July 10, 2020

Nassar scandal impacts Spartan alumnus' experience at Big Ten Tournament

March 5, 2018
From left, Worcester, Mass. resident Calvin Hill, Worcester, Mass. resident and MSU alumna Susan Scully-Hill and Glen Ellyn, Ill. resident and MSU alumnus Dennis Jarrard laugh together before the Big Ten Men's Basketball semifinal game between Michigan State and Michigan on March 3, 2018 at Mustang Harry's in New York. Between one and two hundred MSU fans and alumni gathered at Mustang Harry's before the game. (Nic Antaya | The State News)
From left, Worcester, Mass. resident Calvin Hill, Worcester, Mass. resident and MSU alumna Susan Scully-Hill and Glen Ellyn, Ill. resident and MSU alumnus Dennis Jarrard laugh together before the Big Ten Men's Basketball semifinal game between Michigan State and Michigan on March 3, 2018 at Mustang Harry's in New York. Between one and two hundred MSU fans and alumni gathered at Mustang Harry's before the game. (Nic Antaya | The State News) —

NEW YORK — Two Spartan Marching Band alumni were chatting with a group of women at their hotel in New York City. Once they revealed they were MSU alumni, the women inquired about the “scandal going on there.”

Ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to a maximum of 360 years overall  by Ingham County, Eaton County and federal courts. Most recently, the Lansing State Journal reported Jacob Moore alleges he was sexually abused by Nassar. Moore is the first known male victim to file suit against Nassar.

“Having that be always currently what someone says to you about or wants to connect with you about, what they’re hearing in the news,” alumna Susan Scully-Hill said. “That’s really unfortunate.”

Scully-Hill, with a bachelors, graduate and doctoral degree from MSU, at times questioned her outward expression of her alma mater. 

“I started to think, ‘Well, I think I’ll just lay low, not wear the hat today because I’m going to have to address it with people,’” Scully-Hill said. 

Alumnus Dennis Jarrard, who graduated in 1988, said he felt the situation he and Scully-Hill were put into was not only familiar to MSU.

“I’m sure that people from Penn State had to deal with the same kind of stuff,” Jarrard said. “That’s not what defines us as Spartans. It’s an unfortunate blip right now in our history.”

The atmosphere changed at Mustang Harry’s, where MSU alumni and fans gathered March 3. The two and Scully-Hill’s husband, Calvin Hill, were enjoying a meal before the MSU vs. University of Michigan tipoff. They even spent their prior evening following MSU’s win against Wisconsin at the bar.

The environment at college basketball’s mecca, Madison Square Garden, was also reassuring as a Spartan.

“It’s been fun in the stadium because we run into people behind us that, we actually don’t know them, but we have mutual friends,” Jarrard said.

The former alto saxophonists felt the location even created a space for competition between fans.

“Everybody’s there for their purpose,” Jarrard said. “Even the rivals.”

Even though the friends had no “skin in the game” in the University of Michigan vs. Iowa matchup, they rooted against U-M and cheered for Iowa.

“There would be Michigan fans around us … we would rip them a little bit, they’d rip us,” Jarrard said. “It wasn’t that visceral hate that we have for each other’s schools. It was more of a fun atmosphere.” 

Despite the troublesome moments the Spartan Marching Band alumni have faced in recent times, they both agreed that they are proud to bleed green and white.

“It’s our place,” Jarrard said. “We love it. Even with all this stuff going on there right now, we love the place.”

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