Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Recapping MSU sports moments from this semester

April 26, 2018
<p>Junior guard Matt McQuaid (20) answers questions from the media in the locker room after the game against Syracuse on March 18, 2018 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Spartans fell to the Orange, 55-53 ending their NCAA journey.&nbsp;</p>

Junior guard Matt McQuaid (20) answers questions from the media in the locker room after the game against Syracuse on March 18, 2018 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Spartans fell to the Orange, 55-53 ending their NCAA journey. 

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

From a successful regular season to a disappointing tournament, to multiple Outside the Lines reports surrounding the athletic department, to a coach's 300th career win, MSU Athletics has had numerous events take place in 2018.

Here are some of the most memorable moments of MSU Athletics in  2018 so far:

Men's basketball captures Big Ten regular season title, but falls early in NCAA Tournament

Arguably one of head coach Tom Izzo's most talented roster in his 23 years at MSU ended the season with disappointing losses to University of Michigan in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament and to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Spartans finished the regular season with an overall record of 30-5 and 16-2 in the Big Ten to capture the Big Ten regular season title. It was the team's first regular season title since 2012.

Bridges, Jackson Jr., and Ward declare for 2018 NBA Draft

Following the 2018 season, sophomore wing Miles Bridges and freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. announced they will sign with an agent and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Sophomore forward Nick Ward will submit his name, but will not sign with an agent.

Bridges surprised many by returning for a second season as a Spartan with numerous amounts of mock drafts projecting him as a lottery pick.

Bridges averaged 17 points a game to go along with seven rebounds a game. Bridges was awarded first-team All Big-Ten honors. 

Jackson finished his freshman season and captured the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year with averages of 11 points a game and three blocks per game.

Bridges is projected a borderline top-15 pick with mock drafts projecting him to go as high as the No. 11 pick. Jackson is projected a lottery pick as well with mock drafts projecting him as high as the No. 3 pick.

Bridges, assistant coach Dwayne Stephens named in FBI probe

Bridges was named in a Feb. 23 report by Yahoo Sports which linked him to the FBI probe into college basketball and was ruled ineligible, then reinstated before the season finale against Wisconsin. His mom, Cynthia Bridges, was also named in that report.

Men's basketball assistant coach Dwayne Stephens was named in the report because Christian Dawkins, associate of former NBA agent Andy Miller,  allegedly contacted MSU assistant Dwayne Stephens in July 2016, and engaged in an alleged bidding war for former five-star recruit Brian Bowen.

“Throughout my career as a college basketball coach, I’ve been committed to following all NCAA rules, including during the recruiting process," Stephens said in a statement. "Any insinuation to the contrary is false. I’m confident that I have not committed a violation."

MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announces retirement, MSU athletic faculty representative Sue Carter resigns

Following the sentencing of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, ex-MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced his retirement. appointed 

Hollis stated he had no prior knowledge of MSU's Title IX investigation in 2014 and never met Nassar. He served as the athletic director for 10 years and spent five years on the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee.  

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On Feb. 5, Interim President John Engler appointed ex-acting MSU President Bill Beekman as interim athletic director. Beekman has also been serving as vice president and secretary of the Board of Trustees since 2008.

Carter announced her resignation one day after the NCAA notified MSU it would begin an investigation into how the situation was handled on Nassar. On Jan. 30, MSU confirmed Carter for an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship by the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE.

The journalism professor served as MSU's faculty athletic representative of the Big Ten since 2014 and served as chairperson for the Athletic Council.

On April 19, MSU announced it hired two new faculty athletic representatives: School of Hospitality Business professor Bonnie Knutson and Michael Kaplowitz, a professor of environmental policy and international development.

“It is my honor to appoint Bonnie and Michael to help lead MSU forward on matters related to our student athletes,” Engler said in a press release. “To help our athletes succeed both academically and athletically, we look to the faculty representatives to help guide the discussions and policies. Their expertise related to university governance, their rapport with students and in Michael’s case, a former athlete himself, will serve the council well.”

Head coach Mark Dantonio denies ESPN's 'Outside The Lines' report

In an investigative report released by ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Jan. 26, 16 football players were accused of sexual assault and violence. All these alleged incidents have occurred since 2007, when Mark Dantonio became head coach for the Spartans.

"That's absolutely false," Dantonio said in a press conference before a Jan. 26 men's basketball game. "I'm here for Spartan nation, here for our football program and for my family."

Former MSU men's basketball player and coach Travis Walton accused of sexual assault in 'Outside The Lines' report

ESPN's "Outside The Lines" released a detailed report alleging former Spartan guard Travis Walton assaulted a female student and allegedly took part in the rape of another student.

Walton later released a statement saying he never assaulted the student and did not commit any acts of violence toward her.

Walton also stated he had never been charged with sexual assault and the alleged sexual assault was never reported to either MSU or the police.

Three former men's basketball players allegedly rape female student after 2015 Final Four

A federal lawsuit was filed on April 9 alleging three former men's basketball players raped a female student after the team's 2015 Final Four run.

MSU released a statement on its Communications Brand and Strategy, or CABS, website saying the allegations in the lawsuit were not true. Since then, the victim's attorneys refuted MSU's statement and the statement has been revoked from CABS' website.

MSU maintained relationship with former volleyball coach

The Associated Press obtained letters from multiple accusers that MSU maintained a relationship with Rick Butler, founder of Sports Performance Volleyball, a training facility in Aurora, Illinois. Butler was publicly accused in 1995 of sexually abusing and raping six underage girls he trained during his time in the 1980s. 

Currently, Butler runs multiple training facilities in the suburbs of Chicago, including Sports Performance Volleyball, for the nation's top recruits. Butler threatened to use his national influence toward college prospects if they didn't accept his advances, according to his accusers.

Since her arrival to MSU in 2005, head coach Cathy George has had many of her players trained by Butler. MSU's website also mentions Butler's name and those who were trained by him.

Women's basketball ends season in the Sweet 16 of Women's National Invitation Tournament

The women's basketball team was filled with injuries all season, which led to a disappointing season with high expectations.

The Spartans concluded the season following a loss to South Dakota, 85-83, in the Sweet 16 of the WNIT. The team concluded the season with a 19-14 record overall and a 7-9 record in the Big Ten.

Redshirt senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th Spartan to score 1,000 career points this season. Agee moved to No. 13 on MSU's all-time career scoring list.

Agee, along with sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, redshirt sophomore guard Shay Colley, and junior center Jenna Allen, all received All-Big Ten honorable mentions from both coaches and media.

The Spartans bid farewell to its five seniors in Agee, Kiara Carter, Lexi Gussert, Kennedy Johnson and Taya Reimer.


Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. captures 300th career victory for MSU

With a 6-0 win over Rutgers, head coach Jake Boss Jr. captured his 300th career victory at MSU. Boss is now the fifth head coach at MSU to reach such a milestone. 

Under Boss the Spartans have five of the 10 highest single-season win totals in school history. He coached four MSU career-holders, has had 26 of his players drafted to the MLB and 39 All-Big Ten honors with 12 being first-team selections.

Offense defeats Defense, 32-30 in Green-White spring game

With the conclusion of the basketball season fans looked to the start of the football season. The Spartans hosted their annual Green-White spring game with the offense, white, taking the win over the defense, or green.

It came down to the final seconds with redshirt freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi passing an 18-year touchdown to freshman wide receiver Darrell Stewart Jr. with 11 seconds left to secure the win.

Four different quarterbacks took the field for the Spartans, including junior Brian Lewerke, who finished the day with 7-of-12 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.


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