Michigan State cleared by NCAA in Nassar, football investigations
The NCAA has cleared the MSU athletic department after its investigation into the university's response to possible violations in light of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse and ESPN's "Outside the Lines" report detailing allegations of abuse among student athletes.
MSU was notified by Jonathan F. Duncan, the vice president of enforcement for the NCAA, that the athletic department "has not substantiated violations of the NCAA legislation" in light of the organization's review of the university, according to an Aug. 30 university press release.
The NCAA contacted MSU on Jan. 23 requesting the university's response to Nassar's sexual abuse, the press release said. And on March 23, the university responded to the NCAA, explaining that violations of NCAA legislation were not present.
A second review of the athletic department was sought after ESPN's program "Outside the Lines" looked into how MSU handled reports of sexual assault by student athletes.
Bill Beekman, the newly-appointed MSU athletic director, said in the press release that MSU "cooperated fully with the inquiry over the past several months and provided all requested documentation and access to key personnel."
"In regards to the crimes committed on our campus by Larry Nassar, the NCAA findings do not change a thing. NCAA member organizations have a specific set of rules to which we hold each other accountable," Beekman said in the release. "And while we agree with the NCAA that we did not commit a violation, that does not diminish our commitment to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes."
Beekman also said NCAA's findings prove validation of football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo's administration of programs at the university.
"As it relates to the handling of student-athlete conduct issues, at Michigan State we are committed to following all appropriate policies and procedures," Beekman said.
Dantonio and Izzo both released statements Thursday evening, with Dantonio saying they've always placed a priority of doing "things the right way."
"I have never wavered in my belief that we have done things the right way here at Michigan State," Dantonio said. "As I have stated earlier, we’ve always tackled our problems head on and have dealt with issues. We welcome the findings by the thorough NCAA investigation that our program has acted properly with all policies and procedures.”
Izzo said throughout his career, he's "always placed the utmost priority on winning the right way."
"As I said in February, when faced with disciplinary issues I’ve handled those in accordance with all appropriate policies and procedures," Izzo said. "After a very thorough review, the NCAA provides confirmation that our program has done that.”
Senior Michigan State football beat reporter Jonathan LeBlanc contributed to this story.