Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Photo from a court affidavit disputes Mark Dantonio's claims in Blackwell lawsuit

February 18, 2020
Dantonio listens to a question during a press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020.
Dantonio listens to a question during a press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020. —
Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Despite claims from former Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio that he did not violate NCAA recruiting violations, a photo filed in a court affidavit and reported by The Detroit News that comes from the mother of Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes appears to show otherwise.

  

Dantonio claimed in his deposition that former staffer Curtis Blackwell did not enter the home of the highly touted recruit, which would be a NCAA violation. However, the photo taken in December of 2015 directly contradicts Dantonio’s claims. 

Also in the photo is the Spartans' Defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel, who was recently brought back by newly hired Head Coach Mel Tucker, and Tressel’s predecessor Harlon Barnett is also in the photo. 

In the light of the recent developments, MSU acknowledged to The Detroit News that it would be investigating whether or not any NCAA violations were committed under the Dantonio staff. 

In Dantonio’s retirement press conference, he vehemently denied that the ongoing lawsuit had any weight in his decision to retire. 

“Zero, no relevance whatsoever,” Dantonio said. 

During the press conference, Dantonio refused to speak about the ongoing lawsuit, as he believed it was for the courts to decide.  

Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman also denied that any violations had occurred under Dantonio at his retirement press conference. 

“To the best of our knowledge is, as I understand, the allegations are patently false.” Beekman said. “We'll be happy to defend that in the court of law.” 

In addition to potential recruiting violations as it pertains to the photo, Blackwell and his team of lawyers also accuse the Dantonio and his staff of a multitude of violations, including securing jobs for parents of recruits that MSU was actively pursuing. 

Another potential ramification of the ongoing developments also coincides with the hiring of Mel Tucker. In Tucker’s contract, there is a clause that would extend his contract by a year if MSU was sanctioned for any violations or extend his contract in proportion to the length of the penalty. 

At this time, it is unclear what the ramifications from the NCAA may be on the Michigan State football program with this new evidence and it possibly being coupled with other violations that could follow as the Blackwell lawsuit continues. 

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