Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Ex-MSU football staffer Curtis Blackwell accuses Mark Dantonio of more NCAA violations

March 10, 2020
<p>Mark Dantonio speaking during a retirement press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020.</p>

Mark Dantonio speaking during a retirement press conference at the Breslin Center on Feb. 4, 2020.

Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

The ongoing lawsuit between former Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio and his former staffer Curtis Blackwell continues with a new set of allegations this week.

In a new lawsuit filed in state court sometime this week, Blackwell alleges that Dantonio ordered the recording and video taping of other football team’s practices without consent as well as contacting football players that were enrolled in other universities with the intent for them to transfer to Michigan State. According to ESPN’s Dan Murphy, Blackwell alleges in the new lawsuit that his noncompliance in these acts and his race were the reasons for his termination. 

This new set of allegations will be paired with another set of allegations made earlier this year that Dantonio oversaw, and ordered the recruitment of Auston Robertson, the giving of improper benefits to recruits' family members, and requiring Blackwell to attend the homes of recruits, which would be a violation of NCAA rules. 

In addition, the new lawsuit also names Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman as a defendant, claiming that Beekman defamed Blackwell when calling the allegations made by Blackwell “patently false” in Dantonio’s retirement press conference. 

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

In a lengthy deposition in court, Dantonio claimed that Blackwell had never attended any in-home recruiting visits to his knowledge, which would have constituted a violation of NCAA rules. However, a photo was released from a court affidavit earlier this year that directly contradicted Dantonio’s claim that Blackwell never attended any in-home visits. 

Despite the ongoing lawsuits and potential NCAA violations Dantonio has remained defiant in his innocence and that his untimely retirement had any sort of connection to the ongoing lawsuit.  

“Zero, no relevance whatsoever,” Dantonio said. 

If the allegations prove to be true, the consequences could result in more than just NCAA violations. In Michigan State Head Coach Mel Tucker’s contract, there is a clause that would extend his contract by one year, or by the length any potential NCAA violations that may be handed down. 

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