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What penalties lie on the horizon for Michigan State University?

Asher Fair
SENIOR ANALYST
News
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 14:45 IST

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Championship
Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Championship

What kind of punishment will Michigan State University face for their involvement in enabling and covering up the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal that has negatively affected hundreds of lives, including those of the survivors and their families?

That punishment could actually be a lot worse than expected.

First of all, several of the school's officials were reportedly told about these assault allegations against Nassar by several women, and nothing ever happened. These accusations were reported as early as the year 1997 and all the way up until Nassar, a doctor at the university, was fired in 2016.

In fact, Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages humiliated Larissa Boyce and even threatened her with "serious consequences" if she were to file a complaint that Boyce had against Nassar from when he assaulted her. Boyce is among the first known gymnasts to accuse Nassar of sexual assault.

Klages also had her gymnasts sign a sympathy card for Nassar when these assault allegations against him started stacking up and being made public before Klages eventually resigned in February of 2017.

There have been several other instances over the past two decades of Michigan State failing to stop Nassar when they could have done so.

Nassar was cleared of all wrongdoing in 2014 after Michigan State police and the school's Title IX office responded to an assault complaint. When Nassar was investigated in 2014, Michigan State failed to tell USA Gymnastics, where he was also a doctor.

Most notably, in 2016, when Rachael Denhollander became the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault by taking her story to the Indianapolis Star, Tim Evans, a reporter with the Star, emailed Nassar and told him he had some questions for him.

Nassar forwarded this email to William Strampel, the dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Strampel emailed Nassar and told him: "Good luck. I am on your side."

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When the Star published Denhollander's story, Strampel and several others at Michigan State exchanged emails with one other. According to the Washington Post, Strampel emailed June Pierce Youatt, the executive vice president for academic affairs, and stated the following: “I expect that this will be all over the paper tomorrow...Cherry on the Cake of my day!!!”

Strampel, whose involvement in this scandal is more detailed on ESPN, resigned last December.

However, we have known all of this and more for quite some time, but now, an Outside the Lines investigation has determined that Michigan State's denial and mishandling of sexual assault allegations has become a pattern not only in the Larry Nassar case but in other cases as well.

These other cases involve the Michigan State men's basketball team, which is coached by Tom Izzo, and their football team, which is coached by Mark Dantonio.

The report from Outside the Lines is extremely detailed and definitely worth looking at, but a few key items stand out.

First off, Michigan State basketball player Travis Walton allegedly punched a woman at a bar in 2010 but was still allowed to travel with the team. His assault and battery case ended up being dismissed. He also ended up being accused of sexual assault later that year.

Walton, who is now an Agua Caliente Clippers G League assistant coach, was put on leave Friday as a result of these accusations.

Also, over 16 Michigan State football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence since 2007, which was when Dantonio took over the program. Dantonio, who denies reportedly handling one of these accusations by having the player tell his mother about it, said last June that he had not dealt with these accusations before then.

All in all, this is not a good look for Michigan State. There is so much being uncovered all at once now that Larry Nassar has finally been brought down after several decades of the school enabling him and covering up the sexual assault scandal surrounding him.

Don't expect Michigan State to walk away from what looks to be a much, much bigger scandal than Penn State's Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal without incurring severe penalties.


Published 28 Jan 2018, 02:56 IST
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