Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio Discusses Ongoing Probes Into Football Program

    Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the team's spring game. But the focus was on the ongoing investigations into the football program.

    April 1, 2017

    Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the team’s spring game. But the focus was on the ongoing investigations into the football program.


    Michigan State will hold its spring football game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, and head coach Mark Dantonio held a press conference on Tuesday as the team finishes up early preparations for the 2017 college football season.

    But Dantonio wasn’t too interested in talking about the on-field aspect of his program when he spoke to the media for the first time since spring ball began. The 11th-year MSU head coach wanted to hold court at a time when his program has been immersed in allegations.

    Dantonio answered questions from reporters about the ongoing investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving three unidentified players and the suspension of staff member Curtis Blackwell. However, he did not offer many specifics about the queries.

    “I’m doing everything I can to completely operate with everybody involved in this, and so that’s my focus,” Dantonio said. “Our focus is to get our guys together, coach them on the field, get them ready to play, but not make it too public where it sends a message that this isn’t that serious.

    “This is serious. Extremely serious … I hope everybody understands that it is not business as usual.”

    The Spartans are coming off of a disastrous 3-9 season (1-8 in Big Ten) in 2016, one that featured a seven-game losing streak. But as much as Dantonio knows that he has a big job ahead of him to get Sparty back into the postseason and become a Big Ten East division contender again, the focus on Tuesday morning was the state of the team off of the field.

    Dantonio revealed that other players are suspended beyond the three implicated in the alleged sexual assault, but he would not offer specifics. He also announced that cornerback Drake Martinez has left the program, joining linebacker Jon Reschke and offensive lineman Thiyo Lukusa as departures this offseason.

    But that was about all of the football talk that Dantonio wanted to partake in.

    “I did not want to come up here and talk about spring practice or talk about depth charts or those types of things, because I thought it was unfair to the investigation, as a whole. So we refrained from doing that,” he said.

    “Obviously, I had anticipated that this [matter] would be sort of finalized, to some extent, just in terms of the investigative process. But that’s not been the case.”

    Three Spartan players are under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that took place on Jan. 16 and was reported to Michigan State police the next day. The football players were suspended from football-related activities and from university housing but remain students in East Lansing.

    Meanwhile, Blackwell is the program’s director of college advancement and performance who was suspended on Feb. 9, which came a week after the school hired an external Title IX investigator.

    MORE: UGA, Ohio State In Hot Pursuit Of 4-Star DE Brenton Cox

    DOWNLOAD THE APP

    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion