MSU president criticizes ESPN report

Michigan State University’s interim president is criticizing a report that detailed the school’s response to sexual assault reports involving its athletes.

The report, on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” detailed numerous reports of assaults by athletes – most of them on the football and men’s basketball teams. It also talked about how the MSU Athletic Department played a role in handling some of the cases.

It also quoted a sexual assault counselor who talked about her observations before ultimately leaving the university.

“As a Big Ten university with high-profile football, basketball and hockey programs, they want to protect the integrity of the programs – don’t want scandal, don’t want sexual assault allegations, or domestic violence allegations,” Lauren Allswede told ESPN. “None of it was transparent. It was very insulated, and people were a lot of times discouraged from seeking resources outside of the athletic department. I think that the athletic department wanted to keep control over that information.”

MSU Interim President John Engler said in a letter to the campus community that he watched the report with “great concern” and that it “was a sensationalized package of reporting that contained allegations and insinuations that we are now reviewing.”

Engler, a former Michigan governor, says football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo were told not to comment while the school reviews the reports. But he says he hopes they’ll be able to respond soon.

“That has been a burden that must be lifted,” he said in the letter. “I hope that MSU can soon respond in full and affirm the integrity and probity that has been the hallmark of these two respected coaches.”

ESPN sent a statement to 6 News in response to Engler’s comments, saying “We stand by our reporting.”