In February 2020, Mark Dantonio — by far probably the most profitable soccer coach in Michigan State’s historical past — retired. The stress of managing 120 student-athletes yearly wore on him, Dantonio mentioned. He needed to make his life simpler, so he was stepping away from soccer and East Lansing.
Tougher to disregard, although, have been the studies that Dantonio had been dismissive of sexual misconduct allegations made in opposition to his gamers. An Exterior the Strains investigation mere days earlier than Dantonio’s retirement announcement reported that Dantonio has been lower than diligent in dealing with allegations of sexual assault in opposition to his gamers, together with making bewildering feedback to the media about his historical past of dealing with such claims:
Since Dantonio’s tenure started in 2007, no less than 16 MSU soccer gamers have been accused of sexual assault or violence in opposition to girls, in line with interviews and public data obtained by Exterior the Strains. Much more, Dantonio was mentioned to be concerned in dealing with the self-discipline in no less than one of many instances a number of years in the past. As not too long ago as June, Dantonio confronted a crowd of reporters who have been asking questions on 4 of his soccer gamers who had been accused of sexual assault. Six questions in, a reporter requested Dantonio how he had dealt with such allegations beforehand.
“That is new floor for us,” Dantonio answered. “We’ve been right here 11 years — it has not occurred beforehand.”
Worse, Dantonio’s dealing with of assault allegations in opposition to his gamers appeared to proof somebody with little to no understanding of the dynamics of sexual assault. OTL reported that, in a single case the place an MSU soccer participant was accused of sexual assault, Dantonio had the participant discuss to his mom about what he had accomplished.
It’s unimaginable to learn Dantonio’s resolution to retire as solely divorced from the scrutiny MSU was going by way of on the time, largely because of the administration’s dealing with of the Larry Nassar scandal. Actually, a little bit over every week earlier than he introduced his retirement, Dantonio decried the OTL report, saying that any studies that he had dealt with complaints of sexual assault individually have been false that he wouldn’t be stepping down. What occurred throughout that assertion and Dantonio’s resolution to retire simply over every week later? It’s unimaginable to say, however it’s notable that media protection of MSU’s dealing with of sexual misconduct allegations — and by extension, Dantonio’s — continued to ramp up throughout that point.
How then, is a coach who retired within the midst of a report about his alleged mishandling of sexual assault allegations the particular person MSU chooses to deliver again within the wake of the suspension of head soccer coach Mel Tucker, following allegations of his sexual harassment? Late yesterday, following a USA Right now report that Tucker had harassed sexual assault prevention advocate Brenda Tracy, MSU Athletic Director Alan Haller introduced that Tucker can be suspended with out pay, secondary coach Harlon Barnett can be the staff’s interim coach, and Dantonio would function a particular assistant.
For those who had any doubt as as to if or not MSU “will get it” relating to the right dealing with of Title IX complaints or transparency as a state establishment, they don’t. Although Tracy filed her Title IX grievance in opposition to Tucker in December, the college took no identifiable motion in opposition to Tucker till USA Right now blew the lid off the story Saturday night. The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach reported that Haller informed the media that “interim measures” have been in place, however these “interim measures” appeared to be restricted to Tucker not having contact with Tracy and Haller having “elevated oversight of this system.” However except MSU directors have been monitoring Tucker 24 hours a day, together with whereas he was away from the college and his digital communications, it’s arduous to ascertain how any of that quantities to a ample response. The choice that the reply to yet one more public sexual misconduct scandal at MSU is extra Mark Dantonio is additional proof that nobody at MSU has any concept what they’re doing relating to dealing with Title IX complaints.
Deadspin reached out to Michigan State Athletics and AD Alan Haller for remark. On the time of publication, we had not acquired a response.
MSU soccer followers will little doubt cheer Dantonio’s return to soccer at East Lansing, the place he’s nonetheless a beloved determine. However for individuals who are involved about sexual violence in opposition to girls and the college’s repeated failures in dealing with it, Dantonio’s return appears to mark an administration that retains entering into circles.