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Michigan State deserves the NCAA’s sixth death penalty

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Michigan State University needs to receive the death penalty from the NCAA. If all these allegations are true — and we believe they are true — the Spartans need to be punished to the fullest extent.

Even the NCAA reportedly knew of these allegations. If Mark Emmert, the NCAA President, knew of the allegations, like it is to be believed that he did, he needs to resign and be punished for not doing anything.

Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo (Getty Images)

Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo (Getty Images)

This culture of sexual assault at the school is sickening. It is even worse than the Jerry Sandusky case that happened several years ago to Penn State.

Sandusky, a sicko, and former Penn State assistant coach molested young children, was arrested and sentenced to the rest of his life in jail.

A few Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno, who had his legendary stature tarnished after not telling the school of the allegations. However, like the Michigan State case, they refused to do anything about this because they did not want to ruin their reputation as a prominent athletic department that makes millions yearly.

Several Penn State officials were charged with perjury in that case. They were initially suspended or dismissed for covering up incidents for failing to notify the authorities.

Former school president Graham Spanier was forced to resign over the allegations. Paterno was fired by the school despite Sandusky maintaining his innocence, he said.

Louis Freeh, a former FBI Director, was commissioned to investigate the program. He found, “total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.”

In July 2012, the NCAA sanctions were $60 million in a fine, a four-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, and vacated all wins from 1998 through 2011. The sanctions were considered the most severe ever to an NCAA affiliated school.

Two years later, the NCAA changed its mind and rescinded its postseason ban. They also restored scholarships and gave the school back its wins from 1998 through 2011.

The abuse at Michigan State has reportedly been going on for more than two decades. Not only does it include those allegations against former team doctor Larry Nassar, who was recently sentenced to likely the rest of his life in jail, but allegations against the football and basketball programs.

There were reportedly 14 different people at Michigan State, who hid allegations of Nassar abuse. Plus, there were more than 100 complaints against him.

In addition, there were numerous other complaints and sexual assault allegations against Spartan football and basketball players. ESPN detailed these allegations in an Outside the Lines, an investigative branch of ESPN, on Friday.

According to Outside the Lines, “[they] found a pattern of widespread denial, inaction, and information suppression of such allegations by officials ranging from campus police to the Spartan athletic department, whose top leader, Mark Hollis, announced his retirement on Friday. The actions go well beyond the highly-publicized case of former MSU athletic physician Larry Nassar.”

The ESPN report said that the school fought three-times in court, which were all unsuccessful, to withhold names of athletes in campus police records. The Outside the Lines report also deleted information in several records to make them unreadable.

At least 16 Michigan State football players have been accused of sexual assault, or violence against women since head football coach Mark D’Antonio took over in 2007. He was even reportedly in charge of discipline in one of the cases, according to the Outside the Lines report.

They also brought to the table new allegations in never-published reports involving Tom Izzo’s basketball program.

Travis Walton, who has since been suspended by the Los Angeles Clippers organization, was not identified in the Outside the Lines online report, but was identified on the Outside the Lines TV story, was allowed to continue to be a student coach after he was charged with punching a female MSU student in 2010 at a bar. Then, months later, he was accused of sexually assaulting a different female student.

Michigan State reportedly knew of allegations against Nassar dating back to 1997. They also did not report to federal officials in 2014, according to the Outside the Lines report, that the school had several Title IX and campus investigations ongoing against Nassar.

“Whatever protocol or policy was in place, whatever frontline staff might normally be involved in response or investigation, it all got kind of swept away and it was handled more by administration [and] athletic department officials,” former MSU sexual assault counselor Lauren Allswede, who worked for the school for seven-years, said to Outside the Lines. “It was all happening behind closed doors. …. None of it was transparent or included people, who would normally be involved in certain decisions.

Nassar, according to Outside the Lines, did not officially get investigated until 2014. He was still employed by the school until September 2016.

Lou Anna Simon, who reportedly kept her job because she was a ‘good fundraiser,’ resigned as president this week. Hollis also resigned. Izzo and D’Antonio need to resign. The athletic departments’ senior leaders also need to resign.

They need to start fresh. They also need to suffer penalties to their athletic department, as well as the football and basketball teams. The 2018 football season and 2018-19 basketball season needs to be canceled immediately. This will hit them where it hurts.

The NCAA needs to give the Spartans the sixth death penalty of all-time and cancel their seasons. The last-time one was levied was against the Southern Methodist University football team in 1987.

When they received the death penalty, their 1987 season was canceled. All the home games for the following season was also canceled. They were allowed to play their away games in 1988, though.

The probation for the program through the death penalty ran through 1990. Their bowl ban lasted three seasons through 1989.

They lost 55 scholarships in a four-year span. They also banned several boosters. The program was only allowed to hire five football assistant coaches instead of the NCAA-regulated nine assistants at the time.

The school was not allowed to have off-campus recruiting visits until August 1988.

The NCAA last handed out the death penalty in the MacMurray College case when they were hit with the death penalty for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons for men’s tennis. They also gave out another death penalty to a school outside of Division I when they hit Morehouse College, a Division II school, received the death penalty in men’s soccer in 2004 and 2005.

The NCAA has the power to ban any institution from competing in a sport. In 1985, the NCAA Council passed a “repeat violator” rule. The rule, which stipulates, that if a second major violation occurs at any institution within five years of being on probation in the same sport or another sport, that institution can be barred from competing in the sport involving the second violation for either one or two seasons.

The school can also be stripped of its right to vote at NCAA Conventions for four years. The NCAA ‘has the power to ban a school from competing in a sport without any preliminaries in cases of particularly egregious violations.’

If they did not want to hit Penn State with the death penalty, Michigan State’s lack of institutional control of its entire athletic department deserves to be hit with the death penalty in multiple sports.

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