Michigan State's Mark Dantonio sheds few details on sexual assault investigation

Sporting News
Michigan State seems poised for another Big Ten championship run, and Mark Dantonio has the program moving forward again.

Mark Dantonio moves Michigan State forward with same-old high expectations

Michigan State seems poised for another Big Ten championship run, and Mark Dantonio has the program moving forward again.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio won't comment on the sexual assault investigation hanging over the program and refuses talk about football.

That's the tough spot he's in right now. Dantonio broke his silence with reporters on Tuesday. The Spartans play their spring game on Saturday, but that was not discussed in detail.

"I can't comment on an investigation," Dantonio said via the Detroit Free Press live feed. "What I won't do right now is talk about football is because right now it's not important."

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Dantonio's only stance was to repeat that the investigation which led to the suspension of three un-named players is "serious" and that he wants to "respect the process." Dantonio also confirmed that more players have been suspended unrelated to that investigation.

On Feb. 9, three Michigan State players and a football staff member were suspended while the university conducted an investigation into a sexual assault complaint. The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office also has a criminal investigation into the complaint, and a Title IX investigation and external investigation into the football program are still ongoing. Football staff member Curtis Blackwell remains suspended.

No charges have been filed at this point. Dantonio did not comment on the investigation and still has no timetable for when it will conclude. Dantonio, who took over at Michigan State in 2007 said he "hopes everyone understands it's not business as usual."

"This is an extremely challenging time for us," Dantonio said. "I don't think there' any question that (investigation) has impacted our program."

Michigan State is coming off a 3-9 season just one year after winning the Big Ten championship and playing in the College Football Playoff. The investigations have loomed through the offseason into spring practice. Dantonio did not minimize the investigation, but how the Spartans handle the outcome will determine which direction this program goes. This is a critical time for the program and a chance to get it right.

"I think to stand up here and talk about who our quarterback is going to be is trivial right now," Dantonio said.

Dantonio will face the next round of questioning Saturday when fans can see which players are missing from the spring game. Dantonio broke his silence, but he didn't say much. At some point the investigation will conclude, and he'll have to talk about that. After that, maybe the focus can return to football.

"This is an opportunity to re-center ourselves as a program, and as a people," Dantonio said.

It's also a chance for a major FBS program to get it right.

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