By Kyle Yager, Sports Editor —
If you are unfamiliar with the extreme sexual assault scandal currently unfolding at Michigan State, you’re at the right place. It is inarguably one of the biggest scandals to unfurl in sports history, and we have only just begun to scratch the surface.
The exposure comes in the wake of the conviction of world-renowned sports physician Larry Nassar and his unnerving molestation of more than 150 young girls throughout his tenure as doctor for the Olympic gymnastic team and Michigan State. With the testimony of well-known Olympic gymnasts like McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, the world watched as justice came down on Nassar. On Wednesday he was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
“You do not deserve to walk outside of prison ever again,” said Judge Aquilana, the residing judge over the trial, as she imposed the sentence. “I just signed your death warrant.”
The sentencing still feels like a slap on the wrist for such a horrible individual who has ruined and scarred so many innocent, impressionable lives.
Following the sentencing, then-president of Michigan State Lou Anna K. Simon resigned that night.
Fast forward to Friday, when Michigan State university’s entire athletic department exploded. Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis resigned that morning as stories began flooding in about numerous cases of sexual assault impropriety dealing with athletes. The problems had now spread to football and, the heart of Michigan State athletics, basketball.
Leaks put Tom Izzo, head basketball coach, and Mark Dantonio, head football coach, under fire with notations of multiple events of unscrupulous lack of action and catering to offenders.
Accusations are alarming. One describes Dantonio having one malefactor simply talk to his mother about the incident, but receive no further punishment. Another unsettling reveal notes the widely reported sexual assault involving, then, key Spartan guards Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, saying they weren’t punished.
Upon release of these reports, Payne was waived by the Orlando Magic over the weekend.
These are just a couple examples of many disturbing allegations that the offending parties were not held responsible because those responsible for punishment were only concerned with winning. This is just another recent example of people in extremely powerful positions deciding their personal gain is worth ignoring the continued victimization of innocent women.
As shocking and perturbing as all of these allegations have been, I haven’t even mentioned the most deceitful part of this extensive entwinement. Its truly appalling how far down the rabbit whole our web extends.
According to a report released Saturday from The Athletic, NCAA president Mark Emmert was alerted about 37 reports of sexual assault at Michigan State in 2010, and he did NOTHING.
To reiterate for emphasis, the president of the NCAA was alerted about 37 cases of Michigan State athletes committing sexual assault eight years ago and he didn’t do a damn thing. He didn’t investigate the issue, he didn’t ask for accountability, he didn’t implement suspension, he didn’t impose disciplinary sanctions, hell, he probably hardly stirred as he’s slept like a newborn child for eight years as sexual offenders thrived with no repercussions or sense of wrongdoing.
This evokes recollection of the monumental Penn State scandal from years before. The confirmed reports of Sandusky’s molestation of adolescent boys rightfully led to his demise, but as reports surfaced of impropriety from higher ups, it ended up completely killing the Penn State program that was. It even led to the shaming of the once beloved legend Joe Paterno, and seemed to erode his will to live, as he died soon after.
This is Penn State times 10.
The sizeable difference here is one of the main extremities of this web. The NCAA was responsible for punishing Penn State for the scandal, and boy did they come down hard. What happens now that the NCAA, the entity responsible for punishment, is involved in the violation? How does one promote justice when the judge, jury, and executioner, is the one committing the injustic? We are in uncharted waters.
Oh, what tangled webs we weave.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will be investigating the scandal, and he hopes to bring swift justice.
“Let’s be very clear; no individual in no department at Michigan State University is off limits,” said Schuette. “We will put a bright light at every corner of the university.”
When unweaving a web of lies that is so sticky and so tangled, you have one solution. Kill the spider.