Tom Izzo Says Allegations Will Be Handled Differently After Misconduct Case

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo listens to a question at a press conference during Big Ten NCAA college basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Rosemont, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Michigan State's athletic department made headlines during the past year for reports it mishandled allegations of sexual assault and violence against women, and men's basketball head coach Tom Izzo said things will be addressed differently in the future. 

"Everybody will do stuff different now," Izzo said at Big Ten media day Thursday, per Dan Murphy of ESPN.com. "Every kid is going to be suspended now on accusations, I think. And that seems good unless it's your kid. And if it's your kid, you're going to look at it differently. Now if it's something that someone did wrong, then we're going to deal with it in an appropriate way, which we have. That's the only thing I'm going to stick by."

Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren of ESPN's Outside the Lines released an extensive report Feb. 1 revealing 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" when it came to "sexual assault, violence and gender discrimination complaints."

Former Michigan State basketball player and assistant coach Travis Walton was featured in the report multiple times. He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery charges for allegedly punching a woman in the face, although those charges were dismissed before he pleaded guilty to a civil infraction for littering.

What's more, a female Michigan State student said Walton and two other Spartans basketball players raped her.

"In an interview with Outside the Lines, Allswede says little action was taken in regard to the players, and the report stayed within the athletic department, not to be investigated by anyone who handled student conduct or judicial affairs issues," Lavigne and Noren wrote of former Michigan State sexual assault counselor Lauren Allswede.

The report also noted at least 16 football players allegedly committed acts of violence or sexual assault against women since Mark Dantonio started as the head coach of the football team in 2007.

On Thursday, Izzo said he discussed "everything" with NCAA investigators, who ultimately found no NCAA rule violations within the Michigan State basketball and football programs during an investigation.

Izzo also said he felt "insulted" and that he wasn't given "due process" in terms of public opinion when it came to the belief he would keep guilty players within the program, per Murphy.

"As far as accusations about what players did or not, if there would have been a time when a player was found guilty of something, I promise you he will not be on this team," he said. "But if you want me to be a vigilante? To go out and do justice? I can't do that."

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