Tom Izzo ‘Definitely Not Retiring,’ Won’t Comment On ESPN’s Sexual Assault Report On Michigan State
Tom Izzo would not comment on an ESPN report detailing systemic mishandling of sexual assault cases involving athletes at Michigan State.
But he did address internet rumors suggesting he would retire or resign in the wake of the bombshell report.
"I'm not going anywhere, in my mind," Izzo said late Friday after the Spartans defeated Wisconsin 76-61. "I'm definitely not retiring.
"There's a lot of things that happened today that are part of life, and I'm gonna worry about my team, I'm gonna worry about the survivors [of Larry Nassar's sexual assaults], and I'm gonna worry about what I do..."
ESPN's investigation reported a longstanding and consistent approach by MSU of handling cases of sexual assault with inaction and ambivalence, particularly when student athletes are accused.
Important revelations in the story included:
- In 2010, then-MSU basketball players Adreian Payne and Keith Appling allegedly raped a female MSU student in a dorm room. Charges were never filed.
- Former MSU basketball player Travis Walton, while a graduate assistant coach for Izzo in 2010, allegedly punched a female student in the face and was allowed to continue coaching, then allegedly sexually assaulted another female student later that month.
- At least 16 football players have been accused of sexual assault and/or violence against women since Mark Dantonio took over in 2007
- A former sexual assault counselor for MSU told ESPN/OTL that sexual assault complaints against athletes "got kind of swept away and it was handled more by administration [and] athletic department officials."
The story also details MSU's longstanding practice of attempting to suppress the release of information to the public as it pertains to cases of sexual assault.
Izzo repeatedly declined to answer questions about the ESPN report.
"We will cooperate with any investigation going forward, as we've always done. And that's about all I have to say about it right now," Izzo said.
Before Friday's game, MSU football coach Mark Dantonio refuted the ESPN story's claims that he personally mishandled complains of sexual violence against Spartan football players. Dantonio also said he is not stepping down.
MSU athletic director Mark Hollis abruptly retired Friday morning, about two hours before the ESPN report was published. Lou Anna Simon resigned as president of the university on Wednesday in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.
Izzo voiced his support for Nassar's victims several times throughout Friday's 14-minute press conference.
"I support the survivors to the Nth degree...I hope that I'm a big part of the healing process for them and our campus community," he said.