The apparent pattern of ignored, overlooked, or sanctioned sexual misconduct Michigan State has been under the microscope. In the wake of the Larry Nassar case, reports have emerged that cast the actions of both the football and men’s basketball team in a very bad light.
Now, a report from ESPN’s Outside The Lines has revealed that a current men’s basketball player has been under investigation for sexual misconduct for months:
A member of Michigan State’s No. 2-ranked basketball team has been under investigation for criminal sexual conduct since the start of the fall semester, sources close to the case confirmed to Outside the Lines on Thursday.
Ingham County, Michigan, prosecutors are in the process of determining whether formal charges should be filed against the player, freshman guard Brock Washington. Washington, a walk-on from Southfield, Michigan, is named as the lone suspect in an alleged assault that Michigan State campus police have classified as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, the sources told Outside the Lines.
It seemed impossible for Tom Izzo’s much-criticized comments in the wake of the Nassar case to look any worse, but here we are. The school is also either stonewalling journalists seeking information about this case, or they’re simply grossly incompetent. Either is a bad look:
Details of the allegations and circumstances remain unknown; a police report has not been released publicly. Outside the Lines requested a copy of the police report through the university’s public records office on Feb. 6, and the university responded Wednesday with a request for a 10-day extension to answer the request.
Outside the Lines reached out Thursday afternoon to multiple university officials and Washington for comment. None responded to calls, voicemails or emails. Outside the Lines also reached out to John Truscott, who was hired recently to lead the university’s crisis communications efforts. Truscott, in response to a series of questions about the alleged incident and a request to release the police report, wrote in an email that he was not in a position to know anything about the case; when asked whether he would provide someone at the university who could answer questions or provide a statement, he responded that “I’m just saying we don’t have any information at this time but will certainly look into it. We don’t have access to police reports, nor does the police department inform anyone of actions such as this.”
There are parallels within Michigan State’s own conference; Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch was just removed from the team after dropping an appeal. Lynch had been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct, and indeed new allegations had emerged after he was already recommended for expulsion. Head coach Richard Pitino had allowed Lynch to practice with the team even while he was suspended, taking the “I’m just a basketball coach” defense.
That’s not really going to work anymore. It remains to be seen if Pitino keeps his job; Izzo, of course, is much more of an institution, and it’s still hard to see the school removing him.
It’s getting easier, though.