Statement on sexual assault complaint connected to football program (June 6, 2017)

For more information on MSU's commitment to fostering a culture of safety and respect, including a breakdown on efforts to address sexual violence on campus, visit the Our Commitment website.
Media statement

“The criminal sexual conduct charges brought today by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office against Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance are deeply disturbing. Sexual violence is abhorrent, and our thoughts are with the young woman and her family at this difficult time. As Coach Dantonio made clear today, regardless of the criminal process, the three individuals are no longer part of the football program.

As the criminal case continues, we have to be respectful of the process. And while a Title IX investigation has been completed, due to federal privacy laws the university is unable to comment on the details of that investigation. Those restrictions aside, MSU has strong policies in place and a longstanding commitment to do all we can to prevent sexual assault, to encourage speedy reporting when it does occur and to support victims. 

Separate from the criminal and Title IX investigations, the university also retained an external law firm, Jones Day, to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into football program staff members’ compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations. A report on that investigation can be found at https://msu.edu/ourcommitment/_assets/files/Jones-Day-Report-June-5-2017.pdf.  

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the MSU Police Department, whose diligent work for the past several months directly led to today’s charges.”

-Jason Cody, MSU spokesperson

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Message from Coach Mark Dantonio

“With the criminal sexual conduct charges filed against Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, I have decided that regardless of the final outcome of the criminal process, these three individuals have been dismissed from our program, effective immediately.

“When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families, and we welcome them into ours. We emphasize that success on the field is not enough, as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations. They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.

“Sexual assault has no place in our community, and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family.

“This is an extremely challenging situation that we have taken very seriously and has affected everyone in this program. The high standards I have established for this program will not change, and the values that we teach to everyone in this program will be enforced. I expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflect the ideals of this university.”

-Football Coach Mark Dantonio

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Message from the Athletic Director, Feb. 9, 2017

“The core values of MSU Athletics are clear, consistently communicated and non-negotiable. Among them are respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault is unacceptable, and members of MSU Athletics who fail to uphold our standards for creating a culture that is safe, supportive, and responsive to those affected by it will be held accountable. My expectation of all members of the department is full and complete cooperation with all investigations.

We have a strong athletics program at MSU, one based on values, traditions, and an understanding that as Spartans we are part of something bigger. Our promise to current and future student-athletes and to the entire Spartan community is to take the steps necessary, based on the facts determined through thorough review, to run this program according to the highest values and standards.”

-Athletic Director Mark Hollis

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Frequently asked questions

When did MSU find out about the alleged sexual assault and what did it do?

A report detailing a sexual assault allegation against three players was made to MSU Police in mid-January. MSU Police detectives immediately began an investigation, including interviewing the claimant and attempting to identify all of the parties involved. MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity also received a report and began a Title IX investigation with an outside consultant.

Why did it take so long for charges to be filed against the players?

MSU Police continued their investigation into February and March, at which point they turned their reports over to the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. While police investigate crimes, it is up to a prosecutorial authority to determine whether charges will be filed.

What was the scope of the Jones Day review?

The university administration in February retained an external law firm, Jones Day, to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into football program staff members’ compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations. That report can be found at https://msu.edu/ourcommitment/_assets/files/Jones-Day-Report-June-5-2017.pdf.

Why was Coach Blackwell’s contract not renewed?

Coach Dantonio determined that the program is moving in a different direction and did not extend Blackwell’s contract past May 31, when it expired. That decision was independent of the Jones Day investigation.