Kenneth Borycz ‘18: On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced former Michigan State and Olympic Doctor, Larry Nassar, to 40-175 years in prison for the possession of child pornography and the sexual assault of 150+ females. As Judge Aquilina sentenced Nassar, she added: “I’ve just signed your death warrant, I find that you don’t get it, that you’re a danger. That you remain a danger.”
In the darkness that follows the Nassar trial, these questions need to be asked: should Michigan State University athletics have sanctions on it? What authority does the NCAA have over MSU because of the Nassar trial? Who knew about the abuse? Who covered it up?
This was a tragic event – not only due to what happened, but for how long it occurred. Over 150 survivors stepped forward, voiced the extent of their attacks, and how they plan to cope now that they no longer live in fear. Shortly after the sentencing, Michigan State University’s President, Lou Ann Simon resigned and Athletic Director, Mark Hollis retired from their respective positions.
Rumors quickly arose that head coaches Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo planned to step down. Both coaches put those rumors to rest via press conference on January 19. The coaches cleared up any inaccuracy and noted that all possible sexual assault accusations were dealt with accordingly and handled by the proper authorities.
This tragic event needs to be handled with extreme care. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has opened up an investigation on how to deal with the possible cover up. One of the lead investigators was former Pennsylvania State University’s assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, and he, among others, demands justice.
With the facts made available as of now, I don’t think Michigan State deserves sanctions put against them. If Michigan State did everything right, followed through with all leads, and suspended players for doing horrible things — and not just sexual assault — all while complying with all NCAA rules and laws, then Michigan State doesn’t deserve to be punished.
If in time, MSU is found to have covered up sexual assaults after ignoring leads given by victims, the University should be punished. If this ends up the case for Michigan State, I do believe that all sports should see repercussions, a necessary, but sad day as a Michigan State fan. Just like Nassar, everyone on campus needs to take responsibility for the tragic events that might have occurred.
To all survivors, you’re not alone. We stand behind you and wish you the best in your healing process.