EAST LANSING, MICH. - eMark Dantonio said he will not resign and denied he ever handled sexual assault situations during his first 11 years as Michigan State football coach.
Dantonio on Friday night took the podium at Breslin Center for a little more than three minutes, taking two questions, after reports of three new sexual assault cases during his tenure were released earlier in the day.
ESPN released today an in-depth investigative story about two hours after Hollis' announcement, and scrutinized the way both football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo handled allegations of sexual assault against their players.
Here is Dantonio’s statement and answers to questions:
“During this extremely difficult and challenging time for our community, I would first like to express our deepest sympathies and my deepest sympathies to the courageous survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse. It was absolutely heartbreaking to hear their stories and the pain and suffering they went through, and we are only in the beginning stages of the healing process for the community and even more importantly for the survivors and their families.
“I have received many questions and inquiries about today’s reports and the latest reports. I’m here tonight to say that any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false. Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IX office. I have always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with cases of sexual assault.
“We have always had high standards in this program, and that will never change. The values that we teach to everyone in this program will be enforced. We’ve also always tackled problems here head-on and have dealt with issues. When you find out about the problems, it has come from the police or the university authorities. I can assure you as in last year’s incident, I also immediately reported that to the proper authorities.
“That’s really all I have to say. I want to thank you for your time. You know, I’m advised against questions, but I feel completely steadfast in what I said today. I’ll take two questions.”
REPORTER: “Mark, there have been erroneous rumors that you were planning on resigning. Is that absolutely untrue?”
DANTONIO: “That is absolutely false. I am here for Spartan nation, I am here for our football program and for my family. And to look the people in the eye who I guess instigated those reports.”
REPORTER: “Mark, did you know about those previous sexual assaults that were reported in that story?”
DANTONIO: “It came to me from the authorities.”
REPORTER: “You knew about them at the time …”
DANTONIO: “They came straight from the authorities. When I found out about a sexual assault, I reported them immediately. That was as of last year’s. So I don’t want to walk out of here or not, but I can’t answer 150 questions. I want to thank you guys for your time. I thought it was important to come and address this and look people in the eye. Thank you for your time.”
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Detroit Free Press