“Obviously, we took a risk as we said earlier, and vetted the young man.”

Honestly, WTF is it with some coaches?  Is there some contest to see who can be the next Art Briles?

This is something:

A former Michigan State football staffer said under oath that head coach Mark Dantonio ignored his assistants’ warnings while recruiting a player who subsequently was convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow student on campus and that important information was omitted from an investigation into how the athletic department handled a pair of sexual misconduct allegations involving football players…

During the course of the Jones Day investigation in 2017, another football player, defensive end Auston Robertson, sexually assaulted the girlfriend of one of his teammates. He was dismissed from the team when he was charged with a crime, and later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Blackwell said in his deposition that multiple assistant coaches asked Dantonio not to offer Robertson a spot on the roster because he had a history of troubling behavior. Blackwell said he witnessed defensive line coach Ron Burton tell Dantonio that he didn’t want Robertson to be on the same campus as his daughter.

“So for Ron Burton to say it was that bad that he didn’t want his daughter around him, I knew he had some real serious sexual issues,” Blackwell said in his deposition…

That’s putting it mildly.

Robertson, a highly touted recruit from Indiana, was charged with misdemeanor battery during his senior year of high school. Police said he “rubbed and grabbed” a female classmate’s groin against her will in the school’s lobby. The female student told police Robertson had also harassed or touched her inappropriately on two other occasions. Robertson, who had also been arrested on vandalism charges months earlier, was kicked off the high school’s football team and banned from the high school’s campus while Michigan State was recruiting him.

Blackwell said in his deposition that Michigan State assistant coaches learned about other troubling incidents in Robertson’s past when they attempted to vet him further during the early months of 2017.

Police reports and court documents show that Robertson was involved in a string of incidents in which he was accused of sexual violence and two forceful rape attempts during his high school years. He was not charged with crimes in any of those cases. A university spokeswoman said in 2018 that the school was not aware of any of those incidents when Robertson was accepted as a student.

Uh huh.  Right.

Blackwell said that he, Burton and fellow assistant Dave Warner all suggested the team steer clear of Robertson in a meeting with Dantonio.

“I want to say [Warner] spoke with the principal and the coach … and they had nothing good to say about him,” Blackwell said. “[Warner] couldn’t really find anybody that could say anything good about Auston.”

Blackwell said Dantonio “overrode” other staff members who didn’t want him on campus, telling them he would make Robertson his “pet project.” Blackwell said Dantonio met with Robertson on a weekly basis during the freshman’s time on campus and created a special program to mentor and monitor him.

Dantonio’s deposition, assuming it ever gets to that stage, ought to be a real hoot.

30 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Crime and Punishment

30 responses to ““Obviously, we took a risk as we said earlier, and vetted the young man.”

  1. Cousin Eddie

    Dantonio should beat the rush and start packing now. That is unacceptable behavior. He should have know that he was taking full responsibility for a sociopath and it would be the end of his career if something happened, I feel no pity for him.

    Like

  2. Greg

    “pet project”??…..shades of Tom Osborne. Thinks they all have sold their souls.

    Like

  3. Derek

    Saban would say, and did say about Jonathan Taylor, that his concern is that the player never received due process.

    And people treat that fuck head like he’s worthy of admiration.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. MDDawg

    Maybe I just haven’t paid attention, but I didn’t think Dantonio had a reputation for that kind of stuff. If this had happened under Urban Meyer at Ohio State, I wouldn’t have been shocked at all.

    Like

  5. Got Cowdog

    I have a daughter, many of you here do as well. What would you say/do if it were your little girl that was assaulted and the fucking head football coach knowingly put her or someone else’s daughter in that danger?

    Like

    • Derek

      What’s his winning percentage?

      I say that jokingly because Saban did exactly that and no one seems to give a fuck. Meyer has a guy who abuses his wife and everyone freaks, but Saban brings Jonathan Taylor on campus, he does it again, and people even around here still treat him like some kind of deity.

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        I have to admit I’m not familiar with the JT story. Was there as much info on him? Did the Assistant Coaches go on record telling Saban the guy was no good? I’m admittedly a bit of a Saban fan but …..

        Like

        • Russ

          We kicked him out for DV, and Saban took him in. After he did the same at Bama, Saban claimed to have done his due diligence but Richt and everyone at UGA claimed no one from Bama ever called or asked about Taylor. Saban got a little heat for it but it quickly passed.

          TBH, I haven’t seen him do it again.

          This stuff worries me when I see we’re still going after Zach Evans, the #1 RB in the country. He was kicked off his high school team (for what, I don’t know) and I have to wonder how bad you have to be to get kicked off the team at a Texas high school. I guess it’s always a risk. Some are stupid kids and grow up. Others are sociopaths and shouldn’t be in school. I don’t know how to tell the difference. The Taylor situation was pretty bad, though.

          Like

          • Derek

            Alabama also didn’t contact law enforcement.

            They did nothing.

            And then Taylor did it again.

            Saban thought Taylor should have had his day in court before being booted off the team.

            Like

            • Got Cowdog

              I’m all for innocent until proven guilty. And not condoning DV, but drunken brawling with your girlfriend is a little different than sexually assaulting another players significant other. Taylor could have snowed Saban or an assistant pretty easily on that, especially if it were he said-she said. Yes, someone from Bama’s staff should have contacted UGA and gotten the skinny. I’m not excusing Saban.
              Dantonio’s actions were much more egregious than Saban’s in the fact that people familiar with Robertson had sent clear warning that the kid had issues. Dantoio’s own staff said the kid was bad news. Dantonio is directly responsible for putting the girl in danger and should be held at least partially responsible for what happened.

              Like

              • Derek

                That’s all good in theory, but a decent lawyer and a complicit judiciary and DA’s office can put a case off until after the eligibility has expired.

                The issue is what Dantonio’s assistant said: knowing what we know do we risk the community and student body.

                That’s a decision that can and should be made without a jury.

                Would you permit Jonathan Taylor date your daughter while the case is pending? No. Why? Because you’re not as stupid as your post suggests.

                Like

                • Got Cowdog

                  (1) Point taken. But Blackwell was fired.

                  (2) That was the point of my comment. Dantonio is responsible because he knew the risk and ignored it. Sorry if you got hung up on the “There might be more to the Saban/ Taylor thing than I know.” Yes it was a bad look but nobody went to jail. The Robertson kid got ten years.

                  (3) What decision? UGA’s to kick Taylor off the team? Saban’s decision to give him a second chance? Dantonio’s decision to ignore a criminal past? Regardless of how I feel it’s conjecture to say Dantonio was doing anything other than trying to help the kid. I don’t know if testimony by a disgruntled employee will do it in court.

                  (4) If my daughter is an adult I can’t really permit or not permit her to date whoever she chooses. You will figure that out pretty quick if and when you have one. So far mine’s used pretty good judgment.

                  Like

          • Classic City Canine

            What’s going on with Evans? Kirby hasn’t played around with violence against women (see Holloman) while he’s been here. I wouldn’t think he would suddenly change course for Evans.

            Like

            • Russ

              I don’t know, other than he’s reportedly kicked off his high school team. Don’t know what for. But as I said, getting kicked off a Texas high school team when you’re the best running back in the country would take something significant. I’m sure it’s a red flag.

              Like

            • Ricky McDurden

              Evans seems to be moreso a kid who knows he’s good not getting the carries he objectively should be getting to help his team and then having the gall to tell the coaches about it. I haven’t heard that his suspension from his HS team has anything to do with off the field transgressions, just getting in a verbal altercation with his coaches.

              Like

              • Russ

                Sounds like Cox?

                Like

                • Ricky McDurden

                  Maybe. What I know about Brenton is he just outright resented being told what to do, no matter who said it and with what intentions. I don’t know enough about Evans to know if he falls into the same personality group but I can at least understand his frustrations. Given recent experience, I don’t think UGA is going to continue recruiting a kid with authority issues so if the communication between UGA and Evans tapers off we may know why (FWIW, I’ve heard just the opposite, that UGA and Evans still communicate regularly.

                  Like

      • Got Cowdog

        Never mind. Googled it.

        Like

    • I’d beat that s******d within an inch of his life. That’s all i kept thinking when reading the article above. How does one justify this?

      Like

  6. Pirate

    Derek, we are on opposite sides of almost all issues but I agree 100% with you on this sir. It’s come to the point of win and just look the other way. Even if young girls are sexually assaulted .

    Like

  7. Paul

    I think if I were person assaulted by Robertson I’d be leveraging this testimony to sue both Dantonio and the school.

    Like

  8. WCH

    Isn’t Michigan State the school that employed USA Gymnastics doctor? I’m not confusing causation and correlation but it’s a bad coincidence.

    Like

  9. Ricky McDurden

    The hubris of Dantonio to look at an extensive troubled history like Robertson’s and just assume “well, he hasn’t met with me once a week, I’ll be able to change his life and nobody will get hurt in the process.” Willing to bet he never for a second considered the message it sends to a high school kid with a tendency toward sexual violence that despite all of these incidents being out in the open, receiving a DI scholarship and Dantonio’s personal attention would only affirm that he can keep doing what he’s doing so long as he is good at football.

    If he has a soul, Dantonio should have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

    Like

  10. Sounds like a resume for yet another Saban assistant.

    Like