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