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Dantonio: Kicking three charged with assault off of football team a "moral" decision

Jun 6, 2017

Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio took swift action to kick three football players off the team once criminal charges against them were announced.

The three players face charges related to an alleged assault of a woman that took place on MSU's campus on January 16.

Dantonio says all players – and especially freshmen – have education "thrown at them" about how to act on campus.

“I’m angry, I feel the education was there,” Dantonio said. “I feel like I talk about the sense of responsibility that our players have, not to be a good football player, but to be a good person.”

Dantonio said he has “deep concern” for the alleged victim of the assault and her family.

20-year-old Demetric Vance was arraigned in district court on Tuesday. The other former players, 19-year-olds Donnie Corley and Josh King, are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning.

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis says he plans to assign three people to “oversight roles” in different departments of the football program. Hollis says there are systems already in place at MSU to promote student safety, but those systems have to continue to improve.  

Dantonio says it was his decision to immediately kick the former players off the team, saying it boiled down to a judgment call.

“You ask yourself ‘did they break the law’, and that’s to be discovered I guess at a later time. But you have to ask yourself about the morals involved in this, and from my perspective the morals were not where they needed to be.” Dantonio said.

Dantonio said while the investigation into the alleged assault was ongoing, he “didn’t even want to talk about football,” publicly, because of the seriousness of the allegations. 

Hollis, a MSU alumnus, said he considers Michigan State’s campus and programs his “home."

“I expect my home to be safe, safe to all that live here and all who visit,” Hollis said. “As athletic director I am responsible to make tomorrow better than today.”

Hollis says having individuals assigned to oversight roles in the football program will not change the expectations or accountability of coaching staff.

There were no charges filed against former MSU football recruiter Curtis Blackwell, although he was under investigation by the Ingham County prosecutor’s office. Dantonio said the decision not to renew Blackwell’s contract this spring was due to “philosophical differences.”