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MSU names two new faculty athletic reps after previous rep resigned

Apr 19, 2018

Interim Michigan State University president John Engler has appointed two long-time MSU professors, Bonnie Knutson and Michael Kaplowitz, as the school's new faculty athletic representatives. 

Their appointments come as MSU finds itself under fire for its handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

More than two hundred women claim they were sexually abused by Nassar. Many were athletes at MSU.

The two professors are replacing the former faculty athletic representative, Sue Carter, who resigned last January, in protest over the manner in which MSU was handling the scandal and treating Nassar's victims.

Knutson and Kaplowitz will serve as senior advisers to the MSU president and athletic director. They will also represent the school to the Big Ten and the NCAA, and chair the MSU Athletic Council, an advisory group on intercollegiate athletics.

"It is a clear priority for me to learn how MSU athletics works, how it works as far as supporting student success, how it works as far as handling allegations of sexual assault," said Kaplowitz.

"It's clear that we have serious issues that need to be addressed related to Larry Nassar and the general climate on campus," said Kaplowitz. " But for me, my focus is going to be on the academic integrity of the athletics program and focusing on the welfare of the student athlete."

Knutson is a Distinguished University Professor in the School of Hospitality Business, and she has twice served as its interim director. She also is a past president of the advisory council for the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the MSU Alumni Association National Board. She received her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from MSU and joined the faculty in 1986.

Kaplowitz is a professor of environmental policy and international development in MSU's Department of Community Sustainability where he served as department chair from 2011-2016. He is also an adjunct professor at the MSU College of Law. He earned his doctorate degree from MSU in  1997, the same year he joined the faculty. He has a law degree from Duke University.

"To help our athletes succeed both academically and athletically, we look to the faculty representatives to help guide the discussions and policies," said Engler in a written statement. "Their expertise related to university governance, their rapport with students and in Michael's case, a former athlete himself, will serve the council well."

According to an MSU press release, while MSU has previously only had one faculty athletic representative, it decided to appoint two "due to increased demand related to concerns and policies surrounding student-athletes."

According to a Big Ten Conference spokesman, MSU will become the sixth of the 14 Big Ten schools to have two faculty athletic representatives.