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Daily Brews: Controversy re-emerges around Mark Dantonio at Michigan State

The latest with the college sports world and the Michigan Wolverines for Sept. 20.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

So, this one is ugly. And we will let ESPN’s Dan Murphy tell the story in Mark Dantonio and Michigan State’s latest ordeal.

And here’s the excerpt from the story:

“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.

Former Michigan State recruiting director Curtis Blackwell is suing Dantonio, former athletic director Mark Hollis, former university president Lou Anna Simon and two university police officers for wrongful termination and unlawful arrest. Blackwell claimed in court records filed on Thursday that he was made a scapegoat amid fallout from the sexual misconduct allegations against Spartan players in early 2017. Blackwell was suspended shortly after the first incident, and his year-to-year contract with the football program was not renewed later that year. Dantonio cited “philosophical differences” shortly after they parted ways when asked why Blackwell’s contract was not renewed.

Blackwell was arrested in February 2017 on suspicion of interfering with or obstructing a police investigation of the sexual assault allegations involving then-freshmen football players Donnie Corley, Demetric Vance and Josh King. He was not charged with a crime. Michigan State hired the Jones Day law firm to review how the institution and athletic department leaders responded to the sexual assault allegations. Blackwell declined to speak with Jones Day’s investigators, who concluded that Blackwell broke school policy by not properly reporting what he knew about the alleged sexual assault. The Jones Day report cleared Dantonio and all other Michigan State employees of any wrongdoing.

”It seems as though Michigan State used Jones Day to clear the football staff of any wrongdoing and make it all look as if I was the only person that did anything wrong,” Blackwell said in a deposition for his lawsuit.”

This is a sensitive topic and one that does not need editorializing on our end. Blackwell said this under oath, so he is either telling the truth or he is committing perjury. If a shred of it is true, that is another major problem and blow to the integrity of MSU. Hit the full story for more details, but it’s pretty disheartening.

Explaining Michigan’s giant picture boards on sidelines

And now for something much lighter.

Michigan’s change in offensive philosophies and coordinators in Josh Gattis has led to some different approaches with how the team handles its business. One of those aspects is from giant pictures on the sidelines that are signals to the team on the field.

Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News spoke to Gattis about the picture boards and what they have brought to Ann Arbor.

‘“I can’t get into what our boards mean, but they have a significant meaning,” Gattis said. “We’re not going to end up throwing up boards out there for no reason.”

But do they actually accelerate getting the play call to the players?

“That would expose the operations of our offense,” Gattis said, “but our boards have significant value and meaning in our offense. Everybody uses boards differently. Let me say, I don’t think anyone ever uses the boards the same. You’ve seen over the years some people use dummy boards. I think people have used boards in the past to mean plays. You see those in four-box boards. Our boards have a significant meaning, and that’s all we can say. It’s to the operation of our system.

“But they all mean something. It’s not necessarily about the picture but the meaning. Our kids understand it. When they see our boards it’s part of our operation and they know what that board means as far as the information they’re given as far as a play. It’s not necessarily a play call. It’s not necessarily anything there. It’s added value and extra information.”’

The operations of the Michigan offense have not been of the highest quality through two games, but at least the boards have a purpose. We will see on Saturday how things improve after the bye week.


  • We know that Ben Mason is Michigan’s newest Swiss army knife and Steve Kornacki of profiled the Wolverines’ electric personality this week.
  • Ever wonder what it’s like to be Gus Johnson? Harry Lyles of SB Nation followed the Detroit native broadcaster around while he was in town for Michigan vs. Army and it’s a really interesting read inside one of the sport’s most interesting play-by-play men.
  • Please admire perhaps the greatest two plays of college football in 2019 so far from last night’s Tulane vs. Houston game where the home team pulled off highway robbery to get the victory.

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