MSU: No NCAA rules violations in Larry Nassar case

Matt Charboneau

East Lansing — Michigan State says it did not violate any NCAA rules in relation to the Larry Nassar case, according to the university’s response last month to the governing body.

In late January, the NCAA sent a letter to then-Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis asking for information regarding the sexual-assault scandal that led to Nassar being sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

On March 22, Michigan State responded in a letter from attorney Mike Glazier, of the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, to NCAA vice president of enforcement Jonathan Duncan. The letter referenced the ongoing investigations from the likes of the Michigan Attorney General as well as the Department of Education while also spelling out the reasons the university does not believe it committed any NCAA violations.

“I trust you will see that the University is in no way attempting to sidestep the issues facing it, and that if the University had any reason to believe the criminal conduct of Nassar also implicated NCAA rules violations, the University would accept responsibility in that area as well,” the letter said. “However, after a thorough and analytical examination of NCAA legislation, and an application of the known facts associated with the Nassar matter to NCAA legislation, the University finds no NCAA rules violations.”

The letter states the university appreciates the NCAA’s acknowledgment that the original letter sent in January was not a Notice of Inquiry or a Notice of Allegations, instead it was informational in nature.

However, it was also made clear that Michigan State is committed to following NCAA Bylaw, which relates to the well-being of student athletes including their health and safety, but notes that bylaw is a guide and not subject to enforcement.

"The University agrees wholeheartedly and is committed to providing the most safe and healthy environment possible for its student-athletes,” the letter said. “Regrettably, we have learned that Nassar did not share the University's commitment and violated criminal law.”

Nassar, 54, will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges. He’s been accused of sexually abusing more than 250 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment, some of whom say their complaints to university officials went unheeded.

At the time the letter was sent, it said 267 victims had come forward in lawsuits while adding that 25 of them were Michigan State student-athletes. The letter added that six had been assaulted since 2014, when the University conducted a Title IX investigation that cleared Nassar of any wrongdoing.

During his time at MSU, Nassar worked with mostly with the gymnastics team but also did work with the crew team. He was also a doctor with USA Gymnastics.

The letter concludes by saying the University will continue to monitor the ongoing legal cases and government investigations and that if any information arises that could be deemed an NCAA violation, it would notify the compliance office.

“To be clear, the University finds Nassar’s conduct to be abhorrent and a violation of every standard of conduct expected of University employees,” the letter states. “The University’s thoughts and prayers are with the survivors and their families.”