EAST LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan State University Football Head Coach Mark Dantonio says he’s “angry,” speaking out as sexual assault charges have been filed against three now-former members of his team.
Arrests warrants were signed Tuesday morning by an Ingham County judge for Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance of Detroit and Josh King of Illinois. Corley and Vance face third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. King is charged with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct and distributing an image of an unclothed person.
“I didn’t even want to talk about football for the last six months because of this situation,” Dantonio said, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “And we had refrained from doing that because of the seriousness of this.”
The players, who were allegedly involved in the rape of a young woman in an on-campus apartment, have been dismissed from the MSU football program.
Dantonio said that move was his decision, saying the three “did not live up to the standards we have outlined for this program.”
“The high standards I have established for this program have not changed,” the coach added.
Dantonio offered his sympathies to the victim and her family, and admitted there is now a taint on the football team.
“I’m angry,” he said. “I don’t want to say betrayed; I’m angry. I feel like the education was there, 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, to do their very best.”
“…But as this has gone on, there’s been a lot of sleepless nights,” Dantonio said.
He faced questions about systemic and cultural issues surrounding sexual misconduct on campus.
“We’ve been here 11 years; it has not happened previously. So this has been a little bit of a learning experience, from what I can tell,” Dantonio said, of the Title IV investigation that preceded the charges in this case.
“As you all know I think when you look across the country right now there are issues, there are issues that need to be explored and people need to continue to be educated, and you do the very best you can do in that endeavor, but… from my perspective a lot of this really took of this past year, the education components — and I’m taking mainly about the education components — and how we try to do everything possible from our end in educating our players.”
Dantonio added that while that education typically comes in a controlled environment, “when they’re out there in real life you’re in an uncontrolled environment, and when you’re in an uncontrolled environment, you know, things…occur.”
Dantonio said he has given no thought to stepping down.
“No. I don’t think you walk away from problems. I think that, again as I said earlier in my time here, you’re hired here to handle the problems. That’s why you’re hired, to do what you do.”
Speaking ahead of Dantonio, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis got choked up as he said MSU is “his home” where he and his wife went to school and his children now attend. “I expect my home to be safe,” Hollis said.
Hollis said he has no problem with Dantonio’s handling of the situation. “There was no effort, no attempt to basically hide what was brought forward to him.”
University President Lou Anna Simon said a recently concluded independent review of MSU’s response to the allegations showed compliance by Dantonio. No MSU staff members will face charges.
Arraignments for all three players were being held Tuesday afternoon. Corley and Vance face up to 15 years in prison if convicted as charged. King faces up to life.