Ex-Michigan State recruiting director sues Mark Dantonio, others

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/279069/" data-ylk="slk:Curtis Blackwell">Curtis Blackwell</a> had been the team’s recruiting coordinator for four seasons. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Curtis Blackwell had been the team’s recruiting coordinator for four seasons. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Former Michigan State recruiting director Curtis Blackwell has filed a lawsuit over his termination that names coach Mark Dantonio, former athletic director Mark Hollis and former school president Lou Anna K. Simon.

Blackwell was not retained by Michigan State in the spring of 2017 when the school declined to renew his contract after he was suspended. Blackwell was suspended as three players were investigated for sexual assault allegations and the reason given for Blackwell’s suspension was related to “compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations.”

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In his suit, Blackwell says that Michigan State officials were quick to react and get rid of him in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal. He says Michigan State never allowed him to explain his side of the story and his contract was not renewed, in part, because he invoked his right to not speak to police. He also said he was not covering up for the players, but instead performing his job which included “mentoring” football players.

From the Detroit News:

In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Curtis Blackwell says MSU officials “feeling the heat from the Larry Nassar cover-up, and eager to prove they were tough on cover-ups, ran roughshod” over his rights when he was “wrongly” accused of covering up for MSU athletes involved in an alleged sexual assault of a female co-ed in 2017.

“With no evidence, none, that plaintiff covered up for the athletes, the MSU Police Department, in stormtrooper fashion cuffed plaintiff; seized his personal and MSU cell phones and hauled him off to the MSU Police station,” the suit says.

Two police detectives from the Michigan State police department are also named in the suit. Blackwell was the team’s recruiting director for four years and the suit seeks damages of $150,000.

Nassar, the former school and USA Gymnastics doctor, is serving 60 years in prison on sexual abuse charges. Hollis resigned as Michigan State’s athletic director and Simon resigned as the school’s president in January in the days surrounding Nassar’s sentencing.

A letter from Hollis to Blackwell in May informing the former recruiting director that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed said the lack of a renewal was related to “several allegations.”

Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance were dismissed from the team in May after they were accused of sexually assaulting a woman on campus in January of 2017. They all pled guilty to felony charges of seduction in August while King also pled guilty to a charge of surveillance of an unclothed person.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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