Michigan State's interim president to resign after controversial comments

Photo of Michigan State's interim president to resign after controversial comments
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John Engler, the interim president of Michigan State University, will step down from his position effective Jan. 23, members of the school's board of trustees told ESPN's Dan Murphy.

The move comes less than a week after Engler made comments suggesting some sexual assault victims of former Michigan State gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar were "enjoying" the attention that came with their association to decades of abuse.

"There are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven't been in the spotlight," Engler said in an interview with The Detroit News last week. "In some ways, they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who've been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it's ending. It's almost done."

Nassar, who also served as a team doctor for USA Gymnastics, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison last January after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to up to 125 years in prison after pleading guilty to another three counts of criminal sexual conduct under a separate county jurisdiction less than a month later. Those sentences will be served concurrently, beginning after the conclusion of a 60-year sentence for federal child pornography charges.

Michigan State reached a $425-million settlement with over 300 former athletes last May, with an additional $75 million set aside in a trust to account for future claimants.

Engler was voted in as Michigan State's interim president on Jan. 31, 2018, replacing Lou Anna Simon, who herself resigned amid the Nassar scandal.

School trustee Joel Ferguson told ESPN he's "got a feel" for who will replace Engler as interim president while the search for a long-term replacement continues, but would not elaborate further.

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