NCAA president disputes report he knew about Michigan State sexual assaults

Photo of NCAA president disputes report he knew about Michigan State sexual assaults

NCAA president Mark Emmert denies suggestions he was aware of serious concerns about sexual assault involving athletes at Michigan State and didn't take appropriate action in response.

The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach reported Saturday that Emmert was alerted in November 2010 to 37 reports of sexual assault by by Michigan State student-athletes over the previous two years.

In a leaked memo sent to key NCAA stakeholders Monday and obtained by the Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy, Emmett calls the article "a gross mischaracterization of the facts."

Emmett continues: "The only reports of sexual misconduct that I was made aware of in 2010 were those that had been widely publicized and were already under investigation. In no case did I have knowledge of the heinous crimes of Dr. Nassar until they were reported in the media."

Auerbach's report concerns MSU student-athletes, not Nassar. The figures were noted in a letter from Kathy Redmond, the founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, who reportedly met with Emmert early in his tenure in hopes that the NCAA would adopt stronger policies against sexual assault and violence. According to Redmond's letter, none of the men named in the 37 reports faced disciplinary sanctions from the school.

Nassar, a longtime faculty member at Michigan State and Team USA gymnastics doctor, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison last week for serial sexual abuse. More than 150 women who said Nassar had abused them spoke at his sentencing hearing. The NCAA opened a formal investigation into the school's athletic department and its handling of Nassar on Tuesday.

However, wider concerns persist about the school's handling of sexual assault and violence against women, which was recently the subject of an investigation by ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Hall of Fame men's basketball coach Tom Izzo has come under fire for allowing former graduate assistant Travis Walton to keep coaching after he was accused of violence and sexual assault in two separate incidents.

Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis both resigned last week.

Emmert, the former president of the University of Washington, has been in charge of the NCAA since 2010.

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