On Thursday, Michigan State announced that the NCAA had concluded its recent investigation into the university regarding its recent sexual assault issues. According to the release, the NCAA had found no violations. This investigation not only included a review of the Larry Nassar issues, but also allegations made against numerous Michigan State student athletes.
While this is significant news for the Spartans and the university’s basketball program moving forward, it’s also important to keep this in context. Let’s discuss a few of the most important things to remember about this announcement.
We need to address what this investigation is and what it is not. This was an investigation conducted by the NCAA into whether any violations occurred. However, this does not clear Michigan State of any potential legal liability. Moreover, it does not dissolve any potential federal government implications down the road.
And what do I mean by that? Well, fans need to remember that there are a number of investigations ongoing with regard to these allegations. In fact, the Department of Education and Michigan’s attorney general both still have open investigations into these issues. Nobody knows how those investigations will conclude.
It’s also important to remember that the NCAA’s sole purpose is maintaining intercollegiate athletics. This is probably obvious to most, but it’s important to clarify that the NCAA is not part of the executive or the judicial branches of the government. Michigan State still has a plethora of ongoing civil litigation and any related criminal charges are not going to disappear based upon any NCAA findings, or lack thereof. That settlement of $500 million also isn’t coming off the books because the NCAA found no program violations.
And most importantly, being “cleared” by the NCAA doesn’t make up for the horrors that occurred at the hands of Larry Nassar or the individuals that helped enable him. This is not a vindication of Michigan State or its staff in any way, shape, or form.
Michigan State will not receive any NCAA sanctions as a result of this most recent investigation. And it really doesn’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things.