Former AD Baker: Penalties for MSU ‘cultural problem’ could be very high
A former Michigan State athletic director says the school has violated Title IX law and NCAA rules, which could bring historic penalties, including a possible loss of federal funding, because of serial abuse of women by convicted doctor Larry Nassar.
Merrily Dean Baker, MSU athletic director from 1992-95, said a failure to properly report Nassar’s violations of young women athletes and girls, which occurred under the pretense of medical treatments, was part of a deeply entrenched “cultural problem” at MSU that could bring devastating punishment from federal officials as well as the NCAA.
“This is a moment of soul-searching for anyone who has any affiliation with that university,” Baker told The Detroit News. “I’ve been quiet, but I listened online to the women at (Nassar’s) sentencing trial, and I wept with them. Nobody can play nice anymore. Nobody can take the high road and play the politically correct game. If there ever was a time for 100 percent transparency and its survival, this is it.
“And if it doesn’t happen, they will not survive.”
Title IX was passed by Congress in 1972 in a bid to bar gender discrimination and to guard against such ills as sex abuse and harassment in federally supported programs — universities included. Specific requirements deal with reporting of facts, and with investigations.
Key findings from a 2014 sexual harassment complaint against Nassar were found to have been withheld by a MSU Title IX investigator, providing one victim with deficient information.
Baker said two MSU executives, President Lou Anna Simon and Athletic Director Mark Hollis, who last week resigned, bore accountability for the Nassar crisis and for inattention that sustained it.
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