Ex-staffer: Michigan St, Dantonio was warned about recruit

Posted at 8:06 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 20:06:08-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A former football recruiter who is suing Michigan State says he urged coach Mark Dantonio to reject a player who subsequently was convicted of sexual assault.

The former recruiter, Curtis Blackwell, said Dantonio chose Auston Robertson in 2016 over the objections of staff. He said it was widely known Robertson had a criminal history in Indiana and would be a controversial choice. Blackwell said he and others warned that Robertson would be a “horrible fit for a college campus.”

The remarks were made during a deposition, which is part of a lawsuit against Dantonio and other officials. Blackwell’s contract wasn’t renewed in 2017.

His lawsuit claims he was illegally suspended and released in the fallout over assault charges against three other players.

“The fact that Mr. Blackwell’s contract was not renewed has nothing to do with Auston Robertson,” Dantonio said in a statement issue Friday. “Two years ago, I spoke at length about Auston Robertson when he was dismissed from the team in 2017. Rather than engage in a public argument with a former staffer, I refer you to those previous statements. Further, there have been multiple investigations into the program’s handling of sexual assaults, including Jones Day in 2017 and the NCAA in 2018, and they concluded that the program and myself committed no violations.”

Robertson is eligible for parole in 2021.