MSU Trustee On Nassar Scandal: ‘This Is Not Penn State’

As national media outlets draw parallels between the scandals surrounding molestation by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State and Larry Nassar at Michigan State and other gymnastics programs, one Michigan State trustee is speaking out on why he says the NCAA won’t investigate Nassar: “This is not Penn State.”

Michigan State trustee Joel Ferguson, who serves as the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, spoke as a guest Monday on radio program “Staudt on Sports.” When he was asked if he feared the NCAA would get involved somehow, Ferguson laughed out loud as if the notion was absurd. “For what?”

“They [at Penn State] were dealing with their football program,” Ferguson said. “…[The NCAA is] smart enough to know they’re not competent to walk in here on this.”

The NCAA imposed unprecedented sanctions on Penn State in 2012 following the Sandusky scandal fallout, including a $60 million fine, a four-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, and vacated wins. The organization has been largely silent on Nassar and Michigan State; NCAA President Mark Emmert said he doesn’t have enough information on what transpired.

Ferguson also discussed the board’s decision to support Lou Anna Simon staying as president of the university despite national pressure and student protests for her resignation or removal. Michigan State’s student newspaper published an editorial last week calling for Simon to “step down and bow out gracefully.”

MSU spokesman Jason Cody told The Detroit News the school responded immediately when Nassar’s crimes came to light in 2016. He said it was “not appropriate” to compare Nassar to Penn State, where he said leaders discussed “and illegally ignored” allegations against Sandusky.