There they are. The words that inspire anything but confidence: “The NCAA opens investigation of MSU.”
You are a Power 5 athletic director, and you have no idea what to do. You sense that perhaps the lesson out of Penn State Sandusky scandal was that, if a school covers up pedophilia, then it will cover up anything, including the more prosaic NCAA regulations. But you don’t really have a clue.
And you might sense the truth, which is that the handling of the MSU Larry Nassar Scandal has been so fundamentally ham-handed as to allow the plaintiffs to multiply — no, exponentially multiply — the value of their cases against MSU. The value of that case, two weeks ago was X; now that value is 10x. Good job Prez Simon, and AD Hollis.
But you’re not really sure.
So this is meant to advise all you athletic directors. You need to go back and understand what happened. It was not a one-time set of sanctions which were imposed upon Penn Stat. And, however much every Big 10 AD might have wondered, the most important PSU sanctions were not punitive. They were prescriptive. They told you, in 2012, what every Big 10 AD must thereafter do. But, if you are like MSU, you failed to do any of it. SO DO IT NOW:
That Athletic Integrity Agreement?: that was meant to establish the modern, state-of-the-art standard governing interactions between a big-time university and minors (or females).
But Big 10 athletic directors, who were all (based upon the signature of B10 commissioner Jim Delany), parties to that AIA, and to Senator Mitchell’s followup quarterly reports for three years, apparently decided to just ignore those prescriptions.
They all assumed that those documents, and all the great work done by Senator Mitchell, we’re merely punitive. They — including MSU AD Mark Hollis and MSU president Simon, who was head of the NCAA in 2012, when it processed all of the issues generated by Penn State/Sandusky — assumed none of this could ever happen on their own campus and that, therefore, there could never possibly be any need to apply any of those standards to their own campuses.
Simon and Hollis need to go. Simon’s on her way out, but Hollis threw her, by way of his hide-in-woodchuck-hole behavior, under the bus. When Simon told us today about how ‘politics’ drives all this, she was referring to MSU AD Mark Hollis, the great woodchuck, scurrying from burrow to burrow.
Which is why they both need to go. But, what should Simon and Hollis have done, if they had only heeded the rational standards which should have governed them?:
TWO PEOPLE, FULLY TRAINED, PRESENT AT ALL TIMES
Ensure that every encounter between anybody associated with MSU, and any minor, include a second person who has full training with respect to Cleary Act and sexual abuse standards;
INDEPENDENT TEAM MONITOR, FOR EVERY VARSITY TEAM
Ensure that every varsity team has an independent Team Monitor, who can work to ensure that sexual abuse and pedophilia-related events never occur.
ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT OMBUDSMAN, FULLY INDEPENDENT
Ensure that every athlete has an ombudsman, entirely independent from every part of the athletic operations, to whom they can go to report untoward events. This mirrors to the Olympic athletic structure, which (ostensibly) allows every Olympic athlete access to independent reporting of all wrongs.
If the MSU gymnastics team had had an independent Team Monitor, and if the athletic department had had an Ombudsman, much of the damage inflicted by Nasser might have been prevented. The person responsible for MSU’s failure to put in place the prescriptive measures in the Big 10’s Athletic Integrity Agreement was — and is — Athletic Director Mark Hollis. But Hollis is nowhere to be found.