Amid the controversy surrounding Michigan State athletics, head football coach Mark Dantonio has received a one-year contract extension.
Mark Dantonio took over at Michigan State in 2007, and has been one of the sport's top head coaches over the last decade. Before the recent sexual assault controversy within the program, brought about by a lengthy ESPN Outside the Lines piece, he was also among the sport's most venerated figures.
In the wake of the Larry Nassar case, Michigan State athletics as a whole has come under serious scrutiny, including Dantonio and his men's basketball counterpart, legendary coach Tom Izzo.
In the article, Paula Lavigne reports that Dantonio was directly involved in some suspect discipline for players accused of sexual assault during his time as Spartans head coach.
Since Dantonio’s tenure began in 2007, at least 16 MSU football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women, according to interviews and public records obtained by Outside the Lines. Even more, Dantonio was said to be involved in handling the discipline in at least one of the cases several years ago. As recently as June, Dantonio faced a crowd of reporters who were asking questions about four of his football players who had been accused of sexual assault. Six questions in, a reporter asked Dantonio how he had handled such allegations previously.
“This is new ground for us,” Dantonio answered. “We’ve been here 11 years — it has not happened previously.”
According to a former MSU sexual assault counselor who spoke to Lavigne on the record, in one instance Dantonio allegedly handled things by having a player call his mother about what had happened.
Some in the college football world think that Michigan State should consider moving on from Dantonio. That doesn't appear to be in the cards, at least in the immediate future. Today, the school's board voted to renew his contract for an extra season.
According to The Detroit News, Dantonio's deal now lasts through 2024. This was a routine review of the head coach. He received a similar extension last year on February 17, and on February 19, 2016. Still, it is notable given the controversy he now finds himself embroiled in.
Dantonio has previously denied any rumors that he may resign as a result of the reports of misconduct within his program.
According to USA Today, in 2017 Dantonio made just under $4.4 million. He was the 16th-highest paid head coach in the country, based on public salary information.