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Bacon: Inept NCAA should not get involved with Nassar scandal at MSU

larry nassar in court
Kate Wells
Michigan Radio
"This case is being played out in the court of public opinion, not just in the courts of Ingham County, of course. So they're screwing this one up and badly," Bacon said about the damage that MSU's reputation is taking as the Nassar case continues.


While the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar continues, the top leadership of the board of directors at USA Gymnastics resigned today. The chair, vice chair, and treasurer are all out.  

And there are more demands for the resignation of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon. While the MSU Board of Trustees last Friday again stated support for Simon, one trustee, Mitch Lyons, has broken with the rest of the board. He says Simon has lost the confidence of the public.

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside to discuss some of the issues facing the university.


Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.


On the significance of a trustee speaking out


"It won't make a difference. It will not obviously tip the scales yet, but it does show a crack in the wall which is not therefore unified. And it will hold up well in history frankly because this is going to happen sooner or later in my opinion anyway, and Mitch is ahead of the curve."


On the tone that Michigan State needs to take


"Michigan and the Michigan hospital a few years ago went to a very smart policy with their doctors. When you make a mistake, go see the patient and apologize, and treat them like a human being, which every lawyer will tell you never, ever do that. And malpractice suits have been cut dramatically because of it. Because it turns out people like people acting like human beings, and they [MSU's spokespeople] have screwed that up."


On how the NCAA might react


"It is almost impossible to predict because the NCAA is not driven by any moral compass that I have been able to determine... They are both sheriff and saloon keeper, and that's the problem. They used to be merely rule enforcement, and now they're also a gigantic moneymaker on basketball — million dollars a year at least — so you don't know how they're going to rule on these things."


On possible NCAA sanctions


"In the last 26 years, Michigan has won the last 22 gymnastic titles. Michigan State has never won one in the history of this Big Ten sport. So sanctioning women's gymnastics at Michigan State, it won't matter much, as much as competition or international prestige. It will, of course, screw up the very people who have been damaged in the first place, and that is the athletes. So that strikes me as not the right solution."


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