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NCAA Opens Formal Investigation of Michigan State Over Handling of Nassar

N.C.A.A. bylaws require colleges to protect the health, safety and well-being of athletes.

The NCAA sent a formal letter of inquiry to Michigan State University (MSU) yesterday, the first step in opening an official investigation into how the university handled the case of former sports physician Larry Nassar, who is being sentenced this week following decades of sexual abuse of athletes.

Nassar graduated as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from MSU in 1993 and in 1997, he was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was the main doctor for the USA Gymnastics Team from 1996 until 2014.

During that time, Nassar abused and assaulted countless female athletes during what were supposed to be routine medical exams, often while their parents were present. More than 150 of his victims faced Nassar in an extraordinary sentencing hearing over the past two weeks.

Numerous reports have claimed that MSU was notified of Nassar’s abuse at least 14 times, but no action was ever taken against him. Calls for President Lou Anna Simon to resign over the school’s handling of Nassar have intensified in recent days.

The NCAA issued this statement on Tuesday:

“The N.C.A.A. has sent a letter of inquiry to Michigan State University regarding potential N.C.A.A. rules violations related to the assaults Larry Nassar perpetrated against girls and young women, including some student-athletes at Michigan State. We will have no further comment at this time.”

The organization, whose bylaws mandate they protect student athletes, has imposed sanctions on both Penn State University and the University of North Carolina in the past over high profile matters involving student athletes.

Michigan State said they are reviewing the letter and would have no immediate comment.

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