Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo and two of his assistants reportedly contacted a witness from the 2017 criminal investigation of then-freshman Brock Washington, according to ESPN.
Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren break down the information ESPN obtained in a public records request.
MSU student Brayden Smith was with Washington the night a female student says Washington forcibly groped her, according to a Michigan State University police report from the records request.
On Aug. 31, 2017, the female student told police that Washington grabbed her butt without her consent, tried to pull her to the floor despite her telling him no, reached toward her vagina and kissed her without her consent, according to the Michigan State University police report.
When the officers interviewed Smith he revealed he had already been contacted by Izzo and two assistant coaches, Dwayne Stephens and Mike Garland, regarding the incident. Lavigne and Noren go on to report Smith gave a similar statement to the Title IX investigator.
Co-founder of the Association of Title IX Administrators, W. Scott Lewis, is a partner with TNG, which is “a consulting firm that works with schools on Title IX compliance”. Lewis said the actions of coach Izzo and his staffers were improper and “could open the school up to a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights or a lawsuit,” according to the ESPN article.
Lewis said plainly “You just don’t do that.” Lewis also conceded it would have made sense for Izzo to reach out to his player, Washington, but not to the witness, Smith, because “once you’re calling in other people, it starts to reek of either you investigating this yourself or trying to intimidate a witness.”
The article continues with accounts of the incident from both Washington and the woman accusing him. You can check out the full ESPN article here.
ESPN also reported on Monday that there was an investigation into Washington earlier this year surrounding a separate alleged sexual assault.
Izzo announced on Jan. 23 Washington, now a redshirt sophomore, was suspended indefinitely from the team. On Monday (March 30), the Michigan State Attorney General’s office requested to review the latest incident involving Washington.