It’s been a long week for Michigan State, which was caught in the middle of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal and was the subject of an extensive Outside the Lines report detailing a history of sexual assault within the football and basketball programs.
The No. 6 Spartans had a basketball game in College Park on Sunday, surging past Maryland in the second half to win 74-68. After the game, Izzo’s press conference was partly about basketball and partly about the scandal. Outside the Lines had the first question and came out swinging.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo addresses the press after a win in College Park. https://t.co/IWS4Q8XDKg— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) January 28, 2018
Izzo didn’t exactly admit to anything here, and stressed multiple times that he’s cooperated with every investigation into his program and will continue to do so. He said he didn’t remember why Travis Walton—one of the prominent figures in the OTL report—left the program after serving as a graduate assistant in 2009-10.
The 23rd-year head coach got emotional after the game; he said it was partially because of how his team played in the second half and partially due to the swirling distractions.
“It’s been hard to focus in on basketball, because when I do, I feel gulty,” Izzo said. “There’s so many things that I don’t know and I feel guilty talking about anything else.”
Michigan State opened its locker room after the game, as it has always been under Izzo. While the Spartans players faced primarily basketball questions, several were reflective about the situation as well.
“It’s been crazy,” said sophomore guard Cassius Winston, who scored 13 points Sunday. “We keep it tight in here. This is really a family. We got Coach Izzo’s back, he has ours, and out there, that was just us proving it. We had a little adversity, we were in their place, a lot of things could have went wrong, but we found a way to stick together and fight through that.”