EAST LANSING — Curtis Blackwell, Michigan State’s director of football recruiting, is suspended.
University spokesman Jason Cody confirmed to the Free Press that Blackwell has been suspended with pay but said he could not release details nor circumstances surrounding the suspension.
Cody said Mark Dantonio and his assistant coaches are not suspended and remain full-time university employees. Dantonio would not comment on Blackwell’s suspension, according to an athletic department spokesman.
The university on Thursday announced the suspension of three football players and one unidentified “staff member associated with the football program.” Investigations into an alleged sexual assault and potential Title IX violations are being conducted by the Michigan State University Police and an outside attorney, respectively.
Cody said Monday that the staff member mentioned in the release was suspended Thursday. He would not confirm the date of Blackwell’s suspension. Blackwell, 39, has not responded to a text message for comment. He last spoke with the media on National Signing Day on Feb. 1 at Spartan Stadium. He also has not tweeted since Feb. 6.
Blackwell was hired by Dantonio in August 2013 to fill the football program’s newly created position of director of college advancement and performance. It is not a coaching position. According to Blackwell’s LinkedIn page, his roles include developing and implementing MSU’s recruiting strategies, mentoring student-athletes, organizing official and unofficial visits for recruits, developing “recruiting mailings” and promoting MSU football.
He earned $83,435 in 2016, according to a university salary database.
The Detroit King graduate also was the creator of the Sound Mind Sound Body high school football camps, which are anchored in his hometown and have spread nationally in recent years.
None of the three players involved in the investigation into the alleged sexual assault, which MSU said was reported in late January, has been named. Cody said Monday the three players “were suspended as soon as allegations naming them were made to the athletics department leadership” but declined to discuss the specifics of the suspensions nor their timing, because of the ongoing criminal and Title IX investigations.
MSU has outsourced the Title IX investigation to Ann Arbor-based Rebecca Veidlinger, who previously had served as head of MSU’s Office for Institutional Equity and interim deputy Title IX coordinator. Veidlinger is in her final year of a three-year appointment to the State Bar of Michigan Domestic Violence Committee. She told the Free Press via email Monday that she cannot comment on the Title IX investigation nor offer a timeline for its conclusion.
The MSU Police Department’s criminal investigation is supposed to conclude this week and will be delivered to Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for review and potential charges.