Lawsuit: Mark Dantonio was warned about signing recruit who later pleaded guilty to rape

Lawsuit alleges Dantonio was warned Robertson was 'too much of a risk'

EAST LANSING, Mich. – A former Michigan State University staffer alleges that football coach Mark Dantonio was warned by multiple coaches about the risk involved with recruiting Auston Robertson.

Robertson was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration in a 2017 assault. He was also required to register as a sex offender.

A federal lawsuit accuses Dantonio and former Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon of shifting the blame for the recruitment of Robertson. Robertson was arrested in 2016 for unwanted touching of an underage girl. He was not convicted because he completed a diversion program.

The lawsuit alleges that many warned Dantonio not to bring Robertson on "because he was too much of a risk."

Curtis Blackwell, a former MSU staffer who specialized in mentoring athletes, was involved in Robertson's recruitment and claims he told Dantonio "other teams stopped recruiting" Robertson due to him being in "diversionary program" and his past "troubles for vandalism."

Robertson joined the team, but when he was arrested the lawsuit claims MSU blamed Blackwell for bringing Robertson to the university. Blackwell claims he was first suspended "due to pressure from the Larry Nassar matter and to cover their own misdoings."

Michigan State University did not renew Blackwell's contract and now he is suing in an attempt to get what he claims is due to him. The lawsuit claims MSU wrongfully terminated Blackwell. MSU is not commenting on the lawsuit.

About the Authors: