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Michigan State football staffer Curtis Blackwell suspended from team

3 players suspended from football team last week

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State has identified a suspended member of the football staff who specializes in mentoring athletes.

University spokesman Jason Cody says Curtis Blackwell was suspended with pay. He wouldn't offer any other details Tuesday or say whether Blackwell is the staff member who was suspended last week as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving three players.

Since 2013, Blackwell has been the team's director of college advancement and performance. The team's website says he focuses on leadership, graduation and career objectives. He's also involved in recruiting.

Blackwell coached high school football at Detroit King and Detroit Mackenzie from 2003 to 2007.

READ: MSU suspends women's gymnastics coach linked to abuse complaints

Michigan State announced Thursday that it is investigating allegations of sexual assault against three football players.

The university said police are working with the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office, and after the investigation, they will forward their findings for review for possible charges.

The three players have been suspended from team activities and removed from on-campus housing until the end of the investigation, police said.

Detectives are interviewing members of the coaching staff and others regarding their response since the complaint was made in late January.

One football team staff member has been suspended by the athletic department pending the completion of the investigation.

Separate from the criminal and Title IX investigations, the university administration is retaining an external law firm to investigate the football program staff members' compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations.

The university said it will take prompt action, if appropriate, in response to any policy violations in the investigation.

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis released the following statement:

"The core values of MSU Athletics are clear, consistently communicated and non-negotiable. Among them are respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault is unacceptable, and members of MSU Athletics who fail to uphold our standards for creating a culture that is safe, supportive, and responsive to those affected by it will be held accountable. My expectation of all members of the department is full and complete cooperation with all investigations.

We have a strong athletics program at MSU, one based on values, traditions, and an understanding that as Spartans we are part of something bigger. Our promise to current and future student-athletes and to the entire Spartan community is to take the steps necessary, based on the facts determined through thorough review, to run this program according to the highest values and standards."