Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: Football is not important right now

Posted at 11:51 AM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 12:33:41-04

Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio spoke to the media on Tuesday morning for the first time since three players were suspended for a sexual assault investigation.

During his press conference, Dantonio barely touched on football, saying "I don't think that's important enough to talk about."

In February, three players and a staff member were suspended from the team in response to the sexual assault investigation. They were also removed from team activities and on-campus housing.

The Spartans have their annual spring game on Saturday, but Dantonio said he didn't want to discuss depth charts or any other football items.

"I think to stand up here and talk about who is going to be our quarterback, right now, is trivial," Dantonio said.

Despite the suspended players, Dantonio said he will be letting players play with their respective numbers on their backs, adding it would be unfair to paint a brush over the entire program because of an investigation. He said there was only a slight thought to changing the spring game. 

He said his goal is to move forward as a program despite the allegations and investigations.

"These are obviously difficult times, but it's an opportunity to re-center ourselves as a program, as people, and take direction from myself or anybody else in that capacity and move forward," he added. "I've always said that and I always will."

The team took immediate action when they found out about the investigation, and it is separate from the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations.

During the press conference, he talked about what they have tried to do as a team since he arrived in 2007.

"Our goal was to foster a program where there was accountability, there was class in everything we try to do, and that will remain in place as we try to do this," he said. "As difficult as it is to stand up here, those are the things that have to remain in effect.

He added that the team has gone to great lengths to educate his team and his players on the high standard of conduct the Spartans have.

"I do my very best to protect our community, to protect our environment, to protect my family," he said. "The message I would send to everybody out there is I'm going to do the right thing to the best of my abilities.