Football player’s Title IX suit against MSU dismissed

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:03 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A Title IX lawsuit against Michigan State University has been dismissed.

The plaintiff was an MSU football player who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Western Michigan District, claiming the East Lansing school violated his Title IX rights. The lawsuit, filed by Grand Rapids law firm Springstead Bartish Borgula & Lynch PLCC, said the football player was unfairly suspended from the team and that the university had been slow in its response.

It said the now-Sophomore scholarship football player -- who was named in the lawsuit as “John Doe” -- was suspended after a woman complained he sexually assaulted her on Jan. 31. The football player says the sexual encounter with the woman, who works as a student intern with the football team, was consensual.

However, the plaintiff had wished to remain anonymous during the suit. On Oct. 14, the judge denied the plaintiff’s request, stating that “Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that his privacy interests substantially outweigh the presumption in favor of open judicial proceedings.”

The plaintiff did not file an amended complaint with his name, resulting in a dismissal of the case.

The judge added, “The Court notes that, with regard to the argument for maintaining anonymity for alleged perpetrators of sexual assault, many such lawsuits have been brought by plaintiffs under their own names.”

The lawsuit was dismissed during a turbulent time for MSU as a whole. The university has a relatively new Title IX coordinator, and had already dealt with separate Title IX complaints earlier in 2021.

The order is included below.

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