EAST LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- After nearly six hours of deposing Michigan State University head football coach Mark Dantonio, attorneys for Curtis Blackwell filed a motion wanting more time with him.
Blackwell is suing Dantonio, along with MSU and others, for what Blackwell is claiming being wrongfully dismissed from his position as a recruiting coach.
According to court documents, Dantonio testified that there were three reasons he didn’t renew Blackwell’s contract.
He claimed one was a change in NCAA rules that prohibited satellite football camps.
Blackwell was known for his football camps in the Detroit area and Blackwell testified that that was why he was hired in 2013.
Dantonio also testified there was a disconnect between Blackwell and the rest of the football department.
He also said the hiring of Sheldon White helped in the decision making process of whether to keep Blackwell.
Blackwell claims he believed he was the scapegoat testifying, "I think when the Auston Robertson thing blew up, I think they wanted to pin that on me in the recruiting department. So, if I was cast out, scapegoated and when everything came out with Auston Robertson in that investigation, that it would be a part of the Curtis Blackwell era of recruiting and it wouldn’t reflect poorly on Mark Dantonio, Mark Hollis, and Lou Anna Simon as Larry Nassar did. So, at that point I felt like they kind of just let me go, so that way they can kind of sweep it all out the front door."
Dantonio's attorneys do not agree that he should be deposed for a second time, claiming Blackwell’s attorneys asked irrelevant questions the first time.
No decision has been made.
As for Dantonio specifically, Blackwell claims he ignored warnings from his assistant coaches about former player Auston Robertson, who was later convicted of sexual assault, according to court documents in Blackwell's lawsuit.
Blackwell was suspended amid a sexual assault investigation involving three former players in early 2017. The investigation led to charges being filed against Donnie Corley, Demetric Vance and Josh King. All three took a plea deal in the case. MSU decided not to renew Blackwell's contract in May of 2017.
Records, obtained by News 10 through a Freedom of Information Act request, show MSU Police wanted Blackwell to be charged with interfering with the sexual assault investigation. The documents show Blackwell admitted discussing the allegations with multiple players, football staff members and at least one player's father. He was never charged with a crime.
The lawsuit alleges Blackwell was suspended in violation of his employment agreement and was never given the opportunity to give his side of the story.
"Had they, (Blackwell) would have explained that he did not provide cover for the student athletes or interfere with an investigation; rather, he was simply performing his job which required 'mentoring student athletes'", the lawsuit states.
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