Michigan State paid $1.2 million combined to a woman and a former football player after two Title IX investigations first exonerated the player, then reversed that decision, ESPN reported Wednesday after an open records request.
The football player received more money, after a lawsuit in which he said he was not properly informed of the second investigation.
The agreement documented on May 20 made both parties involved “set aside” findings that the football player, Keith Mumphery, violated the school’s sexual conduct policy.
Among the items ESPN uncovered, the school paid the woman — referred to as “Jane Doe” — $475,000, while Mumphery received $725,000. According to ESPN, the document states, “MSU agrees there were certain issues in the Title IX investigation, that, under the particular circumstances of this case, may warrant a new investigation and/or hearing.”
The woman first reported an incident on March 18, 2015, saying she had been sexually assaulted in her dorm room the day before. The school found in September 2015 that Mumphery had not violated MSU’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy.
Mumphery had last played for the Spartans in the fall of 2014 and was, by the time of the first finding, a wide receiver with the Houston Texans, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2015.
After the woman appealed, a new investigator interviewed the sexual assault nurse who had examined “Jane Doe” and reviewed additional evidence, finding on March 21, 2016 that Mumphery had violated the school’s sexual abuse policy and had sexually assaulted the woman. He was banned from campus through Dec. 31, 2018, and not allowed to re-enroll at the university.
Mumphery has denied the allegations.
One of Mumphery’s lawyers, Andrew Miltenberg, told ESPN, “The most troubling part of the case is that when Keith participated, he was found not responsible, and then subsequently, without participating, he was found responsible.”
The woman’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, told ESPN the terms of the agreement “do not exonerate or implicate Mr. Mumphery either way.”
She added she was disappointed in the discrepancy between what the school paid her client and what Mumphery was paid.
The settlement documents state that “MSU takes no position on the allegations between Mumphery and Doe.”
Mumphery was released by the Texans on June 2, 2017, after the sexual assault allegations became public. He is trying to get back into the NFL after playing in 27 games, with 24 receptions for 198 yards across two seasons. He averaged 7.8 yards per punt return 24.1 yards per kick return.
The NCAA was satisfied Michigan State didn’t break any NCAA rules in its handling of sexual assault issues in 2018, largely stemming from the Larry Nassar case.
Michigan State officials said the NCAA’s head of enforcement notified the school the NCAA found no violations as it reviewed the school’s response to sexual assaults committed by former university doctor Nassar and into sexual assault allegations made against football and basketball players.
The NCAA asked Michigan State for cooperation earlier in 2018 amid Nassar’s sentencing, when a number of former Michigan State athletes said they had told campus officials the doctor abused them but their complaints largely were discounted. Nassar has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Michigan State’s statement said the NCAA conducted a second review spurred by an ESPN report in January 2018 that said the school had a “pattern of denial, inaction and information suppression” when it came to dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct and violence that women had made against athletes.
The report said at least 16 football players had been accused of sexual assault or violence against women since Mark Dantonio took over as coach in 2007. ESPN also reported on several basketball players who have been accused of sexual misconduct, including one incident that led to a federal lawsuit after a female student said she was raped by three players in 2015 and the university failed to offer her proper resources for help.
—Field Level Media