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Ex-Spartans staffer files new lawsuit with more allegations

March 11, 2020 GMT
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio talks about his retirement from as the NCAA college football team's coach, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio talks about his retirement from as the NCAA college football team's coach, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

DETROIT (AP) — A former Michigan State football staff member filed a lawsuit this week in which he accused former coach Mark Dantonio of violating NCAA rules by contacting players at other schools to try to get them to transfer.

Curtis Blackwell also suggested in his suit that Dantonio had another team’s practice recorded. The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, names Dantonio, former school President Lou Anna Simon, former athletic director Mark Hollis and current athletic director Bill Beekman as defendants.

The suit alleges breach of contract, violation of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act for race discrimination and wrongful termination, wrongful termination against public policy, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Blackwell previously filed a lawsuit claiming his employment agreement was violated when he was disciplined while the school addressed sexual assault allegations against players in 2017.

In his new lawsuit, Blackwell says Dantonio mandated Blackwell “either engage in or be complicit in” various violations. The suit alleges Dantonio violated “the civil and/or criminal laws of another state by making (or directing his staff members to make and distribute) an audio or video recording of another person(s) (i.e. a competing football team’s practices) without consent and with the intent to invade their privacy.”

The suit also alleges that Dantonio violated “NCAA rules by contacting football players enrolled at other NCAA universities for the purpose of recruiting them to transfer to MSU.”

A message was left with Michigan State’s athletic department seeking comment. Dantonio announced his retirement last month and was replaced by Mel Tucker.

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