Mark Hollis resigned as Michigan State University athletic director on Friday, this after 10 years on the job. Hollis said he resigned due to family concerns – and that no one at the university asked him to step down.
Should we believe him?
“Mark’s retirement came about two hours before the ESPN story came out on Friday afternoon, and there are pretty fierce allegations in there that he individually handled at least one case of alleged sexual assault that never reached the university’s Title IX department and never reached university police,” Detroit Free Press Michigan State basketball and football reporter Chris Solari said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “When we were interviewing him, we were in the middle of the Nassar stuff. I talked to a friend of mine who works for the Washington Post. We’re getting a snapshot of what it’s like covering the presidential administration right now in a very small window with how much stuff breaks and how much stuff changes. . . . There’s a lot of things kind of colliding all at once. In terms of the timing of his retirement, I guess only he knows what he knew about (whether) that ESPN story was coming out at that moment.”
Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio, meanwhile, are left holding the Michigan State bag from a leadership standpoint, especially after Lou Anna Simon resigned as university president. Dantonio has denied any wrongdoing, while Izzo spoke of the situation Sunday.
“You can see that this is affecting Tom Izzo,” Solari said. “He’s handled it as well as can be, I guess, in the circumstances, especially when you’re considering you’re looking at eight years with the incidents involved. But he talked (Sunday) after the game at Maryland about being emotional, about all the situations that are swirling around the program with athletes who were not involved in any of this. It’s been interesting and awkward.
“But keep in mind these are the two leaders of Michigan State’s program,” Solari continued. “You have no athletic director. You have no university president. They are the most visible faces of Michigan State University. They’re the people that people are looking to for answers.”