Former gymnast Denhollander "beyond disappointed" in Engler as interim MSU President

Submitted by StephenRKass on January 30th, 2018 at 3:37 PM

The first gymast to go public about Nassar, Rachael Denhollander, is "beyond disappointed" in the choice of former governor Engler as interim President at MSU.

"Engler is a deep political insider at MSU," she said in her Facebook post. "At a time the university desperately needs, and survivors pleaded for, outside accountability and leadership, the board chooses one of the most entrenched insiders."

LINK:  Nassar survivor Rachael Denhollander 'beyond disappointed' by Engler choice

Glad to see this public statement. She is only echoing what has been said here by so many posters:  as long as a culture of insiders are in control, there will be no true transparency or accountability at MSU. However, when gymnasts come out and are vocal about their anger and their disappointment, it might possibly force things to be done the right way. I'm personally sceptical.



January 30th, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

She is still hopeful for change, despite her objection to Engler.

The board has suggested a change in strategy, Denhollander said, but she has yet to see evidence of that. "My hope is that Engler will be the first person to put action behind those words," said Denhollander, who wants the lawsuits sent to mediation.

A pretty fair response from her IMO.


January 30th, 2018 at 4:09 PM ^

Yes, she gave a fair response. But like I said, I also am sceptical. Engler, as an MSU grad, has a vested interest in protecting the school. And he may have significant inside pressure to keep any investigation and lawsuits from moving forward. I'll believe he is right for the job as we see the investigations proceed. Right now, I'm pretty doubtful.


January 30th, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

My (very limited, issue-specific) experience with Governor Engler is that this guy knows how to take care of himself, but will sacrifice everyone else to make sure he comes out on top. He - again, my very limited experience - has had no problem exempting himself from the rules to which he holds others.

I don't know if he's someone who can be trusted in this, but I, personally, wouldn't put my trust in him, in any kind of situation in which he could stab me in the back for his own gain.


January 30th, 2018 at 5:55 PM ^

I am an MSU graduate and I say set the entire thing on fire.

The could not possibly be fucking this up any worse in terms of screaming for all the world to hear that they care far more about protecting their image than they do about protecting your daughters.

Its an embarassment.


January 30th, 2018 at 3:45 PM ^

The primary investigator is close to MSU, the interim president in an MSU insider.

It's possible they sacrifice a few lambs and go on their merry way.


January 30th, 2018 at 3:46 PM ^

This needs to be a bigger story than it is. Engler as interim AD is an obvious conflict of interest at the absolute worst time for such a hire.

This does nothing but adds another piece of data to support the Lack of Institutional Control title that many believe they deserve.


January 30th, 2018 at 3:46 PM ^

While disappointing, I don't know that I could have any higher expectation for their BoT. they've already proven to be myopic in their everyday function, so why would we expect them to suddenly find the 'do things the right way' button? 


January 30th, 2018 at 3:52 PM ^

Bill Schuette tweeted "Gov. John Engler will provide the leadership that MSU needs. Integrity, toughness, and intellect. A great choice as interim President"

Sorry, I am on my phone and unable to embed.

Mr Miggle

January 30th, 2018 at 4:07 PM ^

They have a lot of political connections. He's also going to go out of his way to avoid criticizing anything Engler does while courting his supporters in his run for governor. That may have something to do with the board choice of Engler. . 


January 30th, 2018 at 3:52 PM ^

The investigators, interim president and AD should all have zero ties and connections or conflicts of interest. Makes me wonder if the Board of Trustees (who have lost credibility) are just looking to protect their ass and the schools image which is EXACTLY why they are in this position in the first place. 


January 30th, 2018 at 3:54 PM ^

She's smart enough to see and understand he was brought in to bury this story and make the whole thing just go away.  Sadly I think this will work (local Michigan media has NO interest in attacking their school of choice) until hers and other civil cases start going to trial.  

But even then if MSU settles out of court they will minimize any PR damage that might be done.  They have a singular objective of having the world see their school, their academics and their athletic programs as good as or better than Michigan's and this little kerfuffle (in their eyes anyways) is not going to derail that goal.



January 30th, 2018 at 4:25 PM ^

The Nassar story was going nowhere until the celebrity gymnists confronted him in court and then and only then did it move into the national spotlight.  The ESPN piece on Izzo & Dantonio garnered some attention initially but is now fading back into the background.

This will regain steam IF there's a "smoking gun" uncovered linkiing either coach to willfully obstructing justice a-la Briles at Baylor but absent that happening this story will continue to get less and less attention.  The only way the fire is restarted, IMO, is if someone in local Michigan media takes it upon themselves to dig a little deeper to see what's going on and do see anything that leads you to believe that's going to happen?

The Michigan media is also complicit in creating an environment where these things happen over and over again with no real punishment.

1. Coaches will to look the other way when bad things happen as long as the player can help them win more games.

2. School officials putting winning at athletics above all other values

3. Local police putting winning at athletics above enforcing the law

4. Local media putting winning at athletics above reporting the truth.

What do you see that I'm missing?


January 30th, 2018 at 5:00 PM ^

Everything you say is correct, but there are several things that give me a sliver of hope this will be dealt with.

  1. The role of the 150 plus gymnasts and athletes (and their families.) They do not have any vested interest in protecting MSU. And because we live in a culture of celebrity, former Olympians may have a bully pulpit to keep the pressure on. And have the audience willing to listen to them. The fact that so many were already publicly in court is empowering. I don't know that they're going to sit down and shut up, so to speak. 
  2. The current national climate with sexual harassment. I think there is a lot of outrage at Weinstein, and Spacey, and Roy Moore, and so many other scumbags out there. As you see what is happening in Hollywood, and with the #metoo movement, I don't think it is abating. The fact that this scandal took place over so many years, with so many adults who could have done something, has the potential to keep it in the spotlight for a very long time.
  3. The upcoming Winter Olympics, and the Summer Olympics in two years. While most Olympics coverage is relentlessly positive, this stuff about Nassar is a story with a lot of interest and appeal. I could easily see NBC and ESPN having special "investigative reports" tied to the timing of the Olympics. We'll know a lot more in the next couple weeks. But I wouldn't be surprised if something happened soon with coverage, and it was repeated in two years with coverage of gymnastics in the summer Olympics.
  4. The NCAA tournament, and the Fall football season. Again, the timing is there for human interest stories tied to March, and to September. The ESPN reporter interviewing Izzo after the Maryland game gives a taste of what is going to be happening. And I get the feeling that the standard boilerplate "We're investigating everything" lanuage used by Izzo and Dantonio thus far isn't going to cut it.

In other words, I don't think this is going away.


January 30th, 2018 at 6:08 PM ^

Lets see what happens in 30 days ... my guess is this will be forgotten and MSU will walk away with only the Nassar issues in play. Dantonio and Izzo will not have anything happen to them at all. Schools learned a long time ago it's better to deny and obfuscate than try to address the problem and get hit with sanctions. Look at how OSU handled the Tressel issues vs. how we got hammered and ridiculed for over stretching. The days of institutions taking any blame are over ... and never coming back. It pays to be a bad guy and hurts to be a good guy. 


January 30th, 2018 at 6:24 PM ^

I believe the key to getting *real* justice is getting national law enforcement involved - DoJ or FBI.  The DoEd investigation will help, since they can refer their findings over to DoJ and have some authority themselves, but will DeVos have similar politcal reservations/conflicts as Schutte?  The NCAA, while a national investigation, is a joke and hardly worth mentioning (as we all know by now).  They will wait until all the authorities are done, add on some stiff penalties like they did for PSU  (or at least a mild sanction or two), then quietly roll them back after the attention is gone.


January 30th, 2018 at 3:54 PM ^

Simon lamented the "politicization" of the scandal when she resigned and it was NOT political. Now they hire a former Governor and politicize this?!? Well isn't that ironic.
/no politics