A photo provided in the ongoing lawsuit by former Michigan State staffer Curtis Blackwell and published by the Detroit Newson Tuesday appears to catch former Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio in a lie about knowingly committing NCAA violations.
Blackwell, a former Michigan State recruiting staffer, is suing the school for wrongful termination and wrongful arrest, and his lawyers alluded to evidence proving Dantonio committed NCAA violations by bringing Blackwell along for off-campus recruiting trips and by tasking Blackwell with arranging employment for recruits' parents through a Spartans super-booster.
Dantonio's legal team called the allegations "false" and "scandalous."
Dantonio was deposed on Jan. 10 of this year, where he responded with an unambiguous "No" when asked if Blackwell ever joined him inside a recruit's home, and answered in the affirmative when asked if he was aware that would constitute an NCAA violation.
However, on Tuesday the Detroit News published a photo showing Blackwell, Dantonio, defensive coordinator Mike Tressel and then-defensive line coach Harlon Barnett inside the home of 5-star recruit Daelin Hayes in December of 2015.
Hayes signed with Notre Dame.
"We are aware of the allegations made by Curtis Blackwell as part of his litigation. As with any allegation concerning NCAA compliance, MSU is investigating and working with the NCAA and Big Ten. We have fully complied with our self-reporting obligations to the NCAA throughout this case," Michigan State said in a statement Tuesday.
Dantonio stepped down as Michigan State's head coach on Feb. 4, the night before the February signing period. He said at the time the Blackwell suit had "zero" to do with his decision to retire, calling the night "a celebration."
Michigan State has since hired Mel Tucker to a 6-year contract to replace Dantonio. The terms of that contract state Tucker's contract would automatically be extended by an equal amount of years to any probationary period applied by the NCAA for any violations committed by the previous staff.
The Blackwell case is not scheduled to go to trial until the spring or early summer.