Tom Izzo took questions from reporters Sunday after his Michigan State team’s 74-68 win over Maryland, and it didn’t go well. He was peppered with queries concerning his handling of sexual assault cases involving his players and stumbled through several unsatisfactory answers.
Here’s what happened:
After that final question it appeared Izzo was getting emotional. That was the look of a guy who was fully unprepared to answer that line of questioning. If that’s true, it’s simply insane that Michigan State hadn’t at least given him some prepared remarks or answers to specific questions about the scandal currently surrounding his basketball program.
I’ve been an enormous fan of Izzo for years and he has enjoyed a sterling reputation for decades. That said, the fallout from this scandal is just beginning. He has rarely faced this kind of questioning or scrutiny, and it clearly unsettled him. Either he wasn’t expecting it or he didn’t fully appreciate what it would feel like to be interrogated.
This scandal may not bring down Izzo as it will many others at Michigan State. Before Sunday I would have never thought it was possible that he’d wind up gone. But the 62-year-old coach looked worn, tired and sad during that press conference. He looked as drained as an airless balloon.
Unlike the rest of the leadership at Michigan State, Izzo doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would be defiant in the face of this kind of thing. I expect him to issue some kind of statement after what happened on Sunday.
Izzo clearly doesn’t want to discuss the scandal and would prefer to focus on basketball. I fully understand that stance, but at this point the public deserves honest answers. If he can’t give them, he should step down as Michigan State’s head basketball coach.