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Why did Mark Dantonio step down from Michigan State?

Why did Mark Dantonio step down from Michigan State?

The college football world was turned upside down on Tuesday with Mark Dantonio stepping down from the Michigan State Spartans. There was speculation the last year that Dantonio could be getting close to stepping down, but the timing is a bit odd.

So why step down now? Let’s break it down.


Dantonio announced he was retiring one day after Michigan State recruiting director Curtis Blackwell claimed in a lawsuit that coach had recruiting violations. According to Blackwell, he was allowed on multiple high level recruiting trips, something that wasn’t allowed.

He also claimed that Dantonio helped get jobs for multiple high-level recruits. Dantonio claimed after retiring that the lawsuit had nothing to do with the timing.

“No relevance whatsoever,” Dantonio said via Dan Murphy of ESPN when asked if the allegations or potential future fallout had any impact on the timing of his announcement.

Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman said the school would be happy to defend Dantonio in court.

“To the best of our knowledge, as I understand it, the allegations are patently false,” Beekman said.

Even though Dantonio claims it had nothing to do with stepping down, the timing is suspect at best.

Big Payday

For Dantonio stepping down had to do with timing. When Dantonio signed his extension he agreed to be paid  a $4.3 million bonus if he was still the coach on January 15th, 2020.

Dantonio knew that well, and it was the reason he didn’t retire after the season had finished. No one in their right mind would retire before a payout was to be paid out, so he didn’t.

It’s bad for the university and football team because of the timing. It if happened after the season the team would already have a new coach.

With the timing now, it gets a late start on the offseason as they look to hire a new coach.


Last updated: Wed 5th February 2020
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