The NCAA has formally begun an investigation into Michigan State's handling of the Larry Nassar case.
"The NCAA has sent a letter of inquiry to Michigan State University regarding potential NCAA rules violations related to the assaults Larry Nassar perpetrated against girls and young women, including some student-athletes at Michigan State," the NCAA said in a statement released Tuesday night. "We will have no further comment at this time."
On Wednesday, MSU athletic director Mark Hollis issued a statement that read: "Since my first day on the job as athletic director, my focus has always been on the student-athlete. They are at the core of our athletic department mission statement. Our first priority has always been and will always be their health and safety. In regards to the letter we received from the NCAA last night, the athletic compliance and university general counsel offices are preparing a comprehensive response. Michigan State University will cooperate with any investigation."
Michigan State employed Nassar, the disgraced doctor who has admitted to sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by the Spartans and USA Gymnastics, including some at his office at the East Lansing, Michigan-based school.
"The NCAA has requested information from Michigan State about any potential rules violations," Donald M. Remy, the NCAA's chief legal officer, told The New York Times on Tuesday.
The NCAA's letter of inquiry, released by MSU on Wednesday, said in part, "Larry Nassar's heinous crimes of record against more than 150 victims raise serious concerns about institutional practices, student-athlete safety and the institution's actions to protect individuals from his behavior.
"The NCAA relies upon a collaborative model, whereby member institutions are expected, and required, to self-report possible violations of NCAA rules and/or policies. To date, Michigan State has sent no information to the NCAA national office regarding Nassar's actions, his role as a team physician, affected student athletes, operation of athletic department practices or policies, remediation efforts or involvement of those on campus, inside and outside the athletics department."
The letter also said that the NCAA expected an "expeditious response" regardless of any ongoing investigations.
Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday after seven days of impact statements from more than 150 girls and women who said he sexually abused them. He already has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.
Some of Nassar's accusers have criticized Michigan State, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing enough to stop him, and there have been repeated calls for university president Lou Anna Simon to resign.
Asked about the Nassar case last week in Indianapolis, NCAA president Mark Emmert said he didn't have enough information to make a public opinion.
"I don't have enough information [on] the details of what transpired at the school right now," Emmert told reporters. "That's obviously something that the university itself is looking deeply into. You hear that testimony -- it just breaks your heart when you look at it, but I can't offer an opinion at this time. It's clearly very, very disturbing, and I know the leadership there is equally shaken by it."
Nassar was allowed to work at the university while police were conducting a 19-month investigation on him. Michigan State suspended him from treating patients at the school's sports medicine facility on Aug. 30, 2016. He was fired on Sept. 20.