Michigan State extends Curtis Blackwell's deal one month

Michigan State football staffer Curtis Blackwell recently received a one-month contract extension and remains on an indefinite paid suspension while the school investigates several serious allegations regarding his conduct.

Blackwell, who leads the football program's recruiting efforts, was suspended on Feb. 9, according to a letter he received from athletic director Mark Hollis. The university announced that it suspended three unnamed football players and one member of the football staff on that same day due to an ongoing police investigation into sexual assault allegations.

A school spokesman and head coach Mark Dantonio both declined to confirm this week that Blackwell's suspension was related to the sexual assault investigation. The spokesman did say that Blackwell is the only member of the football staff that is currently suspended.

Blackwell's contract was scheduled to expire at the end of this week, according to a copy obtained through a Freedom of Information request earlier this month. When a university employee's contract expires in the middle of a suspension, the spokesman said the school determines whether to extend the deal or let it expire on a case-by-case basis.

Like most football employees, Blackwell was on a year-to-year contract.

The university has decided not to name any of the players or staff members involved in the ongoing criminal sexual assault investigation until the county prosecutor decides whether or not to press charges. Police requested four arrest warrants in connection with their investigation on Feb. 16. Three of the warrants were for sexual crimes and a fourth was for a non-sexual crime connected with the investigation.

Dantonio spoke to reporters Tuesday morning for the first time since the suspensions were announced. He said he would not answer any questions about the ongoing investigation or about any potential previous disciplinary issues involving Blackwell.

Blackwell is the program's director of college advancement and performance, a role that makes him a key piece of the Spartans' recruiting operations. His profile on the athletic department's website says, "one of Blackwell's primary duties is to mentor current student-athletes, with a focus on leadership, graduation and career objectives."

Blackwell also worked as the co-director of the Sound Mind Sound Body football camps for aspiring college athletes. He previously worked as a coach at two Detroit-area high schools. His current contract expires at the end of April.