Why the largest abuse scandal in U.S. sports history is a lesson worth studying for every organization.

Fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal is costing Michigan State University (MSU), in East Lansing, far more than its reputation. The university now also faces credit rating, settlement cost and political scrutiny concerns. Nassar, the former MSU doctor, abused more than 260 girls and women for more than two decades while employed by the university. He has been sentenced to decades of prison time for sexual assault and child pornography crimes.

Nassar is not facing formal repercussions alone. William Strampel, the former dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine who was Larry Nassar’s boss, was arraigned on several charges stemming from an investigation into MSU. Strampel is alleged to have violated MSU’s Acceptable Use Policy and abused the authority of his public office to solicit, receive and possess illicit images of women who appear to be MSU students. Other entities are also being scrutinized for their connection in the crimes committed by the former team physician. The resulting resignations across these organizations will continue to tally up amidst the outcry of national, institutional and cultural movements like #MeTooMSU and ReclaimMSU.

The Writing is on the Wall

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

From attacking survivor testimony and calling their accounts “fake news,” MSU, as many say, appears to be handling the scandal aftermath in much the same fashion as before the storm. Add to this the MSU basketball lawsuit filed earlier this month, and the additional lawsuits that continue to come in from the Nassar scandal, and it seems the university is in over its head.

MSU is the most recent name in an ever-expanding list of educational institutions facing allegations of abuse from staff members, but unfortunately will not be the last. The university has unwillingly joined the ranks of Penn State, Louisville, Tennessee, Baylor, Miami, Oregon State and other NCAA programs that have hired unsafe coaches and staff who enable dangerous cultures to thrive on campus.

What has been reported as one of the biggest crimes committed in college sports is now an important lesson in the necessity of proactive due diligence and investigations for all organizations.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if there is a need to address or refresh your organization’s risk management practices:

  • What preventive measures are in place, to ensure our people’s safety?
  • What response measures do we have in place if this occurs?
  • Can we withstand this kind of scrutiny?
  • If the press showed up with the freedom of information act, what would our next step be?

If these questions cannot be answered with confidence, your organization may be at risk. Read on to see what steps you can take to create a safer environment for your people.

What Organizations Can Do

Being the president of a university is comparable to being the CEO of a company. When terrible things happen within their organizations someone must pay. It is leadership’s job to protect their people and their business. Prescient, a global due diligence and investigations firm, can offer educational institutions and companies across industries the following services:

  • Investigative solutions
  • Cyber intelligence
  • Background checks

How Prescient Can Help

We help educational institutions like MSU implement a vetting process, one that serves as a gatekeeper for the individuals your company employs or engages.

Using intelligence community best practices and open web research, our analysts pinpoint a subject’s identity, uncover hard-to-find red flags, and avoid the challenges brought on by automated background checks. Our reports contain base-level biographical information about a subject’s identity, address history, and any criminal or reputational track records that may represent an elevated risk.

Vetting Current & Future Employees

Our experts review negative press coverage, sanctions information, open web sources, and social media profiles to discover reputational red flags associated with current employees and future hires, to ensure you know who is handling your business. Additionally, we meticulously consult an array of resources and navigate complex regulations on a state-by-state basis to keep your organization fully informed and FCRA-compliant.

Here’s specific capabilities we offer that could help educational institutions strengthen their hiring process:

  • Deep and Dark Web Scrapes
  • Identity Verifications
  • Full-Scope Reputational Reviews
  • Social Media Investigations
  • Criminal Record Searches
  • Employment & Education Verification
  • Professional Credential Confirmations
  • Ongoing Monitoring

Vetting Third Parties

Managing risk at your organization is fraught with enough internal challenges, let alone having to account for the actions of third parties that may be out of your control. With Prescient’s specialized due diligence reports, we take the guesswork out of selecting new service providers by equipping you with key information that helps limit your company’s exposure to external risks.

Our Background

Prescient began as an intelligence and national security contractor serving U.S. federal customers. Today we work with clients in a range of industries to offer due diligence, investigations, cyber intelligence and background checks that empower confident decision making. Our insights are designed to help your team ensure the people your company engages with don’t present hidden risks down the line.

Learn about our due diligence and investigation solutions


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  • https://www.reclaimmsu.com/