College football notebook: NCAA clears Michigan State

The NCAA is satisfied that Michigan State didn't break any NCAA rules in its handling of sexual assault issues, the university announced Thursday. Michigan State officials said Thursday they were notified via a letter from the NCAA's head of enforcement that the organization found no violations as it reviewed the school's response to sexual assaults committed by former university doctor Larry Nassar. The NCAA also looked into sexual assault allegations made against members of the football and basketball teams. "We welcome closure in regards to the NCAA inquiry," athletic director Bill Beekman said in a statement released Thursday morning. "MSU cooperated fully with the inquiry over the past several months and provided all requested documentation and access to key personnel." The NCAA asked Michigan State for cooperation on Jan. 23 amid Nassar's sentencing, when a number of former Michigan State athletes said they had told campus officials Nassar abused them but their complaints largely were discounted. Nassar has been sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. --An Ohio State trustee has stepped down from the board over the punishment football coach Urban Meyer received for his handling of accusations of domestic violence involving former assistant coach Zach Smith. Jeffrey Wadsworth, a former engineering executive, told The New York Times that Meyer's three-game suspension should have been more "profound." Wadsworth said he was the "lone voice" among the board members seeking a harsher punishment. He declined to discuss in detail the closed-door deliberations, however. --USC outside linebacker Porter Gustin is on track to play in Saturday's opener against UNLV, just over three weeks removed from having surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee. The senior went down on a non-contact play during practice on Aug. 7 and had surgery a day later. One report at the time pegged his timetable for a return at four to six weeks. Gustin had 5.5 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the Trojans, and he chipped in 68 tackles (13.0 for loss) and four passes defensed in 13 games in 2016. --The NCAA has ruled that freshman defensive lineman Josh Belk can play this season at South Carolina. Belk enrolled early at Clemson this spring, intending to play football there this fall, but Clemson granted his release when he said a change in family circumstances required him to be closer to home. He transferred to South Carolina this summer. "Obviously, we are very happy to get the news from the NCAA that Josh is eligible to play this season," Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said in a press release. "Our compliance department did a great job of making a strong case for Josh and the NCAA did the right thing in granting the waiver. I'm appreciative for everyone involved in making this happen." --Notre Dame senior cornerback Shaun Crawford suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee earlier this week, Irish Sports Daily reported. Crawford's college career has been plagued by injuries. He suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his right knee in 2015 and tore his left Achilles tendon in the second game of the 2016 season. Last year, he finished with 32 tackles and two interceptions. The No. 12 Fighting Irish open their season Saturday when they host No. 14 Michigan. --Field Level Media