Update–Izzone section leaders announced Thursday that 1,500 teal t-shirts had been purchased to hand out outside the student entrance to the Breslin Center.
EAST LANSING, Mich.–In a sign of solidarity in support of victims of sexual assault, Izzone section leaders are encouraging members of the MSU basketball student section to wear teal–the universal color for sexual assault awareness and prevention–to Friday’s MSU men’s basketball game against Wisconsin.
Izzone Members! You CAN wear teal to Friday's game to support the Nassar victims. MSU athletics cannot endorse but YOU can organize!
— Sarah Albus (@salbus_11) January 24, 2018
Hey IZZONE members! You’re allowed to wear teal to the basketball game Friday to support the Nassar victims. The athletic department is not endorsing this, but I strongly encourage all of you to show suppprt! Go green and wear teal!
— Allie D (@alliedonalson) January 24, 2018
The movement is largely in support of the victims of Larry Nassar, the former Team USA and Michigan State gymnastics doctor that has been at the center of a historic sexual assault scandal. Over 160 victims have accused Nassar of assaulting them under the guise of medical procedure.
Nassar was sentenced Wednesday in Ingham County to 40 to 175 years in prison, closing out an astonishing seven-day period that saw 156 women’s victim statements read in front of the shaken defendant.
The Izzone, which is run by the MSU athletic department, is usually dressed in solid white, wrapping students around much of the Breslin Center court to create a solid look to intimidate the opponent. This is expected to be the first time the Izzone has ever worn primarily a color other than white or a shade of green.
Casey Copp, a three-year Izzone section leader from South Lyon, Mich., began a Twitter poll once he started receiving messages from fellow students looking to make a statement.
Teal is the color for sexual assault prevention and awareness. Somehow the students need to show our support for the survivors of Nassar’s abuse because the university’s leaders have completely failed at that. To the Izzone members: Should we wear teal to our game this Friday?
— Casey Copp (@CaseyCopp) January 24, 2018
“I’ve had a couple people contact me about doing something because I’m a section leader,” Copp said.
The ideas also began flowing for the Izzone’s 14 section leaders almost immediately following Nassar’s sentencing around 12:35 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Before long, the section leaders broadcasted their encouragement using social media, sharing the news using the hashtag #IzzoneTealOut.
“I always talk about these things with Izzone members as well as the section leader group before I go public with any sort of idea,” Copp said.
At times throughout its 20-plus year history, the section has worn different colors on a single-game basis, most notably wearing neon green shirts in a January 2016 game against Maryland, provided by Nike to match the team’s neon green jerseys released that day. The athletic department is not organizing a shirt giveaway for Friday.
The game against Wisconsin is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Friday at the Breslin Center.