Michigan St. vice chair: More going on here than 'this Nassar thing'

— -- The vice chairman of Michigan State University's board of trustees said university president Lou Anna Simon won't resign because of the Larry Nassar scandal.

Joel Ferguson told East Lansing, Michigan, radio station WVFN-AM on Monday that it "will not happen. Period."

Ferguson said there are "so many more things going on" at Michigan State "than just this Nassar thing." He said Simon has been the best president in his 30 years as a trustee. Simon has been Michigan State's president since 2005.

"She's a fighter," Ferguson said. "Her overall, what she's done for this university, she's not going to get ran out of there by what somebody else did."

Ferguson's spokesperson later issued a statement to the Detroit Free Press, saying Ferguson regretted referring to the scandal as "this Nassar thing."

Ferguson, in the radio interview, also dismissed the idea that the NCAA could get involved in this case.

"To do what?" he said. "This is not Penn State. They were dealing with their football program. They're smart enough to know they're not competent to walk in here on this."

But hours later, the NCAA released a statement saying it sent a letter of inquiry to Michigan State, effectively opening an investigation into the school's handling of the Nassar case.

Two other trustees have publicly refuted parts of Ferguson's statements. One of them, Mitch Lyons, said he thinks Simon needs to resign to help the university move forward. If she doesn't, he said, he thinks his fellow board members need to remove her from office.

There's a growing call for Simon to step down over how the university handled sexual assault allegations against Nassar, who was a campus sports doctor. At a sentencing hearing that has gone on for a week, more than 150 women and girls have confronted Nassar or had statements read in court.

A former prosecutor hired by Michigan State to conduct a review of the school's handling of Nassar's case said there's no reason to believe that any campus officials believed what Nassar was doing was a crime before 2016. Previous investigations by the school's Title IX office and law enforcement decided that Nassar's actions were legitimate medical procedures.

On Tuesday, two professors at the school raised the possibility of a no-confidence vote in Simon during a university council meeting, the Detroit Free Press reported. The question is expected to be sent out Wednesday to more than 2,000 faculty members to determine if there is enough support to convene a faculty senate meeting on the matter. A no-confidence vote would bring further pressure on the school to remove Simon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.