An investigation into now-deceased Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss found that his sexual abuse of at least 177 students over a period of decades was widely known by coaches, trainers, other team doctors, and school leaders. 

Students interviewed in the investigation said Strauss’ examinations were akin to hazing and that he abused male students from at least 16 sports on campus and at his off-campus clinic. 

Related: Abuse Allegations Surface Against Ohio State Doctor 

According to ABC News, which reported on the final report from the investigation, Strauss went so far as to formally and informally appeal to various university officials to keep his job.

The law firm hired to conduct the investigation interviewed hundreds of former students and university employees, many of whom described the doctor’s behavior as an “open secret,” with some referring to Strauss’ examinations as a “rite of passage.”

With the release of the report, current Ohio State president Michael Drake offered "profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss' abuse," calling what happened a "fundamental failure" of the institution and thanked survivors for their courage.

The university said it has begun the process of revoking Strauss' emeritus status.

A pair of related lawsuits are headed to mediation. Ohio State has sought to have the lawsuits thrown out over statute of limitations, but university leaders have insisted they’re not ignoring the matter.

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights also is examining whether Ohio State responded "promptly and equitably" to students' complaints.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.