By your own definition, Hoke was engaged in a cover-up. By giving false reasons for Gibbons not participating in the games, he was trying to prevent people from discovering the real reason.
Brendan Gibbons Expelled, Untruths Rampant
The university and athletic department handled Gibbons about as well as he handled this field goal. [Eric Upchurch]
The Daily has revealed that the sketchy way Brendan Gibbons exited the program—a "tweak" before the OSU game followed by barely-credible claims of "family issues"—was in fact a result of the university expelling him for the 2009 rape allegations that were exhumed earlier this year:
“You will be permanently separated from the University of Michigan effective December 20, 2013,” reads a Dec. 19, 2013 letter addressed to Gibbons at his Florida residence from the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution, which facilitates disciplinary proceedings against students. The Michigan Daily did not obtain these documents from the University.
In human language, "permanently separated" is expulsion. The OSCR took that action based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Why it took almost five years to reach this conclusion is unknown. The Daily suggests that revised policies from 2011 may have forced the University to re-evaluate, but policies from 2011 do not result in December 2013 expulsions. Given the timing here it's clear that the guy who dumped various court documents on the internet was the proximate cause. That is of course terribly embarrassing for the university, which was apparently fine with having a student they eventually concluded they were at least 50.1% sure raped a girl as long as no one was complaining about it.
Meanwhile, the athletic department's optics here are horrible. Having him on the team is not the issue, or if it is it's on Rodriguez's head. The incident was a year old and seemingly dead when Hoke came in; without the OSCR or other university body stepping in there would be no reason to reconsider Gibbons's status.
But once they knew things were coming to a head they could not have been dumber about this. Not content with offering up the generic and 100% true "violation of team rules" explanation—being enrolled at the university is kind of important if you're going to be on the team—they chose to cloak Gibbons's departure in a thin veneer of sympathy by claiming "family issues." That is a lie. Now they look horrible, and for something a bit more serious than having a noodle in the stadium.
Meanwhile, Hoke's explanation for Gibbons's unavailability for Ohio State is questionable at best. Was this "tweak" legitimate? Is it at all plausible that Gibbons was "iffy" for the bowl game on December 16th, three days before the very last gear of ponderous university justice ground to a halt?
"He's a little iffy," Hoke said. "He's kicking a little bit. But I don't want to over-kick him (in practice).
"I've never been a kicker, so I can't imagine that (muscle pull) problem. So, he's a little iffy."
There is absolutely no chance that Brady Hoke was not fully informed of the status of his kicker by this point. Dave Brandon did not call Brady up on the 19th and say "you're never going to believe this, but…" That's also a lie, and in the service of what cause again?
UPDATE: A user who used to work at the OSCR provides details on the process:
Having worked at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (the "disciplinary" office that administered the expulsion proceedings against Gibbons) for two years in undergrad, I thought maybe I could offer some insight / clear up some confusion about the OSCR process in this thread.
OSCR is not, in any appreciable sense, an investigatory body. It is a passive office that acts only after receiving a complaint from some member of the University community. While any individual student, faculty, or staff member can file a complaint, the most common OSCR complainants by far are Residence Education (Housing) and DPS. In order to pursue a complaint with OSCR, the Complainant has to provide all the necessary evidentiary backing; again, OSCR does not investigate events on its own.
The process for initiating and pursuing a complaint with OSCR goes as follows:
- An OSCR staff member conducts an intake meeting with the Complainant to discuss the nature of his/her/its complaint and inform the Complainant of the various resolution pathways available (in addition to formal arbitration, OSCR offers a number of alternative dispute resolution pathways that do not result in disciplinary action).
- An OSCR staff member will then conduct an intake meeting with the Respondent to notify him of the complaint and inform him of his rights/options in the process.
- At that point, the Respondent can either accept responsibility for the complaint or indicate that he's willing to proceed to a formal arbitration.
- Assuming that the Complainant is also interested in pursuing a formal arbitration, OSCR will either appoint a trained member of the University staff to serve as the formal arbiter, or it will select a panel of student arbiters.
- After hearing from both the Complainant and the Respondent, the arbiter or the student panel will reach a finding of "responsible" or "not responsible," and will then proceed to make a sanction recommendation.
- Any recommendations for expulsion have to be approved by a member of the University administration. When I was there, I believe this was the responsibility of the VP for Student Affairs, E. Royster Harper.
As you can see, this is a multi-step process that requires several meetings and often many different witnesses, advisors, and arbiters. With that said, it is emphatically NOT a three- or four-year process. Given that all of the investigatory work is already completed before a complaint is filed, the formal arbitration process does not take very long at all. In my time at OSCR, I can't remember a single arbitration - including those involving sexual assault allegations - lasting more than a single semester, from initial complaint to final sanction.
However, the police and school already knew about it. This makes the situation very different than the PSU situation - not a comparison you made, I realize. Hoke did nothing more or less than misdirect the public away from a truth that he couldn't reveal.
You can't cover up a fact that you're legally incapable of revealing.
You are embarrassing yourself. Stop.
I don't consider the use of actual facts to be embarassing.
He was when he was Wolverines Dominate, too.
Only took four damn years and about three separate news cycles concerning this particular story.
Uh, what? Dave Brandon wasnt even at Michigan at the time this stuff happened. That would be Mr. Martin. Brandon came in the following year.
Was he aware of the incident? We will probably never know. But as people have said, nothing was covered up. This was out there in 2009 right after it happened. The University administration is going to be under a microscope more than the athletic department over this.
The alleged incident happened in November 2009.
Dave Brandon was named Athletic Director on January 5, 2010. In other words, he could have bought a gallon of orange juice on the morning after the alleged assault, and it would have still been good the day he got the job.
And if every random MGoBlogger knew this was a story pretty much the week it happened, there's no way the Athletic Director isn't just casually aware, but intimately familiar with the story.
While the incident occured while Martin was the AD, I'm assuming most of the investigation by the university occured while Brandon was AD.
Thank you for pointing this out. It's not as Brandon and Hoke were unaware of the situation.
By the time Hoke was hired the matter had been closed, and it's a bit much to expect him to take disciplinary action regarding an incident that had happened two years before he was hired, in the absence of any new information, when no disciplinary action was taken at the time of the incident.
What do you think happened?
please share your insider knowledge with us. I'm sure we are all waiting anxiously. I will provide my thoughts, free of charge. There are an awful lot of sanctimonious assholes here who seem to think that repeated posts are going to prove something.
It looks as if there was some sort of cover up of a sexual assault case involving a football player.
Just because the details were made known that something happened, doesn't mean that there can't be a cover up. Silencing the victim. Making her drop the case and go away so that everybody can just move on and pretend like nothing happened. That's still a cover up.
The calls for explanation are well founded. However, FERPA prevents the University from going into this. We are not likely to ever get the details re who knew what when.
While true, they can still at the very least give us an explanation of the process (however vague) and why there was a 4 year periord from the date the incident allegedly took place until the university ultimately decided to act.
I'm curious as to why you have not once mentioned the new sexual misconduct policies as a possible explanation here.
I've mentioned that as being an unsatisfactory, non-answer at best.
You simply cannot be bothered read.
All that information (even saying that he was subject to an investigation and was expelled) is in student records which are protected. It doesn't matter that other sources have leaked it. The University is still barred from comment.
Really? They are barred from saying, "Here is the process by which we deal with any sort of sexual assault, and why sometimes it takes a great deal of time to do anything about an issue or pursue any sort of action?"
You would really be happy with a vanilla comment on how that policy works and a statement that "Gee, these things take while." If so, send a FOIA request for a copy of the policy. You can review it all you want. And, just take my word for it, these things can take years.
I bet not. What you, and everyone else, wants is a timeline of this case. When was the complaint filed? What steps were taken? Who was involved. When was Hoke informed? Did Hoke talk with Gibbons about it? That is all protected.
for Brandon, what do you have to pin any of this on him?
This shit again? There is literally no new information regarding this. Quit pretending like any of you know what the hell actually happened. "But but but my frat buddies (frats are weird and creepy by the way) told me he raped some chick"......
Because that's exactly what's happening here.
Can you read?
People saying Hoke should have said "no comment" on Gibbons ... HE WASN'T ASKED A QUESTION. He volunteered that Gibbons wasn't with the team for family reasons as part of his opening statement when the team first got down to Tempe. It was some sort of luncheon with media and bowl reps. Which basically means that he went into that with the plan to outright lie to them.
Brandon Instructed Hoke to say this. Brandon knew before Hoke. I hate to say it but this may get out of control, to a point where both Brandon and Hoke are dismissed.
Rape is bad.
With that said, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't think it's right the university can expel a student for a reason that doesn't involve academic violations when there has been no criminal charges.
Had the Mackie's offices charged, then that is a different story. He should be gone immediately. That never happened.
Could he have been removed from the team? Probably and this wouldn't be an issue, but without more to weigh against him, what would Hoke/ RR do?
The whole situation is bad. Bad that the girl had to go through this (if it happened), bad for the university because they're asshats for handling things in this manner and bad for Gibbons.
Yet, under this system could Jameis Winston be kicked out?
Universities are required by law to provide a safe venue for their students. As such, they must expel students for matter beyond academics when required. A straight A student can blow up a dorm room, for example. That's grounds for expulsion.
These matters are adjudicated by university rules that transcend the athletic department. They don't just pick up the phone and say 'oh man, we've got a kicker here, better break all the rules of privacy to tell this one to the coach'. There was very little Hoke could legally say or do until the case was resolved.
I wonder if Winston was the accused in a Title IX violation or whether he was just accused to the police. The legal standards are totally different than the Title IX standards. If a complaint was raised at the university by Title IX standards, yes, he could be kicked out without being found guilty in a criminal or civil court.
A certain other B1G school buried allegations of (child)rape and eventually had to pay. How high does this go? Are Hoke/Brandon just as accountable as Paterno/Curley?
This is terrible on many levels but mostly for the yound lady involved. I'm sure there are lawyers circling already.
Well I think one thing we can all agree on is that what happens in the next few days will have a long lasting effect on the football program, the athletic department and the University. By god I hope they handle it right this time. A relatively reasonable and convincing explanation on the timeline of this would be a start.
Opening paragraphs (boldface mine):
"The University has adopted a new policy for how it responds to student sexual-misconduct allegations, transitioning from a complainant-driven model to one driven by University investigators.
A 2011 Department of Education mandate clarified that Title IX, the federal anti-sex discrimination statute, obligates universities to actively investigate sexual misconduct allegations. In response, the University reviewed its sexual misconduct allegation policies and implemented an interim policy in August 2011.
The newly effective final policy follows fine-tuning process over the last two years, which brought together the directors of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Center and a staff member in the Office of the General Counsel. In addition to discussions at several community forums, survivors of sexual assault and other people who were impacted by the previous policy were also consulted."
To me, this indicates that under the old system, there wasn't enough proven fact to expel Gibbons, even though there were ample suspicions that he did commit an assault of some sort. This conundrum has been addressed now:
"... When determining guilt, OIE investigators will use a lower standard of proof. Known as preponderance of the evidence, the standard declares that guilt is determined if there’s enough evidence to suggest a complaint is more likely true than not."
I believe that this newly implemented system enabled the University to revisit the charges, and the new lower standard of proof allowed them to make an expulsion decision that might not have been possible under the old system, even if there was no new information available to the University investigators.
Question: if a head coach—Rich Rodriguez or Brady Hoke or Bo Schembechler—suspects that one of their players might have committed a crime, but have no legal or criminal justice evidence to make a determination themselves, are they obligated to get rid of the player anyhow?
Thank you, Don. Perhaps this should be added to Brian's post above. I would think it would help provide some clarity.
but people really should read the Daily article. I think it's clear that this is largely the result of recent changes in official UM policy, and Gibbons has gotten caught up in the wash, perhaps with very good reason.
With respect to Hoke and Brandon, I think it's appropriate to paraphrase the old Watergate quote:
"What did they know, and when did they know it?"
As to your final point, I'd hope any coach would be above making such a determination. They aren't judges, and if there is a formal process let it happen. Because otherwise, when he is wrong (and inevitably he will be), you are going to have kids screwed over who were innocent, and for no good reason. What happened with Gibbons (if true) is horrible for his victim, but a blanket "guilty" treatment on accusation is just as damaging as a the "enablement" argument some people are trying to push around here for Hoke and co. letting him play.
hope this is the cause of it taking 4 yrs. If it really went into effect in Sept. then Dec. would seem like a normal timeline. Still doesn't make Hoke's comments when asked about it ok and it is obviously horrible for the victim that it took this long for action to be taken.
I think that it's more likely that when the story resurfaced earlier this year, somebody within the OSCR or the AD asked some questions about why the case wasn't adjucated in 2009. Discovering a change in policy, they may have read the title IX rules carefully and decided that the OSCR process was warranted per the current regulations. In fact, as Gibbons was still a student, it was probably required.
Excellent point. We need to keep in mind that university adminstrators—in part because of Penn State—are probably privately scared shitless about the possibility that charges of covering things up could occur on their watch, too. Asses need covering and lawsuits need to be avoided.
"Title IX, the federal anti-sex discrimination statute, obligates universities to actively investigate sexual misconduct allegations."
This seems, to me, to be the most plausible explanation available that would also exonerate the Department from most of its shame and guilt.
This issue did sort of resurface in August, and so it seems reasonable to think that someone would say, "Let's take a look at this." And the result is what we have now.
I'm not saying that's what happened, but that seems like a reasonable explanation that would keep me from thinking that Hoke and Brandon were particularly negligent.
One very significant piece missing from your good explanation is that the policy allowing for the lowered evidentiary standard of "preponderance of the evidence" didn't become effective until August 19, 2013. It's on the FAQ page of the student sexual misconduct policy.
If this change became effective August 19, 2013 then it actually appears the process was handled pretty swiftly by the university (whether you agree with the process or not).
...is the simplest explanation so far. A poster above stated that a possible change in school rules was a specious explanation for what happened. As far as the school's delay, I can't think of a more relevant explanation. Institutions (hopefully) function under rules, and they change behavior when their rules change...This does not explain the "family issues" comment, and I don't mean to suggest it does.
I'm not sure what he was supposed to say on December 16 without the process being concluded. It's not like he can offer up that Gibbons is being reviewed by the OSCR. What if it turns out the claim is baseless, and Gibbons is thrown under the bus by Hoke without cause?
My guess is that at some point in the last half a year, someone got the facts and details together and finally made a FORMAL complaint to the OSCR. Hence the process began. Long overdue, but someone needs to step forward to get it started.
I feel terrible for the young woman, and if Gibbons did what is alleged (which it's sounding like he probably did, although still not yet convicted in an actual court), then expulsion is barely a scratch in the price he should have to pay.
I am a lifelong michigan fan and graduate. Love our school and athletic programs, esp football. I always can keep my head up high through the ups and downs.... Through The Horror, 3-9, losing to Sparty etc, I could always stay positive, stick up for my school and have a rebuttal for all the shit talkers.
I cannot today. I am very embarrassed and ashamed of our school, athletic director and coaches. I can't and won't argue how it happened, who knew, if he did what he was accused of etc, but I will say that it was flat out handled terribly and wrong. Bottom line. I am ashamed to call myself a Michigan fan and will absolutely have no rebuttal for anyone that criticizes the program regarding this. It is absolutely absurd and frankly makes me sick.
No excuses. Sounds like the high horse just got a lot lighter with the "Michigan Man" on it.
This whole thing may be the nail in the coffin for me. Really debating not putting up my PSD and just giving the money to CoE. How do you expect the public not to find out about what happened?
One point I'd like to add is that anyone acting as if RR "knew something" and covered it up needs to STFU. Just because the guy didn't work out as a head coach doesn't mean we have to drag even more people through the mud, especially people who (again) followed the established rules for such a situation. Unless contradictory evidence comes out, I have to assume that grown men with a reasonable amount of moral fiber wouldn't actively cover up a sexual assault by a player because, I don't know, they like his hair or they figured he'd be good 3 years later or some other crap.
I mean he has no B10 titles, a losing record against our main rivals, and his teams all around play sloppy.
All he had was the "he get's it" and "he recruits so well" and "he represents the school so well".
These memes are total lies now. Hoke has nothing to stand on.
Seriously? Go away.
I wish I wasn't on my iPhone so I could use up all of my MGoPoints down voting you.
1) I hope that, as in all these cases, justice was done.
2) I hope that the victim is getting all the support they need
3) I think it is necessary for Hoke to do a Bill Simmons-like play by play of what he knew, when he knew it, and WHY he decided to engage with the media on this the way he did.
Since 1) and 2) are things I can never really (or likely won't) know, I'll focus on 3). If there was even the slightest hint that there was obfuscation and not some well thought out reasoning behind what he/they (Hoke, AD, whatever) then I think that UM really needs to examine whether or not these people are a good fit at UM. This is not just beacuse, as an alum, I think people need to be held accountable, especially on something like this. It also has to do with the much less important (big picture) but very important (UMFB-wise) issue, it goes against the core sales pitch UM makes to recruits.
The only thing I saw Hoke having going for him is the whole idea that he has created a family-like atmosphere in AA. This, along with a history that suggests a modified version of PSU (we do it right) and the academics thing, is what supposedly sets UM in a class with the ND's and Stanfords of the world.
Thus, even if the explanation given is one that is not a fireable offense on its own, I think that this may be a time where the optics are such that such an action may be needed.
This whole thing sucks.
So how is Taylor Lewan looking now? This is a disgrace.