A Gibbons timeline (and a few undisputed facts)

Submitted by Erik_in_Dayton on January 29th, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I'm creating this because it seems that people are missing some of the important facts that folks dug up and posted in the front page thread on this subject.  (Mods, no hard feelings if you take this down.)  I've done my best not to interject any opinion into what is below.  My purpose in posting this is merely to try to have everyone on the same page as far as facts and timing.

2009 and earlier:  OSCR investigates sexual assaults for U of M but only does so if the complaintant cooperates.  They find someone guilty of sexual assault only if a "clear and convincing" burden of proof has been met. 

Late Nov. 2009:  The incident occurs.  Police reports are made.  Gibbons, of course, denies any wrong-doing...Not long after, Taylor Lewan allegedly threatens the young woman involved with rape if she presses forward.  I have never been able to determine whether Lewan admitted to making this statement.  Please let me know if you know otherwise...We don't know what happened internally to Lewan and Gibbons, but neither is suspended...EDIT: In fairness to Lewan, myself and others have inferred from a police report that Lewan was alleged to have threatened the young woman, but the police report in question is redacted as far as names (at least in the report available online).

Late 2009-Early 2010:  The young woman decides she does not want to press charges, thereby ending the state's investigation.  What OSCR does at this point is unclear.  

2011:  The federal government, via Title IX, tells universities that they must investigate alleged on-campus sexual assault regardless of the cooperation or lack thereof of the alleged victim.  It also tells schools to use a "preponderance of the evidence"  standard when evaluating guilt.  http://www.michigandaily.com/news/university-adopts-new-sexual-misconduct-policy-0?page=0,0 

Aug. 2011:  U of M institutes an interim policy designed to comply with the new Title IX mandate.  (See the link above.)  It appears that the interim policy complied with the mandate to use the preponderance of the evidence standard and to investigate sexual assault claims regardless of cooperation from the alleged victim, but the university's online explanation of this is, in my opinion, somewhat unclear.  http://studentsexualmisconductpolicy.umich.edu/faqs 

The implementation of the interim policy appears to have led more women to come forward to make complaints, as the number of sexual assault complaints made on campus rose from three in 2010-2011 to 62 in 2011-2012.  http://www.michigandaily.com/news/university-adopts-new-sexual-misconduct-policy-0?page=0,1 

Aug. 8, 2013: The Washtenaw Watchdogs blog brings the Gibbons incident back into the public eye.  

Aug. 19, 2013:  U of M implements its current policy, described by the Daily as the result of a two-year fine-tuning process of the interim policy.  (See all links above.)  The current policy unquestionably calls for investigations of alleged sexual assaults regardless of cooperation from the alleged victim and unquestionably uses the "preponderance of the evidence" standard regarding guilt.

Nov. 20, 2013:  OSCR produces a document telling Gibbons that a preponderance of evidence supports the claim that he committed sexual assault.  http://www.michigandaily.com/sports/former-kicker-brendan-gibbons-expelled-sexual-misconduct 

Nov. 23, 2013:  Gibbons plays against Iowa.

Nov. 30, 2013:  Gibbons does not play in the OSU game, purportedly because he is injured.

Dec. 4, 2013:  Gibbons meets with OSCR to discuss the findings against him. (See last link.)

Dec. 16, 2013:  Coach Hoke states that Gibbons may not play in the bowl game because of an injury.

Dec. 19, 2013:  OSCR produces a letter telling Gibbons that he is expelled.    http://www.michigandaily.com/sports/former-kicker-brendan-gibbons-expelled-sexual-misconduct 

Dec. 23, 2013:  Coach Hoke tells the media that Gibbons will miss the bowl game because of a "family matter."

A final note:  Dave Ablauf, in the Daily article linked above (the last link), states that the AD cannot comment on the academics or university standing of an athlete.  University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald also said in that article that he could not comment because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  One could quibble a bit about what Ablauf and people in the AD can say about Gibbons if they wanted to test the bounds of FERPA, but there is little doubt that U of M's legal people believe exactly what Ablauf said, namely that he could not comment on the relevant issues.  One errs on the side of caution in such circumstances...I point all of this out to say that Coach Hoke was never free to say that Gibbons was no longer at the school (save the unlikely event that Gibbons would have consented to this).  I don't state that as a comment on what he did say. 

EDIT: mackbru seemingly correctly points out that the school can at least arguably say whether someone is enrolled.  See the link below that describes a FERPA exemption for "directory information."  I highly doubt this covers saying that someone was expelled, but I am not a higher ed lawyer.  There may be some big grey areas here, and none of this post should be taken as legal advice (sorry - had to say that). 



Final final note: Credit to Don, Kilgore Trout, and guthrie for digging up much of what I posted above.  Also thanks to those in this thread who have made suggestions.



I Like Burgers

January 29th, 2014 at 2:21 PM ^

My initial response to the "he didn't know" was more about whether or not Hoke knew about the Gibbons situation after he was hired.  Seems like when you take over a program, someone would (or should) give you the low down on everything that's going on, and that would certainly be one of the things they'd go over.

But as for the issue you address, I don't see anyway that OSCR reopens that case and Hoke doesn't know about it.  Its so implausible, I don't see how its even a debate.  The coaches are told about every school sanctioned issue that these kids are running into problems with.  If they're missing a lot of class, the coaches know.  If they piss on a car and DPS catches them, the coaches know.  So there is almost a zero percent chance that OSCR starts to reinvestigate a football player for sexual assualt and doesn't give the coach a heads up.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:51 PM ^

And what is Hoke going to do regardless? The police never pressed charges and the school didn't expell him and RichRod kept him on the team.

The incident happened over a year before Hoke was named coach. The incident was over. Why would he need to know if it didn't lead to an arrest or an expulsion?

Prince Lover

January 29th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

This issue was 2 years old when Hoke got here and I was going to suggest the author included this in his time line. It's tough to know if/ when he was told about the incident. And it's tough to be in his shoes if/when he found out about this as to what he should have done.
How can someone say Hoke needed to do something different in regards to letting those 2 play if he was under the impression that all the processes for discipline have been played out. I would have assumed the same thing, if they were playing, it must be because they have cleared their disciplinary hurdles already.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

Was the so-called Carr Standard employed, in which strong evidence of at least some wrong-doing would result in a player being removed from the squad, at least until such time as culpability was determined?

I don't recall Carr employing such a standard. If anything I think it was more the opposite - the player would generally remain on the team until found guilty, and then he'd be suspended.  (At least, in the case of a first offense.  Repeat offenders generally got disciplined pretty harshly.)


January 29th, 2014 at 1:27 PM ^

I think it's hard to come up with a one-size-fits-all response to these things.  Most of the time, it seems, the player quickly pleads guilty to a lesser charge and the coach has a free hand to internally punish him.  But what do you do in a situation where the player is adamant about his innocence?

I do recall hearing that Carr made Marlin Jackson take a polygraph, and ultimately decided not to kick him off the team (though he did suspend Jackson for a game or two). Jackson had strongly maintained his innocence (at least regarding the harshest charge levied against him).  He was ultimately cleared of that particular charge, but it took some time - I think it wasn't until after the season was over.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

thanks for compiling this. The only question I have now is when was her case reopened by the OSCR? Having that answered would help to settle questions about how long this process took for the case. Hopefully that will come out soon.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

Overall good timeline. However Lewan never made such a threst to the victim. Not listed on any reports. That rumor is exactly that: rumor and hearsay.

Bando Calrissian

January 29th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

Why are you so intent to put your foot in your mouth about the Lewan wrinkle? 

As far as I'm aware, you didn't eat a cheeseburger for dinner last night. But if there's a police report saying multiple people said you were seen behind your house flipping a quarter pounder on a hibachi, I'd tend to think there may be legs to the story.

Bando Calrissian

January 29th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

I don't know the answer to that, and you know damn well you don't, either.

But the point of the matter is threats are just as valid when they're made to others as they are when made directly. From what little is publicly known about the victim without disclosing details that would lead to her identification, we know she was an individual who traveled in the same, small social circles at Michigan as Gibbons and Lewan. I don't know how it was when you were at the University fifty years ago, but these days, athletes live in a small world. Word gets around. And when two fellow football players feel so strongly that a friend and recent rape victim is in danger because Lewan is mouthing off about raping her himself, what does that say?

I anticipate a smug response, and I don't care. Your defense of these guys is nothing short of reprehensible. 

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 3:05 PM ^

...is based on the fact that I think that allegations in the manner of criminal complaints ought to be in criminal courts.  Not based on any particular facts.  (Although I am SO much more confident in my position of saying, "not charged and therefore not close to being proven guilty, than the common MGoBlog response of, "OMG this sounds bad we must do something about it..."

My biggest objection in all of this is to the administrative, p.c., politically-driven rush to comply with federal Dept. of Education/Title IX directives, to streamline allegations of sexual abuse.  At the clear expense of criminal due process rights for the accused.

I hope and expect that my position in this regard is even more offensive to you than merely defending the two former players on the facts alone. 

Go Blue in MN

January 29th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

So in your view a University should do nothing so long as the misconduct alleged satisfies the definition of a crime?  Thus, it could suspend or expel a student for being repeatedly disruptive or disrespectful in class, but could not expel if the university believed that the student raped or murdered somebody?  Your position is absurd.  There could be all sorts of reasons why the DA didn't pursue, couldn't get a conviction, etc. that have nothing to do with the university's unilateral perogative of determining who it permits to attend its classes.  Would you be OK if the university continued to allow a serial murderer to be enrolled until after he was ultimately convicted in a criminal court?  We'll just let him stick around in case he's innocent?  Due process, after all. 

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 4:32 PM ^

The place for a "convicted serial murderer" as you proffer, is in prison for life without parole (in Michigan).  Not at the state's leading researcy university.

If "a University" beleived that a member of its student body or faculty committed a crime, the thing to do is to report that to law enforcement.  (I used scare quotes around your term because I don't imagine the AAPD is going to take a criminal complaint or an incident report from The University of Michigan."  Individuals who can be sworn to oaths and cross-examined make such complaints.)

I don't much mind a university's deciding who gets to attend classes.  And if they kick people out of classes if they cause a ruckus.

I do mind it if universities start conducting mini-trials of alleged sexual assault and making significant findings of fact, all to the end of making decisions that would appear, to a credulous public, akin to a court verdict of guilt.  In contentious, disputed cases.

If and when someone is wrongly expelled under those circumstances, I'd like very much to see the university and even the federal officials involved, held responsible. 

Go Blue in MN

January 29th, 2014 at 4:51 PM ^

In serious criminal matters like murder or rape, there can be a LONG time between the incident and an ultimate finding of conviction (or not guilty).  It sounds like you're OK with having a student accused of such heinous acts on campus attending classes at the University of Michigan until the legal process has run its course, even if the evidence against the student is strong.  If additional murders or rapes occur, I guess that's just the price we pay for your idea of doctrinal purity.  (Note that even in the criminal context, the state can lock up an accused pending trial, thus protecting the public.)  My point -- there's a good reason we have extremely significant protections for the accused when adverse action means taking away their liberty, and more lenient protections for administrative matters such as the one that led to Gibbons' expulsion.  No one has the right to attend the University of Michigan or any other college or university -- it is a privilege.    


January 29th, 2014 at 4:44 PM ^

Because your commentary on other issues is insightful.

When you repeatedly drag Title IX - a subject on which your opinion is perfectly clear - into a discussion on allegations of sexual misconduct, you paint yourself with a brush whose color, shall we say, doesn't further your point. Adding "PC" to that little mention and your color becomes near-indelible.

Either you know that, and are doing it to troll people, or you genuinely believe that the accused is victim to the evil of proportionate athletic representation in the guise of political correctness. In either case, anyone who has experience with your opinions on this subject will move on at the first mention, possibly without stopping to neg you for being not just an idiot, but a loud, deaf idiot.

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 6:21 PM ^

I can point you to what I was tallking about, with a link.

Russlyn H. Ali's "Dear Colleague" letter from April of 2011.  The specific, clear, overwhelming link to Title IX.

And a good example of what sort of reaction it inspired in some conservative and civil libertarian circles.  In this case law prof and civil libertarian Jonathan Turley.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

It's not that what (maybe) Lewan was alleged to have done was worse than what Gibbons was alleged to have done. It is the fact that the Gibbons issue is an evidence + he said + she said case, and is it notoriously hard to tell what really happened with those. 

But even if Gibbons is not guilty, the allegations against Lewan are quite serious. And, as you say, it seems that it should be easier to tell what he actually did. And if he did make those statements to a party involved with the victim, it should not have been glossed over.

This is where things get really murky, because the Gibbons issue is kind of shut, but if this stuff against (perhaps) Lewan has any legs or credibility, it's going to get worse. What if the friend he allegedly said it to goes on a local TV station and makes the accusation on camera? You can see how this can go.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:09 PM ^

the Lewan issue is dead.  If he said it and there was any legitimate threat that he meant it he would have been charged with assault, witness intimidation.  The way the police reports reads is that some jackass may have said something inflamatory and that a cop went to his place and told him to shut his mouth.  It looks like a dumb kid saying a dumb thing and he was told it was dumb and he stopped saying it.  There are bigger questions involved with how the Gibbons issue was handled.  For now I am just happy to have them both off the team because I was tired of having to act like I liked them.


January 29th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

He delivered the threat to her friend but the threat was clearly to the woman herself. "Threatened the girl's friend" would miss the point entirely.

If I call your wife and say "I'm going to break Matt's legs if he doesn't do X," I've threatened you. That I delivered the threat through a third party isn't germane.

STW P. Brabbs

January 29th, 2014 at 1:45 PM ^

I actually do think it makes a difference, to be honest.

It's an awful thing to say, but here's what I think is the difference: if Lewan* said this directly to the victim, it would be almost impossible to conclude that he was not trying to directly intimidate the victim and dissuade her from pressing charges.  Not to mention the fact that it would be considerably more traumatic for the victim to hear this directly from Lewan.

Having been made to the friend, it's possible to interpret Lewan's* words to be an utterly loathsome expression of anger and frustration, but not necessarily one meant to threaten the victim.

To put it another way, I find it much less likely that it would be taken as a credible threat if it were delivered to the victim by the victim's friend, but if it were said by Lewan directly to the victim, it would be a different matter.

*I still haven't seen anything apart from Doug Smith's individual assertions that show Lewan made these threats.  Can anyone point me to a better source?

EDIT: I should note that, if Lewan actually did issue the threat to the victim's friend, I think he should have faced a lengthy suspension at the very least.  It just kind of bothers me that everyone seems to be just taking Doug Smith's word on this.


January 29th, 2014 at 11:45 PM ^

and multiple first-hand accounts Lewan's actions were as follows:

Lewan attempted to contact the alleged victim, when in front of multiple witnesses (including teammates of his) he accosted a group of women, which he believed contained the alleged, while saying, "is this the girl, is this the girl?" And then making a crude and tasteless comment after finding out that the alleged wasn't in the group.

Lewan, while speaking to a friend of the alleged victim's, asked if the alleged intended to press charges, and warned that if she did, he'd rape her because Gibbons didn't.


January 29th, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

Is important too. There's a lot of fact-free speculation going on that risks damaging the reputations of both the university and a number of heretofore good people. Without knowing things like privacy obligations and what was known by whom when, I prefer to withhold judgment until I do. Is that so unreasonable?


January 29th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

In any way wronged by being booted off the team and out of school by a legal verdict rendered by a nonlegal body, he immediately sues everybody, right?

Obviously, his failure to sue is not an admission of guilt, but why just lie down and get branded this way?


January 29th, 2014 at 12:23 PM ^

There's nothing to gain, and the only standard that will be applied was whether the U properly followed its own policies in rendering its verdict, which is non-legal. It only relates to his enrollment in the school.

Even if he could protest, what good comes of it? He would  look awful even if he were legally exonerated. His eligibility is gone and cannot be returned, and he was never a prospect for the NFL. 


January 29th, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing. I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over the prospect that he'll have to successfully respond to interview questions on the subject if he ever wants to be a social worker.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

Committed sexual assault.  3 days later he travels with team to Iowa and plays.  A week later he misses Ohio State game due to claimed injury.  The question I have to ask is when did Brady find out?  I really hope it was after the team got back from Iowa, or I really have a problem then.  Hoke also has to come forward with why on Dec 23, 2013 was he still claiming that Gibbons was still part of the team (away for family reasons) when he was not truthful after the 20th and tell everyone that he no longer is a student at the University and leave it at that.  The optics for Brady are really bad.