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.




January 29th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

You quote Taranto, a conservative columnist; Smith appears to be, from his editorial position, choice of issues, and supported links, to be at least a fiscal conservative himself. He just appears to have it in for the U, where that is not your sole issue. Otherwise, there's a lot of similarity there.

You're not just "asking questions." You're screaming "Conspiracy!" at the top of your lungs. You may wish to refute by saying "I'm not even shouting," but when you repeatedly post basically the same things over and over again in short space, that is an internet equivalent to shouting. 


January 29th, 2014 at 1:43 PM ^

Saying, "Is there going to be a kind of feminist Star Chamber on campuses across the country?" is, to my mind, offensive. And flaming. Obviously, the concensus on here is that your statements are intended to offend and to create a stir. Your views on things are well known, and the impact of you continuing to repeat them is only to get you further downvotes, create clutter in the comments, and further offend people.

Your views have been stated. I suggest you relax for a bit and consider ways of expressing yourself that are more likely to be respected and heard rather than creating knee-jerk reactions based on your past, inflammatory statements. My suggestion to you, to myself, and everyone else is, before saying something, think, "Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it the right time to say it?"


January 29th, 2014 at 1:01 PM ^

Feminist Star Chamber--that's where you decided to take this.  You should be ashamed.  Save this garbage for any of the many conspiracy boards out in cyberspace.

The effing rules are laid out.  They likely don't differ from many adminstrative processes.  They don't require criminal standards.

* a word I rarely use on this Board (though perhaps too often in golf)

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

Quasi-criminal sanctions (expulsion, disgrace, etc.) without -- perhaps -- due process rights for the accused.

I asked whether this was a feminist Star Chamber.  I didn't make it a declaration.  I was being deliberately provocative, in an atmosphere where thousands of people are seemingly prepared to categorize Brendan Gibbons a rpaist, when he hasn't spent a day in court.  And where thousands more are seemingly prepared to blame the University of Michigan, and/or the Athletic Department, for some imagined "cover-up."  The misperception of the facts, in about 1 out of every three posts on this board is frightening.  People rarely pay sufficient attention, and when they do, it is heavily filtered by their preconceptions.  Sometimes you have to provoke, to get the requisite level of attention.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:05 PM ^

We will probably not know the true facts of this case. Many questions will not be answered due to privacy issues of both the accused and the victim.

The speculation will probably continue and take on a life of it's own that could damage the University, AD and coach.

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 3:13 PM ^

...leaving these kinds of contentious criminal allegations to the public criminal justice system.  With its own careful rules of evidence, on prosecutorial behavior, on the rights of victims and accused alike, and criminal sanctions attaching when guilt is found beyond reasonable doubt.

Just quit it, I say, with these Washington policy-based administrative "solutions."

This is just Reason Number 1,001 why Title IX is a giant sinkhole for collegiate athletics.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:13 PM ^

gave a woman who alleged rape against a football player in 2009, that he forced himself upon her when she said no to his sexual avances. Because this kind of thing has happened a lot on college campuses nationally with women victimized both by the incident and then by the process of reporting it,  federal policy was adopted for universities to help deal with it. 

I think we've seen in this case exactly why such a policy was launched and how victims are reluctant to come forward after being attacked. 

Because this case is about consent, and only two people know the truth, you are left with conflicting emotions, perceptions and explanations for what really occurred. In the end, it matters not whether Gibbons was guilty, he was found guilty based on a preponderance of information supplied supporting the victim's case. 

That fact makes the subsequent handling of the matter then about the resolution of the expulsion order. Gibbons was never indicted by a criminal court. He was never officially prosecuted under criminal or civil law. The expulsion itself is simply a revocation of student privleges, or withdrawal of his scholarship. It is in fact a university finding without legal conviction. And if Gibbons weren't a public figure as a Michigan football player, we would never have learned about it or regarded it as more than a passing headline, whether fair or not. 

The upshot then becomes the reporting of Gibbons dismissal from the university and football program. And this should have been a university announcement, not a Hoke report of Gibbon's absence from the playing roster for whatever reason. The university not Hoke or in partnership with the coach should have jointly announced this. Why? Because it was a university decision, not Hoke's. Gibbons violated university student policy which also means he violated team rules. The expulsion was the school's decision after investigation, not the coach. The coach is an employee and Gibbon's supervisor. But he wasn't involved in the case because it was outside his jurisdiction. 

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 5:08 PM ^

In the end, it matters not whether Gibbons was guilty, he was found guilty based on a preponderance of information supplied supporting the victim's case. 

Good God.

`It's a pun!' the King added in an offended tone, and everybody laughed, `Let the jury consider their verdict,' the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

`No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'

`Stuff and nonsense!' said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!'

`Hold your tongue!' said the Queen, turning purple.

`I won't!' said Alice.

`Off with her head!' the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

`Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) `You're nothing but a pack of cards!'

-Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland



“But I’m not guilty,” said K. “there’s been a mistake. How is it even possible for someone to be guilty? We’re all human beings here, one like the other.” “That is true” said the priest “but that is how the guilty speak” 
― Franz KafkaThe Trial


turd ferguson

January 29th, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

Your politics are annoying, as usual, but I actually think you're right that there's potentially a very interesting story developing.  Just in the sports world, we've had recent sexual assault claims at Florida State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and a bunch of other places that never made it through the full legal process.  If universities are now required to push forward with these cases even if the victim doesn't want to press charges and if the universities are required to apply a preponderance of evidence standard, then there could be a sharp change in how we see these stories resolve.

The potential risks and benefits both seem very clear and real.  I'm interested to see how this story unfolds and how much discretion universities have in managing the details.  This could be the beginning of a very big story that raises some difficult, fascinating questions.

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 2:13 PM ^

These cases are fraught with emotion.  They carry massive import to the victim and to the accused.  There are grave long-term consequences for the parties as well as the institution.  Yet at the same time, these cases are terribly complicated.  Often with lots of conflicting, critical testimony.

That is why these cases belong in criminal courts and not in student activity center conference rooms.

If a rape occurred, there should be jail time.  Not a mere expulsion.  But before there is any criminal sanction, there needs to be careful attention paid to the defendant's due process rights.

Taking cases like this out of criminal contexts seems to be a current federal policy, imposed on universities through the Department of Education's Civil Rights section and implemented with pressure through Title IX.  They seem to be deliberately making it easier to pronounce a kind of guilt on accused persons, without the weight but most cirtically without the protection, of criminal due process rights.

So no judge, no jail, but a person like this gets to decide whether you need to report yourself as a sexual predator to any prospective empolyer for the rest of your natural life:

Stacy Vander Velde, M.S.

Associate Director

Get In Touch

Stacy Vander Velde OSCR Associate Director


Stacy is a native of Indiana and has over 15 years of experience working in conduct and conflict resolution.  Prior to joining the OSCR team, Stacy worked for University Housing at the University of Michigan for several years.  She is passionate about infusing restorative justice concepts into her conflict resolution work.  Stacy studied and completed degrees at both Indiana University and Western Illinois University.  She enjoys traveling and engaging students in a learning process.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

"So no judge, no jail, but a person like this gets to decide whether you need to report yourself as a sexual predator to any prospective empolyer for the rest of your natural life:"

Bull. He has no obligation to make such a report, nor did the person you mention have any authority to impose such an obligation.


January 29th, 2014 at 3:57 PM ^

I'm not sure what value the picture has but I do know that if I stood accused of something I sure as heck wouldnt want somebody to singularly adjudicate my case that had this on their professional resume: "She is passionate about infusing restorative justice concepts into her conflict resolution work.

To me at least that reads "guilty until proven innocent"


January 29th, 2014 at 4:20 PM ^

If anything, it says the opposite to me. I'm no expert, but my understanding of restorative justice is that the parties try to resolve differences and heal damage in a way that emphasizes peace and restoring relationships rather than simply punishing a party. It was very successful, as I understand it, in South Africa by getting victims and those who had done harm to understand each other and move forward productively rather than simply trying to punish the wrongdoers.

I may be wong on all of this, so someone can correct me, but that's my understanding.

I'll also note that Section 1 including this bio page is completely outside the lines and this situation needs calm minds, not people stirring up shit for personal entertainment or some sort of Freudian need to resolve an old butt-hurt.


January 29th, 2014 at 4:31 PM ^

Perhaps just my 54 year old white male bias at work but when I hear the term "restorative justice" my eviseral response is negative. That being said after actually looking up the term and what it actually means and not what I thought it meant I find out I am wrong. and you are absolutely right. 

 Thanks for teaching this old dog at least one new trick today!

Section 1

January 29th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

Not an officer of any court.  No criminal procedure training.  No law school training.  No criminal justice experience.  No judicial experience.

If someone wishes to say, "But she isn't a hearing officer; she just signs off on findings from a hearing panel..."  Fine.  Do tell us who the judcial officer(s) were.  And who the hearing principals were, apart from the party(ies).  And under what rules they operated, and what their qualifications were as officers of a quasi-criminal tribunal.

Michigan Arrogance

January 29th, 2014 at 9:21 PM ^

Is the Department of Education Civil Rights Dvision's using Title IX to actively assert federal standards that diminish due process rights?


No, they are using Title IX to actively assert federal standards that will allow more women to feel safe enough to come forward with info about heretofore unreported sexual assaults. The result of which will be an increase in the number of convictions and lowering of future sexual assault rates. And it's not really a diminishment of due process, but rather a diminishment of the threshold for guilt in the eyes of a university community (not the state government).


January 29th, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

One small nit to pick on the last point in the timeline: Hoke's phrase was not "family reasons" but "a family matter." That phrase has a very specific meaning for me.*

It may seem like I'm quibbling here but the distinction was clear to me at the time. "Family reasons" would be something going on with his family. "A family matter" is something that is kept within the family, whatever it might be. If somebody presses me for information and I say "that's a family matter" it means you're not in the family so it's none of your business.

When this was the phrase used and no additional information was forthcoming I assumed there was probably something going on that would be embarrassing for the player. If it had been a death or illness in the family or something like that, something more would eventually have leaked out.

To be honest, I'm surprised to find out people heard Hoke's comments differently.


*This might be a microcultural thing. Not for the first time, I notice that Hoke is my age and grew up about fifty miles from me, and just a few miles from where my family was from.



January 29th, 2014 at 1:30 PM ^

I drew the correct conclusion (well, to the extent that it was possible for them to disclose anything whatsoever) immediately and I wasn't the only one. I wouldn't have done, if he'd used any of the alternatives that have been proposed on these various threads.

"No comment" is the only proposal that I would have found less misleading, and that would have opened a hornets nest.

might and main

January 29th, 2014 at 8:18 PM ^

I'm duly impressed that you were able to decipher "family matter" as Gibbons having done something really bad, or least having the preponderance of evidence that says so.  I'm not smart enough to draw that conclusion.  Instead, I find it misleading because, as plenty of other readers have commented too, if anything it generate sympathy for Gibbons. 

I don't like having my multimillionaire coach and his marketing master boy-wonder AD to come up with JUST the right word that covers their asses and throw the rest of us dogs off the scent.  They talk a good game about doing so much more with the student-athletes to teach them life lessons way beyond football ... yeah, right.  This isn't leadership, this is effing word-smithing and misleading.


January 29th, 2014 at 8:49 PM ^

I concluded it was probably something embarrassing, which isn't necessarily the same as that he'd done something bad...though this incident did come to mind as a possibility.

It's what "family matter" means--the aunt with a drinking problem, the infidelity rumors about Uncle Joe, the nephew that got kicked out of school. It could be an illness or death, too, if it's something you'd rather not talk about. It's a polite way of telling someone to shut up, you're not answering questions. I don't feel sympathy when I hear it, but I do typically respect the request.

STW P. Brabbs apparently drew the same conclusion--he said on the main board thread that he had suspected it was a drinking problem. I seem to recall some veiled, similar comments from others here when Hoke first made the statement. It's not the kind of thing you talk about on the board because it's speculating about a student-athlete, something that's strongly discouraged here. I just assumed other people saw it the same way and, like me, were keeping their mouths shut.


January 29th, 2014 at 9:49 PM ^

positive in pre-bowl screening like Bullough & Spence. My comment at the time reference the healing benefit of steroids under the premise he was injured for OSU.

Unstated, I thought the risk was our UM indignation at the drug issues for competitors would bounce right back when Gibbons positive test surfaced.

If only that we're the issue...


January 29th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

  1. Glad the young lady appears to be getting some measure of the justice she deserves. I think Gibbons may still be in the "innocent until proven guilty" phase, but it certainly looks like he'll finally be punished for his (alleged) actions
  2. This makes me feel a good bit better about the University's handling of the case. This fills in that awkward 2-3 years gap where nothing happens and it actually appears the university moved fairly quickly once the new policy was enacted. They reopened it and had it closed within 2 months.

Only strange thing is the Iowa game. It's possible the AD didn't know till then and found out after which is why he played at Iowa but not against OSU.

And on Hoke's comments towards Gibbons status - I have to believe there were legal connotations to what he did or did not say and they just tried to deflect until they were legally ok to say Gibbons was off the team.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

  1. Anyone looking for anything but a sanitized explanation from the university is delusional.
  2. Attorneys have been telling everyone exactly what to say and do. Anyone expecting Hoke to be fired for lying are ignoring that TOP Administrators and attorneys would be the ones deciding what steps to take.
  3. Gibbons probably did not put up a fight on the expulsion because anything said to defend himself would be admissable in court.
  4. Gibbons attorneys probably did everything in their power to delay this in hopes he would graduate before the process was completed.
  5. University attorneys would take all steps to protect the university from potential lawsuits from both the accused and the accuser. This is another reason why nothing but a very sanitized statement will be forthcoming any time soon. They probably were extremely cautious which also could result in delays.



January 29th, 2014 at 12:48 PM ^

Most people seem to be suggesting that Gibbons should have been suspended as soon as he was "accused", (by OSCR, not by the legal system), rather than once he was determined to be "guilty".  I'm not honestly sure when you would peg those two conditions since the OSCR process is different than a legal one.

In any case, though, the usual standard is to suspend a player not at accusation, but at determination of guilt. See the Jameis Winston situation, and of course the Duke Lacrosse situation for an example of why the hammer shouldn't be dropped at the initial accusation.

Based on that, I'm not uncomfortable that he played against Iowa or alledgedly would have against Ohio State.  It seems to me that at least unti sometime after December 4, he was an accussed criminal rather than a convicted one.


January 29th, 2014 at 1:54 PM ^

I think you're making a rather technical and legalistic distinction. Coaches are allowed wide berth when determining who plays for them. Seems to me that the wise coach doesn't play a kid who's likely facing serious rebuke by the university. Yes, the kid is innocent till proven guilty. But the stakes, in this case, were alarmingly high. Gibbons wasn't accused of stealing batteries; he was accused of sexual assault. Hoke should have sat the kid until the situation was resolved. 

Or look at it this way: Had a professor been accused of assaulting someone at the school, the school (presumably) would have suspended the professor, with pay, until the case was resolved. By sidelining Gibbons, Hoke would not have denied the kid his education. He simply would have kept him off the field. And the Gibbons had no "right" to kick field-goals.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:08 PM ^

You're still asking Hoke to make an informed decision regarding the likely truth or falsity of the accusations, and I don't think that's realistic or fair. It's especially unfair in this case, when it's likely that any information Hoke had in the matter was "This was looked into in 2009 and dropped". I don't think we want Hoke playing the role of DA.

Yes, some accusations are more severe than others, but suspension as soon as there's an accusation still seems to be jumping to conclusions and possible punishing someone without cause.


January 29th, 2014 at 2:08 PM ^

So, in your opinion, Jameis Winston should not have played for Florida State for the monthish that that investigation was in the news?  Relevent section from wikipedia:



On November 14, 2013, the Florida State Attorney’s Office announced they were opening an investigation into a sexual assault complaint involving Winston that was originally filed with the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) on December 7, 2012.[14] The complaint was originally investigated by the police and classified as open/inactive in February 2013 with no charges being filed.[15][16] Tallahassee police stated that the complaint was made inactive "when the victim in the case broke off contact with TPD, and her attorney indicated she did not want to move forward at that time" and then re-examined after media requests for information started coming in early November.[17] On December 5, 2013, state attorney Willie Meggs announced the completion of the investigation and that no charges would be filed against anyone in this case.[18] Allegations of improper police conduct have been made by both parties, with the victim claiming to have been pressured into dropping her claim and Winston's attorney alleging inappropriate leaks to the media.[19]



January 29th, 2014 at 12:48 PM ^

I have the feeling that the lawyers are going to get involved in many aspects of this.

I understand that the problem of sexual assault is a serious issue on all campuses, and that universities are now bound by law to assertively deal with the problem.

However, since our legal system is based on the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven, I'm curious how the lower standards of proof that UM and other institutions are now working with can be squared with our legal traditions, especially since expulsion can have such far-reaching ramifications on an individual. Gibbons has not been found guilty of a crime in any court of law, but his future employment prospects and educational opportunities are now seriously compromised. No, it's not worse than what the alleged victim is going through.