Brendan Gibbons Expelled, Untruths Rampant

Submitted by Brian on January 28th, 2014 at 6:21 PM


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.



January 29th, 2014 at 9:33 AM ^ that the policy implemented in 2013 in response to the 2011 regulation has the effect of dramatically changing the dynamic of who at the university determines if a student-athlete accuesed of sexual misconduct stays at U-M. Now it's the OSCR and much less so the athletic department. In my considered opinion, this is a very good thing. 


January 29th, 2014 at 9:50 AM ^

everyone here bashing Hoke just sound rediculous. He said "family matters"in regards to a legal situation that is very touchy. This situation does involve Gibbons' family, whether it fits your "Hoke isnt who we thought he was" mantra or not. You are acting as if he lied under oath or something. He was talking to the same free press who ate Rrod alive!!

He was covering for Gibbons because nothing has been proven definitive, so the media does not need to make a huge story out of it going into the bowl game or Ohio. This is not the Sandusky cover up you guys are hoping for. It is well documented that many of you of you on this site hate Hoke and Brandon, and it is no suprise you are calling for their heads yet again, when he most likely said the right thing considering the timing of the situation, and who he was saying it to. Coaches and AD's owe the media nothing. He is not the Preseident for god's sake. 


January 29th, 2014 at 10:07 AM ^


Sure, its not ideal what Hoke said... but I highly highly doubt he legally had any other choice here.  Lets not forget that he sent that jackass Hagerup home for the entire season because it was in hagerup's best interest and at the total detriment of the team.  Hoke knows right from wrong and this entire thread is indirectly implying otherwise....     

And does anyone honestly think that Brandon would cover this up?  NO WAY... he'd go exactly by the legal rules, every stone turned, to a fault... especially ever since the practice gate...

Give them the benefit of the doubt....

And the Michigan higher standard is WHY he was canned....other places he'd have played, stating no criminal proof...   give it a break people..


January 29th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

this is, there came a time when Gibbons was no longer allowed to play and was ultimately expelled.  All fall, I winced whenever I saw either Gibbons or Lewan on the field.  What Gibbons did was in all likelihood horrible.  What Lewan did to intimidate was most certainly horrible.

It was not necessary for the police to be actively investigating Gibbons for what Lewan did to be punishable as obstruction of justice.  That is a misstatement of the law, plain and simple.  And, it is the worst, most heinous form of bullying.  We are talking about extremely athletic, extremely large men attempting to subjugate a woman who probably weighs less than half what they weigh and who can probably lift far less than half of what they can lift even if she were in fantastic physical shape.  On all accounts it is disgusting.

But, at Michigan, once the process commenced, Gibbons stopped playing (I still wonder why Lewan did not suffer the same fate).  That is not exactly what happened, if my memory serves me correctly, at FSU, the home of the national champion Seminoles and their Heisman trophy winning QB who was not criminally prosecuted and allowed to play.  Is there currently an OSCR investigation at FSU?

Whoever said Brady Hoke is not a master of the spoken word is, at least to an extent, correct.  The first word in FERPA is "Family", and, giving him the benefit of the doubt (which based on his conduct to date I am inclined to do), that may have been enough to get him to use the term family matter.  Any of the other reasons provided above are also at least possible.


January 29th, 2014 at 10:06 AM ^

The issue is what took the university so long to render this decision?  The normal time to address these type of situations is within a semester.  This has been dragging on for years.  Was Gibbons protected from punishment by the current and past coaching staff?  Was the football teams desire to have a field goal kicker more important than that of the policies of the University.  When and what did the current staff know of Gibbons situation?  When did the current coaching staff know that the expulsion was coming?  These to me are the questions that need to be answered. I hope I am wrong, but this really smells of cover up, and if it is, someone needs to pay for it.


January 29th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

How about this scenario:  

(1) 2009:  the woman files a complaint with the police immediately after the incident, and police investigate. DA decides that there isn't evidence enough to pursue criminal charges.  Woman thinks that this is the end of the story, and won't get justice.

(2) Time passes. University changes its policies to require investigations of alleged sexual misconduct, and also lowers standards of proof for (at least some) violations of student code of conduct.

(3) Woman discovers that University policies have changed, and that she can get justice if there is a presponderance of evidence, rather than clear and convincing evidence, so she goes to the OSCR in, say, the fall of 2013.  University investigates as it is now obliged to do but wasn't in 2009, and the OSCR decides that the preponderance of evidence support the accusation that Gibbons violated student conduct rules.  OSCR determines that the violation is worthy of expulsion, and, after review, so notify Gibbons.  

As to when the athletic department staff became aware of the investigation/hearing/expulsion, we really don't have any evidence.  It is entirely possible, and maybe even probable based on what we know of privacy policies, that it was up to Gibbons to tell the coaches, and the coaches to tell the AD.  Given that gibbons had completed his studies at U of M and was within a few week of completing his football eligibility, he may have just gone home and told the coaches he had "family issues."

L'Carpetron Do…

January 29th, 2014 at 11:42 AM ^

Hmmm, thats plausible but very much best case scenario.  Despite privacy policies, the U most likely would've informed Hoke and Brandon of a relatively high profile player's expulsion from school.  

I'm pretty disappointed in the way they handled this.  With so many other schools and teams absolutely fucking up dealing with rape cases, they took the chicken way out and didn't own up to it.  They were not the leaders and best.


January 29th, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

The problem I have is believing that Hoke knew nothing of this.  The coaches most likely made the decision not to play him versus Ohio State.  The problem is, once they knew this was coming down, they should have dismissed him from the team for violating team rules.  Any violation of University rules should automatically be a violation of team rules.  Thus Hoke had an out.  He for whatever reason chose not to use it.


January 29th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

How did Hoke find out about the expulsion?  The OSCR may not have been able to tell him, as he isn't privy to all academic records (especially for ex-students).  Hoke would certainly have found out when Gibbons didn't register for classes in the winter semester, unless Gibbons had already told him he wouldn't be registering for the winter semester because of "family issues."  Why would Hoke press the issue with Gibbons, or investigate further?  Gibbons would have been done with Michigan.

Again, calling Hoke a liar because one has a hard time believing that he wasn't a liar is a damned poor standard of evidence.


January 29th, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

Fb in 2009-10 was awful!

So? Why on earth would an awful football team "protect" a mediocre fg kicker?

You could easily put blame & rightfully so, on a team protecting or hiding evidence on a star player on a nat contender team in a situation like this. Then I would point fingers at the team surely. But, this situation is not even close to that. It's gotta be non-fb related as to why it dragged on for years. Fb was taking tryouts from anyone w a leg at the time this happened. This, for when it happened and how it dragged on has nothing to do with Hoke. Looks like there were legal issues & things that could not be said to the press. Plus, gibbons was never convicted? Now there is finally enough evidence for him to be officially charged so, the university separated from him


January 29th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

The simplest explanation (making the fewest assumptions) is usually the best.

Here's the simplest I can come up with

1) Sexual assault has in most Universities not been handled with the seriousness it deserves, regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator was an athlete. The original accusation falls I'm this category

2) iUn 2011 policies were changed to try to remediate this. The change in policy in all likelihood was not applied retrospectively so nothing happened immediately.

3) Other evidence came to light, or old evidence which was now necessarily viewed differently because of. 2). This would affect any student for whom such evidence hit the fan.

4) Because it is not legal for the university or its employees to disclose anything (!) about a disciplinary matter while it is under investigation, Hoke hmmd and hawed, and made up a booboo. It's not clear to me that he would be allowed to say "internal team matters" (which would also be a fib) or even "University disciplinary procedure " given FeRPA. Note this would be true of any employee discussing any student undergoing any type of disciplinary hearing. If one of my students is accused if cheating, an somebody asks him about it, I pretty much have to create a fictional booboo too.

5) Exit Gibbons

This scenario requires no assumptions about football playing status, coverup originally, or coverup by the current regime. Until direct evidence comes to light that such assumptions are warranted, the simplest explanation (we used to suck at being fair to assault victims but now we suck a little less) is the best one.


January 29th, 2014 at 11:21 AM ^

I think what most of us want is for the AD/University to explain what happened and why a resolution took so long.  I'd suggest writing a (calm) note to the AD asking for them to please respond to the Daily story in as much detail as the law allows.

L'Carpetron Do…

January 29th, 2014 at 11:25 AM ^

This is the sort of administrative/PR nightmare I was hoping Michigan would avoid.  I like to think Michigan is better than this but they fucked it up.  I just dont want Michigan to be lumped in with Penn State, ND, Missouri and FSU as being a school where football comes first and justice comes second. 

 First, I'm supremely embrassed it took this long to do something about it.  Especially because it looks like they decided to do something after the leaked police report left them with egg on their face.   but I'm glad the university took some action.  Better late than never I guess? 

The way Brandon and Hoke handled this was horrible.  As numerous posters have pointed out all they had to do was tag it with "violation of team rules" and let the answers come out later. 

On a side note, I'm curious to know what Max Bullough did to get kicked off State's football team.  THey still haven't said whats behind his expulsion from the team.   

It seems to me that since the university took action against Gibbons based on his actions in the police report it seems like they have to take action against Lewan as well.  


January 29th, 2014 at 11:37 AM ^

I'm very conflicted on this whole topic.

I do believe in due process, and in being able to defend yourself. I feel that certainly with Duke Lacrosse, and maybe here, there wasn't the opportunity to do that.

However, I have seen the other side, personally. My daughter, age 20, enlisted in the Navy at age 19. Three months into her service, soon after boot camp, while on watch in the middle of the night, she was stalked repeatedly while alone. Fortunately, another male sailor came upon her while the creep wouldn't leave my daughter, and filed harassment charges on my daughter's behalf. The male Sailor in question pulled a knife a week later, and is now either incarcerated in the Navy, or out of the service. I share this because we got to see first hand how the military covers up, and how the system can favor the accused.

There is an excellent documentary on rape in the military entitled Thisis a huge problem in the military, and also on college campuses. (I did attend a presentation by a Harvard Prof last week, who shared the rate of 1 out of 5 women on campus experiencing rape. Seems high to me, but wow. Even half or quarter that is way too many.)

I know that most of the users on this site are men, but we all need to take seriously what happens with rape, regardless of the facts of the Gibbons case.


January 29th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

I deliberately used the word "maybe" to say "I don't know." There were several links to articles about the lack of due process and defense in some educational settings. Having read one of those articles, I can see the reason for concern. What I don't know (hence, "maybe,") is to what degree Gibbons was able to defend himself. A long time ago, I read the posts here at mgoblog, and also went to the links with some of the detailed charges. Unfortunately, I need to clean my laptop of some malware that is slowing things up with popups, and making it a royal pain to read through close to 600 posts in this thread. I just don't have the time, so I don't feel qualified to say whether or not Gibbons had sufficient due process.

So here's more backstory for me. I absolutely detest the argument made by privileged white male rapists that "she was asking for it" (by the way she dressed, flirted, was complicit, etc., etc., etc.) Having said that, I certainly remember from Fraternity Days the behavior of drunk coeds who were indeed "asking for it." I remember walking one girl home to South Quad because I was concerned she was too drunk to trust in the ice and snow. When at her door, she invited me in to have sex . . . even though her roommate AND ROOMMATE'S MOTHER were sleeping in the room. I really wonder what some girls are thinking, when I think of their behavior at parties. I still hold the male responsible, but it seems in many of these cases, the water is extremely muddied, and there is plenty of blame to go around.


January 29th, 2014 at 11:44 AM ^

All the information is in!! BG is 100 % guilty. Hoke should be fired because he doesn't have Jim Tressel's integrity. Dave Brandon should be fired since he covered up everything and should have violated federal laws disclosing private information. John Beilein should take over the athletic department and coach the football team (with head sets of course). Carry on!


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 11:54 AM ^

1) In general, this Jezebel article is right on.*   Without getting into this specific case, in a world where 18-22 year old men drink a lot of alcohol and then interact with women, they really need to know when to back off

2) On the specifics, this 11W comment is right on**

* Except for the bit Jezebel has about Lewan, which is mistaken.

** On the bit the 11W guy has about Lewan, I have to admit that I'm reevaluating.

In general, I feel like a total homer that I knew the details of similar accusations at ND and FSU, but all I knew about this one is "charges were never pressed, so I guess we'll never know."   

I'm still not sure what the football team's role on this should be, but I hope the school is taking as effective action as it can to educate its kids.   Whoever's story you believe, it's a tragic story that should have been avoided. 


January 29th, 2014 at 12:11 PM ^

was told of the Gibbons rape allegations when he took the job. Further, I have no doubt that once the allegation were reprised both Brandon and Hoke were told either by Gibbons or the University.

In retrospect, Hoke advise to Gibbons( think of your favorite brunette so something to that affect) before kicking the winning FG against VT was in poor taste. 


January 29th, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^


Remember, BG was hardly seen as a team asset when Hoke came in, and Hoke landed Wile.  So, if Hoke knew about this (as we know about it now), it would have been easy to kick BG off the team then and give the kicking job to Wile.  Hoke was willing to discipline Fitz and Clark for less egregious offenses in 2012, so it seems unlikely he would fail to do so in his first weeks on the job.  I think the team is definitely looking bad for the way this has been handled, and Brandon needs to earn his salary doing damage control that does not hide behind "we can't comment" kinds of things.  He has to explain, to the public, how this was allowed to linger for four years.  And Lewan needs to do some explaining as well.


January 29th, 2014 at 1:51 PM ^

What you "have no doubt" about doesn't constitute evidence, and as the rest of your argument rests merely on your unwarranted assumptions, your conclusions about Hoke's poor taste sounds absurd.  

Funny how people (not just you) want to argue so pasionately for justice but don't want to provide it themselves.  Before we conclude that Hoke lied, or made comments in bad taste, or whatever, let's get some facts.  Not ones based on peoples' lack of imagination, but based on solid evidence.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 29th, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

At the end of the day a player found to have committed sexual misconduct, and a prominent player who the police documented threatened and intimidated potential witnesses to a very serious crime were allowed to play for Michigan for 4 years.  FOUR YEARS!  One of the players was named a captain.

Three of those years were on Brandon's and Hoke's watch.

That in itself, to me, is a fireable offense.  Neither of these men is indispensible and a big part of leadership is accepting the consequences for bad things happening on your watch, particularly when it appears you did literally nothing about them and uttered a bunch of half-truths or non-truths about them.

The standard at Michigan for facially plausible, obviously not invented from whole cloth rape allegations and witness tampering allegations in rape cases cannot be "The players get to play unless and until a criminal jury finds them guilty of the charge."  That's the standard at places like Florida State and Ohio State.  It is not the standard at Michigan.   Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke making it the standard warrants their dismissal.

The only exception I would add would be if they literally did not know of the allegations.  I find it impossible to believe that they didn't -- and nothing about any of their actions indicates that they took prompt and thorough action when they did find out about them. 


Ed Shuttlesworth

January 29th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

We should add to the record what some have already noted, which is that the conduct that warranted expulsion must have been rather unique in the annals of the school disciplinary process given that, in 2011-12, there were exactly zero expulsions issuing from that process.

So the underlying conduct must have been quite serious and the proper summary is that a player ultimately found guilty of among the most -- if not the most -- serious conduct ever brought before the school disciplinary process was allowed to play for Michigan for four years, as was a player reported by the police to have threatened witnesses to a potential rape charge.  Three of those years were on Brandon's and Hoke's watch.

No lipstick's going to pretty up that pig.


January 29th, 2014 at 4:28 PM ^

For anyone trying to understand this situation, it would be prudent to review the university Student Sexual Misconduct Policy:


This incident involved an incident involving two students, which was investigated at a high level, which probably was referred to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity. There the decision was made regarding Mr. Gibbon's student status.  Being a student at a university is a privilege, and if one abuses that privelege, the university has a right to end its relationship with the student.  Whether the incident leads to criminal prosecution is another matter. Since it was an internal investigation, Coach Hoke and his staff protected the privacy of the student and the institution in their remarks.  Since the student had not been convicted, he is still considered innocent of the alleged crime.

Being a student athlete means following the university regulations, maintaining a good academic standing, and performing well for the athletic team.  While those obligations can difficulty, they are necessary to maintain one's privileged position on campus.  

As interested fans, alumni and friends, we should respect the position of the university in the matter.  Don't put the cart before the horse in terms of the university football team with regards to the university administration.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 29th, 2014 at 6:26 PM ^

And in this case, the victim probably didn't pursue her case because she'd been threatened by [REDACTED, apparently Taylor Lewan].   I mean, there's not only a police report noting the threat, there's a police report of a follow-up visit to the threatener not to make any more threats.

She got threatened with violence if she came forward, and she didn't come forward.

Which is just an awful thing to contemplate if you're a Michigan alum.  Shameful.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:53 AM ^

You can rage and rage and rage about something, expressing how you have been wronged beyond measure. It's easy to express your shock and outrage, but as the Slovin/Rubstein podcast suggests (especially 4:30 to 6:00), it might not hurt to delay judging Hoke (and some others) as a flaming lying liar who cannot be trusted to tell you what he ate for lunch, let alone a serious disciplinary matter that requires a great deal of confidentiality and privacy.…

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 30th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

There must be some communication, or else there's a risk of the football team playing ineligible players. 

So let's say there's a total firewall between the university discipline process and the football team.   Gibbons gets expelled from school and no one knows other than him and the committee.  He then plays in the Wild Wings Bowl. 

Michigan's then played an ineligible player and will forfeit the game and get sanctioned by the NCAA.

Obviously, that's not a plausible scenario.  There must be some level of communication between the university and the management of the football team regarding the status of the players within the university disciplinary process.


January 30th, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

For those calling for Hoke to be fired because of his handling of the matter at the press conferences - do you really think that these were just off the cuff comments?

Assuming he had been told of the matter, I think it is highly likely that there was plenty of discussion about exactly what to tell the media. He's not going to be disciplined if he was reporting what he was told to.


January 30th, 2014 at 8:07 PM ^

Due Process does not solely apply to criminal proceedings as Go Blue in MN suggests, it just means something different than the full extent of rights available in criminal proceedings;  it's existence and scope is determined by the nature of the property or liberty right implicated by the State action -- which isn't present in the case of private universities, but is where public universities are concerned.  The  guidelines created by Russlyn Ali (mentioned in No. 4) as Asst Secretary for Civil Rights at the Dept of Education via her infamous "Dear Colleague Letter" was roundly criticized by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) wrote a letter to the Department of Education, citing the policy’s systematic disregard of due process and calling for its repeal:

Twelve other groups, including the American Association of University Professors, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the National Association of Scholars have come out in opposition to the Sexual Assault Directive, also known as the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter:  And after the release of a scholarly article by Matthew Triplett roundly criticizing the policies in the letter published in the Duke Law Review Article, Ali resigned in late 2012.…