Brendan Gibbons Expelled, Untruths Rampant Comment Count

Brian 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.


Urban Warfare

January 28th, 2014 at 10:22 PM ^

Oh, I agree with you on that.  I'm just saying that the Ohio Supreme Court (and I suspect most other courts) read FERPA as protecting a fairly wide range of documents beyond what most people would consider "educational records."  Of course, the Ohio Supreme Court gets a lot of things wrong.

Bando Calrissian

January 28th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

And what about the allegations surrounding Taylor Lewan's rather embarrassing involvement in this story? If true, is 1000SSS really so tone deaf as to open themselves to that potential secondary train wreck of bad PR?


January 28th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

This piece of shit (can we call him that now?) played on this team for his whole damn career. Pathetic, Pathetic, Pathetic. I can only imagine what the victim feels like. 

Can't believe some people will still try to defend the fact that it took FOUR years for him to get kicked out. To think, we celebrated his scummy self for winning us the State game, winning us a sugar bowl and the northwestern game this year. 

We better not hear one freaking 'brunettes' joke on this website EVER again.


January 28th, 2014 at 8:03 PM ^

OK I'll be the person to say it. I don't want to sound like a rapist apologist or something but nothing has been proven yet, there is no hard evidence to prove, just the word of one person as far as I know. From what I've read in the police report so far this could unfortunately be true, but just as unfortunate because it may ruin his life, not be true. So let's hold off on the judgement.


January 28th, 2014 at 6:44 PM ^

I just love how everyone says he's guilty despite never having a day in court. We love to tout "innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" until the university uses the standard of proof required for civil cases to find him guilty. Not only this, but the only evidence we have comes from the accuser. I am not saying he did or did not do it, but there seem to be a few due process issues with a public institution conducting proceedings for criminal acts in this way.

turd ferguson

January 28th, 2014 at 6:56 PM ^

This is where my head is right now, too.  There's way too much that's unknown at this point for me to weigh in with any certainty.  If this is as bad as it could be, then I'll be calling for a bunch of heads.  This is fact-finding time.  Hopefully our journalists will handle that well and the University will cooperate to the extent that it can.


January 28th, 2014 at 6:58 PM ^

You clearly have gotten to the real heart of the issue here.  Rather than referring to him as "guilty" or a "rapist," we should call him "probably guilty" or "probably a rapist," in the same way O.J. was "probably a murderer."  Now we can turn to the less important issues, like why it took so long to decide he was probably guilty and probably a rapist, and why the football program was publicly chalking this up to an injury and family issues just last month.

Leaders And Best

January 28th, 2014 at 7:31 PM ^

Jameis Winston was investigated and accused of rape and will probably have charges brought against him in civil court. But he is still a student at FSU. Same could be said of Keith Appling and Adreian Payne who were investigated for sexual assault. Not sure if a civil court case changes anything.

Gibbons has yet to be charged with anything. I just want to know why the university took so long to complete or open their investigation. And why Hoke did not use the generic violation of team rules? Did Gibbons lead Hoke to believe that the case was nothing? Did Hoke know Gibbons was definitely going to be expelled?


January 28th, 2014 at 6:47 PM ^

Wow, I feel ashamed all around about this. Whether guilty or innocent, any official authority or authority figure dodging the truth about a situation such as this in any way is unacceptable.


January 28th, 2014 at 6:45 PM ^

While there is much that we don't know, and, as pointed out, the standard for "guilt" in this matter is not "beyond a reasonable doubt," if the allegations are true, it's a sad day. It follows many sad days for the survivor. I hope that she is recovering and moving on with her life, and I hope that Gibbons receives whatever help he needs to realize the weight of his actions and to not repeat them.

As far as the blame to be placed on the program, there is much we don't know. When was the complaint filed? When did the athletic department know about it? What did they know? Was Gibbons actually injured, or was that a lie? It is premature to say that the program or U lied, though there is certainly some explaining to be done.

Bottom line is that sexual assault is far too common, and there is no excuse for turning a blind eye or slowing the wheels of justice. I would like to think that the University and football program acted appropriately. Based on what is here, it's impossible to say that, and there is a lot to be explained by the institution.


January 28th, 2014 at 6:47 PM ^

I'm sorry but I just caught wind of this story. I have just one question: Did the athletic department knowingly allow Gibbons to participate in football for 4 years while an investigation of rape lingered?

Mr Miggle

January 28th, 2014 at 6:47 PM ^

how the process works at Michigan. How much would Hoke have been told? I think we're making a lot of assumptions here. One of the last things we would want to happen is a repeat of Ellerbe's involvement in the accusation against one of his players.


January 28th, 2014 at 6:52 PM ^

"policies from 2011 do not result in December, 2013 expulsions."

Um, why not Brian? The interim policy was created in the fall of 2011.  Even if they immediately took the new procedures and applied them to the Gibbons case, which would seem extremely unlikely, we're talking about a 2 year-process maximum.  Given the detailed procedural steps involved here, that does not seem beyond the realm of possibility.  Besides, it's much more likely that this the review was not initiated the day the interim policy was put into place. 

Maybe before jumping to conclusions and claiming the proximate cause is clear when in fact it's not at all, we should actually figure out when the investigation began?


January 28th, 2014 at 6:59 PM ^

Well, besides the direct quote from the office involved saying that it never takes more than a semester to resolve this, there remains a pressing issue:

There is no guideline that requires players to play football games while the process is underway. Coaches are free to suspend and/or remove players based on evidence that is not sufficient for a court conviction. Hoke could have kicked Gibbons off the team before he ever coached a game if he had been so inclined.

Why he was not inclined is a big question. A very big question.


January 28th, 2014 at 7:08 PM ^

1. There is no direct quote from any office in this story.  There is a quote from a user who can't remember one taking longer than a semester.  How long did this person work there?  Were the kinds of cases this person saw as serious or dated as this one?  And he/she is speficially reference the complaint-driven process when it's quite clear that this was not a complaint-driven investigation.

2.  So you wanted Hoke to kick Gibbons off the team because a claim of sexual assault in from 2009 was undergoing a renewed investigation?  That's fine, but it's certinaly not an unassailable position.


January 28th, 2014 at 7:12 PM ^

1. A fair clarification. I didn't really have the patience to figure out what the quotee was, exactly, but he's not with the office at the moment. Still, we don't know how the process started.

2. I didn't say that Hoke should have kicked him off. I said that it was a very important question why he did not (and I can think of a couple of scenarios where he handled it well). I have been very careful not to speak in absolutes about Gibbons' actual criminal guilt, and in saying exactly what should have happened. 

What I have said is that the way this has played out is very bad. I am sure this could have been done better. We do not yet have enough information to determine how.

turd ferguson

January 28th, 2014 at 7:25 PM ^

I think your certainty is just as misguided as the certainty of the people on the other side.  We don't know what happened.  Hopefully we will... and soon... but we just don't right now.  The range of what could have happened is very, very wide, and it includes some possibilities that will make me write letters to Mark Schlissel about firing everyone and other possibilities that will lead me to feel very badly for the people being called villains right now.

We're stuck in the uncomfortable wait-and-see-before-making-judgments period, but the responsible move right now is to hold off judgment and insist on a thorough investigation of what happened.

Urban Warfare

January 28th, 2014 at 9:10 PM ^


Here's the quote from their webpage:

Upon receipt of a report, the University strives to complete its review of that report within sixty (60) calendar days, its sanction or intervention process within fifteen (15) calendar days after the University’s findings are shared with the participating Complainant and Respondent, and its appellate process within fifteen (15) days of the Appeals Board’s receipt of the appeal. There are, however, many factors that may affect the length of time needed to complete various portions of the resolution process fairly and equitably. As such, some matters will be resolved before the designated time frames and some may be resolved afterward.


January 28th, 2014 at 7:09 PM ^

Kicking a guy off of the team is no small thing.  He's losing his education. 

As I posted above, a coach doesn't a good way of determining what happened in a situation like this.  The much, much bigger issue here is the school's process for making a decision.  Coach Hoke is more-or-less stuck with what they find and what justice system does, and the latter didn't do anything after taking the initial reports. 


January 28th, 2014 at 8:04 PM ^

I was disappointed I didn't see any posts on this during the lead up to the season.

This appeared on a nationally known website more than a week before the season. While I realize that the number of readers of both MGoBlog and Jezebel probably isn't that high, I was tremendously surprised that I didn't see any thread at all on the boards, nor a mention in an Unverified Voracity. While I suppose a case can be made for letting the process run its course, the police report seems fairly damning, both in the attitude Lewan expressed and the prompt actions of the victim to report it and to undergo treatment. The Winston case is instructive. Something happened that night, and something bad, the DA just may not have been comfortable that he could win. Maybe the victim here felt the same way, or maybe she thought Gibbons seemed genuinely remorseful after taking things beyond what anyone might call reasonable limits. 


January 29th, 2014 at 2:06 AM ^

should have definitely kicked him off the team. I could see a new coach in 2011 not knowing the details as clearly until recently and may have been the reason he did not play during the OSU game, even tough Hoke could not give the true reason. Though during the pre bowl period, Hoke should not have lied about a hidden injury. He should have said he violated team rules and will not be playing in the bowl game. Should Hoke be forced to resign for lying? Did Dave Brandon tell him to make up a false injury report, very possible? What should be the punishment? Termination of both or an apology by both. I think the apology will do.