Daily: AD Aware of Gibbons Decision 12/19

Submitted by Bando Calrissian on January 30th, 2014 at 9:22 PM

According to a Michigan Daily report, including information confirmed by Dave Ablauf via a phone interview, Brendan Gibbons met with Athletic Department officials and faxed a letter waiving his rights to appeal his expulsion from a Schembechler Hall fax machine on December 19th. Four days later, Brady Hoke announced Gibbons would miss the bowl game for a "family matter."


"At the latest, the Athletic Department was made aware of the permanent separation on Dec. 19, 2013, and it is unclear whether the football program or Michigan coach Brady Hoke were aware of the Office of Institutional Equity’s earlier finding that Gibbons was responsible for sexual misconduct. The Office of Student Conflict Resolution notified Gibbons on Dec. 19 that he would be permanently separated from the University.

“December 19 is whenever the letter was sent and the kid came to talk with the Athletic Department,” said Athletic Department spokesman Dave Ablauf in a phone interview with the Daily on Wednesday.

He later added: “That could have been the time that Brendan Gibbons talked to coach Hoke.”

Gibbons’ separation stems from an incident on Nov. 22, 2009, according to documents. This corresponds with previous media reports that Ann Arbor Police carried out an investigation of a Michigan football player related to an incident on that date.

The document was sent at 4:02 p.m. on Dec.19 from a fax number associated with the football program. Gibbons signed the document, waiving his right to appeal the sanction. It’s not clear from the markings on the document who received the fax transmission.

The letter was faxed from the offices of the football program four days before Hoke told reporters at a Dec. 23 press conference that Gibbons would not travel to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. due to a “family matter.” It’s not clear whether Hoke was involved in the Dec. 19 meeting described by Ablauf."



January 30th, 2014 at 9:35 PM ^


I'm assuming this is your goal, but unfortunately your link does not support this. If your only point is to say that Hoke should have said sometimng different than than "family issue" than who cares. Any of his statements was likely directed by UM's lawyers, which is how it needs to be.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:39 PM ^

I don't know about that.  I can't imagine that a University lawyer would direct somebody to lie, when a complete evasion of the issue would have been a better option ("Brendan Gibbons will not be able to participate in the bowl game").

Not to say that I disagree with anything else you say, but I don't think the "family matter" line came from a lawyer.  At least not from a good one.


January 31st, 2014 at 7:40 AM ^



From the registrars office -



"Directory information may appear in public documents and may otherwise be released to individuals outside the University without the student's specific consent. The University of Michigan has designated the following items as directory information: name, address and telephone number, UM school or college, class level, major field,dates of attendance at the University of Michigan, current enrollment status, degree(s) received and date(s) awarded, honors and awards received, participation in recognized activities, previous school(s) attended, height and weight of members of intercollegiate athletic teams."


January 31st, 2014 at 9:01 AM ^

Look, why risk a lawsuit? If Hoke said he was expelled from the university, everybody would know and Gibbons would have a better chance at a lawsuit.

Large (Fortune 250+) companies (and presumably Universities) are scared to death of lawsuits. HR departments do not even tell other companies (even if you consent) if you were fired. It's just how it is.

It's scary how concerned people are over a word or 2 that Hoke said, especially because it's likely directed by UM lawyers.


January 31st, 2014 at 7:02 AM ^

Are missing the forest for the trees. This is a dumpster fire that will lead to a shakeup. They need to get through this day and into the Superbowl news cycle. If this hits the national consciousness today things may get messy. Yes, we are there now. Mistakes were made and prices will be paid. That much is clear.

Mabel Pines

January 31st, 2014 at 8:25 AM ^

Things won't get messy and no prices will be paid.  The guy didn't play once they found out.  No one but Michigan fans care about how Hoke worded it.  (Which actually I think is good that there is so much discussion on the issue) 

As a comparison, I recall the Max guy from State was suspended for a "violation of team rules".  Are you all fine with that wording?  Regardless of what he did??  Sounds like some people are freaking out over "family issue".  Seems strange to me.  I Hope they got it right and hope they have more discussion/awareness classes on sexual assault.


January 30th, 2014 at 10:20 PM ^

Well, he wasn't expelled for rape, so saying that would have been wrong as well.  This is a bad situation because a young woman seemingly suffered some form of unwanted sexual assault.  But this attempt to make it into a school-wide conspiracy is assinine.

I'm surprised more people haven't slipped in the shit coming from peoples' high horses around these parts recently.



January 31st, 2014 at 12:55 AM ^

Your comment about expulsion "for rape" is irresponsible and revealing. He was expelled for violating a University policy that prohibits sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation. We don't know what part of the policy was implicated. And because you are convinced that Gibbons is a "rapist" (without any legal finding that that is the case) you apparently believe that all those with knowledge of his expulsion obviously have knowledge he is a "rapist" and should have publicly stated such. Which, of course, would have been per se defamatory unless demonstrably true. But knowledge of an accusation, an internal finding of a policy violation, an expulsion, and the nature of the policy violation are all different things that do not necessarily overlap. Hoke's choice of vague wording is not only defensible but required under the circumstances. I'm quite certain you would not be any happier had Hoke said "for personal reasons" or any other vague and perfectly defensible words.


January 31st, 2014 at 7:34 AM ^

A legal finding and without, in my opinion, a police report that indicates rape by a preponderance of the evidence. At this point I am interested to know why, specifically, they believed expulsion was warranted. I still think events transpired in 2013 that either added or altered the narrative of the event in question.


January 31st, 2014 at 6:22 AM ^

the agreement not to appeal the expulsion. What would you expect Hoke or Brandon to do? Go against the attorneys advise? Resign? It was only a lie in the way you interpreted it. I thought right away there was more to the story and it was lawyer speak. I didn't necessarily expect this necessary because I thought it was over,

If they had said anything about violation of university policy, you and everyone else knows the next question would be to ask if it related to the rape accusation. The family matter thing shuts down the questions because it sounds personal. That's why the lawyers advised them to use it.

Sorry if your feelings were hurt.

Section 1

January 31st, 2014 at 7:14 AM ^

This latest episode is just the most recent in a line of instances wherein Brady Hoke seems to have crossed a line between non-committal responses to the press, and active misinformation.

I observed this growing problem on the topic of player injuries more than a year ago.  

Here, on October 29, 2012:


And here, on November 5, 2012:



Hoke is trying to win games, and he doesn't exactly owe anything to the media.


But Hoke -- anybody -- is going to be facing a very angry media, if he actively misleads them.  The choices on injuries are these: 1) tell the truth, 2) decline to comment on injuries and current player status so as not to help opponents prepare, or 3) actively mislead everyone in pressers and other interviews, so as to "fool" opponents, through the press.


The press knows how to deal with 1) and 2).  Actually, they know how to deal with 3) as well.  In the case of 3), one real option is to counter-attack the subject who is supplying misinformation, make him look bad and expose him as untruthful. 

But as we have found out, that might be just one motivation for the press.  Press motivation can be a very complicated and very tricky thing.

And here (this thread got to be pretty good).  November 4, 2012:



I didn't say, "shame on Brady Hoke."  All that I asserted was that whatever his reason(s) -- and there could be some strategic/team morale reasons for misleading in the press -- what we now know, from more than one occasion, is that what Brady Hoke says about injuries and players' status is meaningless.  Who knows if it will be true or not?


I'd rather hear Magnus tell me about an unsubstantiated rumor, than read what Brady Hoke says in an interview.  Because Magnus' rumors are far more likely to be informative than Hoke's press conferences.  I'm not poking fun at Magnus.  I'm being quite serious.

I wouldn't make a big deal about it, but for the point that Hoke is thought to be such a great and effective personality in dealing with the press and being the public face of the team.  Meanwhile, Hoke's predecessor, whom I don't ever recall making a deliberately misleading public statement, was thought to be such a tactless rube in being the public face of the team.


January 31st, 2014 at 8:32 AM ^

I don't agree:

First, the University doesn't want him to say that, and thereby divulge material arguably contrarty to Gibbons' legal rights.  I assure you that counsel was clear on this.

Second, and regardless of the first, there is no harm in stating that Gibbons is in Florida to attend to family matters. 

Time to move on folks. 

Section 1

January 31st, 2014 at 12:36 PM ^

... as you say, injury/personnel issues might be strategic gamesmanship.

But I made that point myself in those posts that I linked.  I'm way ahead of you on that.

The point I wanted to make was Brady Hoke's own personal prediliction to stretch "non-committal" to "actively misleading."

And I have been remarking about that for almost as long as Hoke has been Michigan's Head Football Coach.

Section 1

January 31st, 2014 at 8:48 AM ^

...as it is basic fairness.

I'd hate to think that Michigan "fans" would excuse a rape because, hey, it's our kicker...

Of course, this is Brendan Gibbons' outrageous fortune.  People --even educated and informed people like Bando -- are liable to go off on pronouncing this situation as having been a "rape," when the University of Michigan's Office of Student Conflict Resolution isn't even close to being competent to make such a pronouncement.



January 31st, 2014 at 9:56 AM ^

As expected this is now getting the attention of the national media.  ESPN ran a story late last night where Adam Rittenburg is asking many of the same questions that posters like Bando and myself are asking.  Despite the "all is well - Hoke handled it perfectly" mantra exposed by many here, others aren't buying his "family issues" statement and their starting to dig in a bit.


Unless Michigan addresses why Hoke said what he said I think this thing is not going to go away anythime soon.  



January 31st, 2014 at 10:18 AM ^

I don't see what Hoke said as a big issue (though I agree it wasn't ideal) because I don't see whom it hurt.  You could argue for the social utility of telling the world that Gibbons had been found to have committed a violation of the student code re: sexual contact - the same logic as a sex offender registry.  But Hoke couldn't say that.  He could only say that Gibbons was expelled and off the team.  I'm not sure who gains by that.  I suppose it might lead to people being more likely to find out what happened, but that doesn't strike me as a very strong point.

People have compared this to Penn State, but here Gibbons was already expelled and the police had already looked into the matter.  Only the public didn't have all the information - though we already knew about the rape allegation - and, again, I simply don't see who gains from the public being informed of the explusion.  


January 31st, 2014 at 10:20 AM ^

I don't know that there actually is anything Eric but I do know the media doesnt like being lied to and right now it seems like they feel they've been lied to by Hoke (see Brian's write-up, Rittenburg, Freep, ect).  When that happens they ask the same question I asked - why - and then they start to poke around to try and get answers.

My position on this hasnt waivered.  We created a potential problem where none needed to exist.  A simple "Gibbons is no longer on the team" with a "no comment" to all follow-up would've be honest and factual and would NOT have violated Gibbon's FERPA rights.  Whether we think this is much ado about nothing or not is irrelevant - the media does and they like to try and find dirt if they can.

Good lord we of all schools should know that.


January 31st, 2014 at 10:30 AM ^

Sticking strictly to the Hoke comment, I see a misstep of form but not substance.  I wish he'd said "no longer with the team," but only because of the firestorm that might come from what was apparently a lie (a white lie, to me). 

I'll also say this for Hoke:  I could easily see a school attorney (or someone passing on a message from an attorney) telling him something like "You can't get into the details re: Gibbons."  I can then easily see Hoke thinking I can't say anything about what happened.  As an attorney, you might not get into the finer points of FERPA with your clients so long as you're confident they're not going to run afoul of it.

Section 1

January 31st, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

A smart, forward-thinking professional could have gotten out in front of this, for the good of all concerned.

But now Michigan is backpedaling, trying to recover its balance on this story.

A smart and aggressive p.r. strategy might have gone like this:

  • Hoke makes a statement that Gibbons is off the team, and that he cannot comment further.  Acknowledge, with grace and humility that the press and public will have lots of questions, but he says that he simply cannot comment, now or in the future, PERIOD, and he will focus on his team and the bowl game.  BUT, an attorney for Gibbons will have a statement, on [date, time, location].
  • A good attorney for Gibbons then meets with the press; he explains the sub-legal process by which Gibbons was expelled, without any proof of criminal wrongdoing.  He outlines the chronology by which the original incident had been investigated by police, and that no charges had been referred.  He explains how Gibbons cooperated in all phases.  He recounts whatever (?) happened with OSCD, from Gibbons' perspective, and how the U.S. Department of Education changed the rules on administrative hearings on these cases.  And generally get out in front of the story.

Just think what a different posture the story would be in, nationally, at this point.

The essential conflict in all of that is that the coordination of such a strategy is that to the extent it is coordinated at all, it puts Gibbons and the football program at odds with the University and the OSCD.  And in the p.c. world of the University of Michigan, anything less than total obeisance to political correctness might be intolerable.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:50 PM ^

The reason he didn't play was because if he did, it would have been a violation of NCAA rules (to use a former student, one who has been expelled, in a game).

I'm sure his family was--and is--very unhappy.  That's not the reason he didn't play.  He didn't play because he wasn't eligible to play.  To simply say that "Gibbons won't be available for the game" and allow no further follow-ups would have been completely true while also preserving any alleged right to privacy that he had.  To say that he won't be playing because of a family matter is partially true (the part that says he won't be playing), and partially a lie (the part that says why he won't be playing). 

I like to believe that lawyers for large corporations prefer not to instruct their clients to lie to the press, especially when the truth (or a half-truth) will suffice.


January 30th, 2014 at 10:22 PM ^

Again, this is all semantics.  Whatever Hoke said, it had absolutely no bearing on what happened with Gibbons, and at worst Hoke picked poor wording.  But that isn't a travesty, and I promise you that had Hoke said what you said and then this came out, the same people would be freaking out that it wasn't "truthful" enough.


January 30th, 2014 at 10:35 PM ^

Again, I'm not arguing anything other than that what Hoke said wasn't written by a University lawyer, and that he shouldn't have said it.  I'm not saying it's a travesty.  I'm not "freaking out."  You're right, some people are. 

I'm disappointed, but in reality Hoke probably just said the first thing that came to mind.  In the end, somebody higher up than him has probably told him to be more careful about sensitive situations like this in the future, and life will go on.  Not really a big deal compared to the actual larger issue here, but I can also understand that people feel a little manipulated.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:42 PM ^

but I don't like being lied to or misled, which is what likely happened.  I especially don't like it with Dave Brandon because he acts like I'm too stupid to understand that he's lying to me while he does it, and I get charged for not being stupid sometimes, although it is tax deductible....


January 30th, 2014 at 10:23 PM ^

Again, where is this horrible lie.  At worst, the coach didn't provide a suitable answer to some people about why the guy HE DIDN'T PLAY IN A GAME was out of the game.  Nobody lied, and just because you have a complex about an AD being swarmy doesn't make what he did wrong.


January 31st, 2014 at 7:55 AM ^

But the fist biting, hand wringing, cross nailing and teeth gnashing going on is a goddamm travesty and makes our fanbase look far more pathetic than this preceived...I-don't-even-know-what-to-call-it. My dear lord people. Pump the fucking brakes. Not everything is a consipracy or crime against human nature. Gibbons is the bad guy here. Not fucking Hoke.


January 31st, 2014 at 9:58 AM ^

Now we are a fan group that publicly screams about a football coach that provides a vague answer to a reporter about a situation that is highly charged with legal, social and emotional implications?

My gosh, Hoke played no part in the incident, in the subsequent police investigation, in the OSCR proceedings or the expulsion. After Dec 19, Gibbons had no involvement with the program.

Brady Hoke was vague, used a colloquialism and chose to protect a player & his family? Shocking.

Bando Calrissian

January 30th, 2014 at 9:42 PM ^

Nope. It's more a response to the following:

1. Associate AD Ablauf's statement in the initial Daily story the first he'd heard that Gibbons was expelled was when the Daily asked him about it, which this story proves is an absolute lie. You don't leave your associate AD and official spokesperson in the dark about this. Ablauf lied when he absolutely didn't have to.

2. To silence the people who claim Hoke wouldn't have possibly known about the situation, or that the AD was prohibited (by FERPA or any other obstacle) from knowing Gibbons got expelled. They knew full well, and probably knew far earlier than December 19th.

I'm not under any illusion Hoke or Brandon will be fired over this. But that doesn't free them from criticism for handing this situation the way they have, which is largely through half-truths and/or outright deception.