Title IX/Sexual Assault...yet no MSU bball

Submitted by dahblue on March 20th, 2014 at 11:12 AM

So, this article in the Detroit News today highlights changes in sexual assult policies (mostly at UofM) due to Title IX.  Once again, Gibbons is brought up and no mention is made of two stars of MSU's basketball team whose story seems even more damaging than Gibbons...and they're a (due to weak region) favorite to win the tourney.

I just don't get it.  Our (not great) kicker seems to have been a legendary scumbag and likely rapist (reading his police interview, "I didn't bust in her", makes it pretty hard to defend the guy) but the victim didn't want to press charges and the police took no action.  The university then expelled him as soon as it changed its sexual assault policy (which removed the requirement for the victim to make a formal complain and lowered the burden of proof).  Our PR response was awful, but official actions seemed to be proper (albeit slow and clunky).

By way of contrast, two MSU players were accused of sexual assualt, a teammate witness said it was not consensual and the victim wanted to press charges.  The police (just like with Gibbons) refused to press charges.  MSU (unlike Michigan with Gibbons) has taken no action against the two players and the media makes almost no mention of any of this despite repeated coverage of Title IX and sexual assault.  

Is this just crazy time?  If reducing/eliminating sexual assault is the goal, why in the world has there been no action taken against these guys and, even worse, where's the parallel media attention given that MSU is a daily sports news item?  It can't be a matter of "the press hates Michigan" because, frankly, I don't believe that to be true.

Maybe I just had to get that WTF off my chest, so mods, please feel free to delete if today should be a day of joy and celebration only.



March 20th, 2014 at 11:20 AM ^

The probably with Gibbons is that he's from Florida. People down there are crazy.

(All due apologies to Vincent Smith, Jeremy Gallon, Denard Robinson, etc.)

I agree that the lack of negative press about the Spartans is strange and frustrating, but I find it difficult to make much of an argument because it all basically sounds like this:

"Yeah...well...they've got rapists, too!"


March 20th, 2014 at 11:24 AM ^

You make a good point (about the "we've got rapists too"), but possible rapists are starring in a NCAA tournament run just as the Title IX stuff has become an ongoing press story.  Seems like a natural story.  The only thing I can think is that the details of the Gibbons (University) discipline were leaked to the press whereas maybe the MSU stuff has not been which allows a "FERPA says we can't talk" position?


March 20th, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

Yeah, I agree it reads like sour grapes.  That said, it surprises me that there is little mentioned about the guys still playing for a school as opposed to the infamous kicker expelled from the school, but I guess UM is the "sexier" target and more likely to move copies.  And I guess this is a cost of being the "name" school in the state; it just seems more scandalous for the highly-regarded UM to have this incident than the "cow college" with its history of rioting and couch burning.

Ghost of BCook…

March 20th, 2014 at 11:35 AM ^

This, unfortunately, shows that the people/institutions that do take steps to address issues (albeit perhaps not as quickly as should have been addressed) open themselves up to scrutiny far more than people/institutions who let things go. 

Think about it - the Gibbons situation was known for years, yet outside of the Washtenaw Watchdog, it garnered no press.  If UM never addressed the situation, it would have never been mainstream news.  Sucks that doing the right thing (again, understanding that maybe it should have been done sooner, but still) puts you under the microscope more than doing nothing at all. 


March 20th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

...it wouldn't have been news again.  You're right that there were stories at the time, but U of M put the story back into play in 2014 by expelling Gibbons (which is why the conspiracy theories never made sense to me). 

Ghost of BCook…

March 20th, 2014 at 11:48 AM ^

You focused on a detail and ignored the main point. 

Instead of saying "garnered no press", I probably should have said "garndered relatively little press" when compared to what has occured post December, but the main gist of my post was that inaction is, sadly, often better for PR than taking action. 


March 20th, 2014 at 1:24 PM ^

Because one case has had official action taken against it. The other has not. Reporters are probably more worried about libel than they are in "equal time" of a pissing match between college rivals.


March 20th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

There would be no lible here.  The incident at MSU is documented.  the only libel that could possibly exist is if they used the names of the two players in an actual article.  I think an op ed piece could actually use the names based off connecting the dots.  


March 20th, 2014 at 11:50 AM ^

I don't see that as the argument.  I think the argument is "School X and School Y have the same issues, but School X is handling it better than School Y and getting worse press than School Y."

Fanhood affiliations aside, shouldn't everyone want worse handling of such an issue to be also given worse coverage?


March 20th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

Having been a student in the MAC with roommates on both the FB and baseball teams and lived on the floors with the entire hockey team as well I personally saw women and mens behavior up close when intoxicated and how women gravitated towards these Big Men on Campus. I witnessed or saw nothing non-consensual but did see and hear about behavior from women that I am sure they later regretted. Under those circumstancs would you want your sons life destroyed by a jilted drunken escapade that she later regrets and tarnishes him with with a "he must be guilty" 51% new standard. I have a 17 year old daughter as well as an 18 year old son so want bad for neither but this new standard can get men tossed from college by the dozens if they only once act a consensual cad.

Everyone Murders

March 20th, 2014 at 12:55 PM ^

Well, if the victim and one of my fictional MSU son's teammates said my son raped her, I would think that my son was the one who destroyed his life.  Now a full trial may make me change my view (and I'd have some insights to my son's character), but based on what we know the MSU player accused of rape sounds guilty.

It sure didn't sound like a "jilted drunken escapade" up in E. Lansing (and AA, for that matter).  Based on the respective police reports it sounds like rape, pure and simple.

Everyone Murders

March 20th, 2014 at 4:49 PM ^

I must be slow on the uptake today, but at this point I don't know what you're trying to say.

  • In your original subject line you say "What if it was your son and only one case (MSU) even exists?".  While I could not fully follow that sentence, it seemed to be referencing MSU - because of the parenthetical.
  • In this last reply you say "Whole point talked about one not two and began with only MSU may even be a case."  I don't know what that means, either.
  • You also say "Your jump far exceeds the other conclusions."  Again, I don't know what that means. 

But I know what "Attaboy" means.  So I've got that going for me! 

If your point is that there are false rape claims that ruin people's lives, I'll stipulate to that. (Although my experience is that this is an exceedingly rare occurrence.) 

My point is that there are also accurate rape claims, and from the police reports both Gibbons and the MSU players look guilty.  Those are really damning reports, in my opinion.


March 23rd, 2014 at 8:15 PM ^

I was making a distinction about the MSU case having certainly more factors for Title IX/trial  pursuit versus Gibbons actually being innocent but a one night stand jerk. I am not saying he is but am concerned about the implication that a scorned date later gets a guy thrown out of college over nothing more than an ended relationship.Having had women make up crap about my career to further their own and thereby jeopardize my families livelihood I am not in the least ignorant of a womens abilty to lie to get her way. Fortunately their lies were so wierd and involved people in areas I rarely worked with or saw, let alone talked to, that they were found to be what they were which was false. No repercussions on the false accuser though which was interesting.


March 20th, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

The police never had a "smoking gun" statement from a witness against Gibbons.  They definitely had one for Appling and Payne.  One committed an assault and the othe rwatched.  Neither should ever have played a second at MSU and the fact that their names have never been mentioned in the press while Gibbons' has indicates a terrible double standard.

Nobody here is using the MSU case to justify Gibbons.  But MSU fans use Gibbons to justify their cover-up.  

My main problem here: Gbbons' name is in the media while those of Appling and Payne aren't.  The female population of any school has a right to know when a fellow student represents a danger to their safety.

Rape is rape no matter where the victim goes to school.  Covering up a rape while the media celebrates both of the players for their citizenry, as happened in EL, puts the entire female population of their school at risk.  

It just makes me wonder how many more cover-ups there have been in EL.



March 20th, 2014 at 11:48 AM ^

He supposedly either passed or offered to take a lie detector test and did not deny the sex only that it wasn't non-consensual. Any graphic quote from the interview doesn't change that. She also has admitted a previous relationship with him and that earlier they had oral sex that she does not want to talk about graphically (understandable).The MSU case a has a third party from the team saying it wasn't consensual and their police did want to prosecute unlike UM's where there was no victim wishing to pursue which is also different against the MSU guys. Re-connect this chain again fellas and tell me what I am missing about his potential innocence yet bad behavior (cad)?.


March 20th, 2014 at 1:11 PM ^

Polygraphs are useless; the best studies on them show that they have a success rate of approximately 50%: it's equally valid to ask a person a question then flip a coin to determine if that person is telling the truth.


Regarding any existing relationships: that's irrelevant. Any previous sexual activity is irrelevant. What is relevant is consent to that specific act. If a party to a sexual encounter does not consent to that encounter, it is rape. Full stop.


March 21st, 2014 at 12:37 AM ^

"For purposes of this policy, the issue is whether the Respondent knew, or should have known, that the activity in question was not consensual."

A polygraph's not much help in determining what a person should have known. He can sincerely have believed it was consensual and still have been in violation of the code.


March 20th, 2014 at 5:23 PM ^

belong in courts of law.

Cases of student misconduct (criminal or otherwise) and inclusion in the school community belong in university administrative conference rooms.

Regardless of which of the possible scenarios in the Gibbons case actually transpired, it is in UM's province to decide whether that is the kind of conduct UM wishes to countenance and allow to flourish under UM sanction.

I'm assuming it was never UM's intention for it to become a public matter.

Section 1

March 20th, 2014 at 5:50 PM ^

And some ideologue should go to jail, for the offense to Gibbons' federally-guaranteed right to privacy in this matter. The University of Michigan owes Brendan Gibbons an apology. And just maybe a couple million dollars if we find out how his letter got leaked.

Everyone Murders

March 20th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

Polygraphy is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's much better than a coin flip.  A lot of the value of a polygraph lies in the skill of the polygrapher and the ability of the interviewer to properly ask the questions.  Even then it's not perfect, but the accuracy rate is much closer to 85% than 50% per the National Academy of Sciences:

After examining 57 polygraph studies the NAS concluded: "In populations of examinees such as those represented in the polygraph research literature, untrained in countermeasures, specific-incident polygraph tests can discriminate lying from truth telling at rates well above chance, though well below perfection." Their analysis of the 30 most recent polygraph data sets showed an overall accuracy of 85 percent, and an analysis of seven field studies involving specific incidents showed a median accuracy of 89 percent.

See HERE for more info, if curious.


March 20th, 2014 at 11:50 AM ^

I don't know how serious the MSU accusations are, but if they are, the media will pay it full attention after the NCAA Tournament is over.  Generally the media in this country won't want to mess with everyone's sports buzz.  

Ghost of BCook…

March 20th, 2014 at 11:54 AM ^

Freep investigation into practicegate released on eve of season opener.  Plus the Providence accusations just came out, again right before the Friars participate in the tourney for the first time in a while.  There may be some sacred cows that the media gives special treatment to, and perhaps Izzo is one of them, but for the most part they love to stir up shit at the most damaging time.....


March 20th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

Sorry, my comment was too broad, but I think sports media avoids subverting popular narratives, for various reasons (ratings, avoid getting snubbed by teams, etc.).  PracticeGate wasn't on the eve of a Michigan BCS bowl game, but during one of the shittiest times in Michigan football history.  And Providence isn't Duke or Louisville.  

I agree that the media likes to stir shit up, but with the biggest programs, it usually seems to happen long after the most damaging times.  



March 20th, 2014 at 1:27 PM ^

I have to agree with your sentiment.   If you think about it, they can cash in on big-time ratings twice: MSU goes to Final Four/Izzo iz God/Every Senior/wow such leadership/etc. then the allegations begin to surface and they get to cover and exploit that.


ESPN is a strange and twisted animal.


March 20th, 2014 at 5:38 PM ^

obeys a herd mentality; there are no real mainstream muckrakers. It generally depends for content provision on inside relationships with established institutions who can afford to do its work for it (pressers, statements, etc.). This makes the press a mouthpiece of established wealth and power.

An attack on MSU might also bring the press into conflict with the NCAA money-making machine. Attacking folks with lots of money usually ends up involving lawyers, and has low long-term upside. The press seeks prey that is small or has already been weakened.

Of the canines, the press more generally resembles the jackal than the watchdog.


March 20th, 2014 at 1:19 PM ^

Two things:

a) It was released six days before the opener.

b) That was written by someone who specifically wanted Michigan football to fail (it is well-known that Rosenberg is tied with the Lloyd clan). Hell, the Free Press predicted Western would beat Michigan and then published a cynical "we're not backing down!" editorial the day after just to swing their dicks at UM fans criticizing them.



French West Indian

March 20th, 2014 at 11:56 AM ^

...is that as long as we keep cheering for sports and throwing irrationally large sums of money at it then, yeah, rapists & such will be protected.

And yeah, I'm becoming a lot more cynical with my senescence which is why I'm finding it more difficult each day to care about sports.  Even the good "stories" probaly have skeletons in the closet.


March 20th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

why the State situation doesn't get more attention either. It's not about they have rapists too, just the even application of the laws and rules. For those who claim concern for the safety of women or the license of athletes there is no way you can shrug your shoulders or somehow be muzzled by the Gibbon's case.


March 20th, 2014 at 12:13 PM ^

driving the issue. It still has been out there enough for the press to pick up on it more than they have. That's kind of hard to explain. Obviously there may be some MSU writers who are biased but there has to be someone with a conscience around.


March 20th, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

And there it is! Yet another passive-aggressive comment about Douglas Smith, the "disgruntled," "agenda-driven" former employee who no one knows anything about yet they don't like because he drove some negative press for UM sports. Whether or not he has been driving at the TRUTH is secondary to that for many.

Some of you guys really makes sports too big a part of your identities.