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Hoke statement defends Michigan’s ‘character… integrity’

Brady Hoke AP

As several questions relating to the expulsion of Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons remains unanswered, the Wolverines head coach has (somewhat) broken his silence on the growing controversy.

In a statement issued through the university Monday morning, Brady Hoke defended the integrity of his UM football program, although he did not specifically mention Gibbons by name.  Last week, it was reported that Gibbons was expelled from the school on December 20, 2013, as a result of an investigation into an alleged sexual misconduct incident from 2009.

According to the Michigan Daily report, revised university policies related to sexual misconduct on campus led to review of various allegations, including the case involving Gibbons. This revised policy ultimately led to the school’s decision to expel Gibbons.

Nov. 20 of last year, Gibbons was informed via a letter from the university that it had been determined there is a “preponderance of evidence” to suggest he committed sexual misconduct.  Three days later, Gibbons played in Michigan’s three-point loss to Iowa.  Gibbons did not play in the regular-season finale against Ohio State due to what was described as a muscle pull.  Hoke announced Dec. 23 that Gibbons would not travel with the team for the Wolverines’ Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl game against Kansas State due to a family matter.

Three days prior to Hoke’s revelation, Gibbons was notified by the school that he had been expelled.  Questions of when Hoke and the football program became aware of the issue surrounding Gibbons have swirled of late, although Hoke, when asked that question directly, cited privacy laws in declining to answer.  In his statement defending the UM athletic department, Hoke said that “while I would like to be more forthcoming, I can’t provide any details due to federal privacy laws and University policies.”

Below is Hoke’s statement, in its entirety.

“Michigan Athletics has no influence over any part of a review of a potential violation of University’s student code of conduct — not the process, the investigation or the timing of the resolution. In general, while we may be aware of an ongoing proceeding, we always strive to balance transparency with privacy.

“Our usual approach is to not issue discipline related to a student’s standing on the team before the University’s process runs its course and the outcome has been determined. We will always respect the rights and confidentiality of the process and the parties involved. One way we do that is by not discussing the details of student disciplinary matters.

“So while I would like to be more forthcoming, I can’t provide any details due to federal privacy laws and University policies.

“We talk every day with our kids about the importance of character and integrity. It’s something we take very seriously, how we’re going to do things the right way. We talk daily about your name and what it means. That’s why you get into this as a coach, to help young men grow and learn and mature. We’re held to those standards, and we hold them to that. I think I’ve made clear our expectations, and our actions and discipline involving incidents in the past have reflected that. And those standards will not be compromised.”

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11 Responses to “Hoke statement defends Michigan’s ‘character… integrity’”
  1. sparky151 says: Feb 3, 2014 2:46 PM

    There are two separate issues here. One is UM’s silly (and perhaps illegal) conduct policy. Gibbons was cleared previously but the standard was lowered from beyond reasonable doubt to preponderance of the evidence. A private university such as Notre Dame or Northwestern could probably get away with that but a public university such as UM is on thin ice in punishing people in a manner like this. It seems like an obvious violation of substantive due process to retry a previously closed matter.

    The other issue is Hoke’s credibility. He seems to be of the view that lying is preferable to the truth. That’s especially dumb when the truth is likely to come out anyway.

  2. michiganstillsucks says: Feb 3, 2014 2:48 PM

    They don’t call it scUM for nothing.

    What an absolutely disgraceful football program and school.

  3. polegojim says: Feb 3, 2014 3:44 PM

    So Sparky…. Michigan enhances it’s policy… and Gibbons was guilty… Michigan took appropriate action, and you complain of lying and lack of integrity.

    What would folks like you be saying if they did nothing, and 6 months from now it became public that Michigan did nothing based on technicality, and grandfathered his offense?

    Michigan respected Gibbons privacy, but must protect the integrity of the University first and foremost. How is that in any way a failure?

  4. wolfman55h says: Feb 3, 2014 5:53 PM

    Apparently due process involving even a mere accusation doesn’t apply in Ann Arbor.

  5. jkulha86 says: Feb 3, 2014 6:08 PM

    Due process doesn’t exist anywhere in the world of college football. Even if a player or coach is found innocent, whatever they were charged with will follow them wherever they go.

  6. sparky151 says: Feb 3, 2014 7:13 PM

    I have no idea whether Gibbons did or didn’t do what he was accused of. That being said campus tribunals are notoriously biased and secretive. If he sexually assaulted a woman, the case should be investigated by the Ann Arbor police dept and any punishment handled by the local courts. Not by academics who bring their own biases. Sometimes athletes get a pass. Sometimes they get hounded unfairly. It’s easy to determine the latter is the case here since he was previously cleared.

    Campus tribunals are infamous for violating basic fairness. Things like presumption of innocence (see the Duke lacrosse players). Right to assistance of counsel (there’s a famous case from Auburn where the accuser brought counsel but the defendant wasn’t allowed his). Right to examine the evidence against the defendant (lots of places allow secret evidence). There are even cases where students aren’t even told who they are alleged to have assaulted. Not to mention things like the notorious case from Brown where a big donor’s daughter claimed she was assaulted and the defendant was expelled. See the WSJ for the details.

    Most of these cases tend to be he said/she said types of things with inconclusive physical evidence. Outcomes depend on the campus political climate as much as anything else. Which is why so many professors and students leapt to the conclusion the Duke lacrosse players were guilty instead of waiting for a fair trial.

  7. seanb20124 says: Feb 3, 2014 7:24 PM

    How far back will this witch hunt go?

  8. dumbpollack says: Feb 3, 2014 8:31 PM

    Fatty want a hot dog, or 20?!

  9. jondaly70 says: Feb 3, 2014 10:33 PM

    polegojim: UM did not “enhance” their code of conduct. They simply stacked the deck in favor of the accused. The Obama administration issued a directive mandating that universities use this new “preponderance of the evidence” so that students making ALLEGATIONS would be able to run suspects off campus after closed hearings in which the accused have no legal counsel. this standard could never be used in a real court of law, but on a university campus no one cares about basic elements of fairness.

    please don’t brag about UM adopting this “enhanced” standard. Some day, it may be your son that stands accused.

  10. polegojim says: Feb 4, 2014 1:09 AM

    Jon… if my son was guilty… he should be accused.

    Stop blowing smoke and confusing the issue. Sometimes, tough decisions must be made, even if unpopular.

    Gibbons was a HUGE ASSET to UM Football… you’re flipped if you think they ‘wanted’ to boot him.

  11. mogogo1 says: Feb 4, 2014 1:16 PM

    “revised university policies related to sexual misconduct on campus led to review of various allegations, including the case involving Gibbons.”
    __________

    If he was guilty then glad he finally got booted. But I’m struggling to figure out what revisions could lead to a dismissal 4 years after the fact. Was the policy essentially non-existent before?

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