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.”