This story was originally posted on 1/30/2014 in response to Michigan's refusal to discuss the Brendan Gibbons situation. Now, the University of Michigan is under federal investigation. Ace Williams was the only writer to publicly call for an investigation.
Read the original story below:
The Michigan athletic department – and football team in particular – are an embarrassment to intercollegiate athletics, and the people running them need to be fired immediately. In November 2009, then-freshman kicker Brendan Gibbons was accused of rape by a female student. Gibbons’ roommate, All-American LT Taylor Lewan, then committed an additional crime by threatening to rape the woman himself if she pressed charges against Gibbons. What’s even more damning is that two fellow football players reported Lewan’s threats to the police themselves, but nothing was done by anyone in the Michigan program to punish these players.
No charges were ever filed, the situation was swept under the rug, and Gibbons and Lewan went on to incredibly successful careers at Michigan. Gibbons was a three-year starter, setting school records for consecutive PAT makes and consecutive made field goals. Lewan was a two-time All-American at left tackle, and was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year twice. Lewan is expected to be drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, with millions of dollars headed to his bank account.
In August 2013, independent blog Washtenaw Watchdogs reported at length on a four-year cover up by the football team and the administration, and went as far as to accuse the administration of shielding Gibbons and Lewan from the authorities.
Despite all this, the football program and the athletic department did nothing for over four years – until today, when word got out that the school expelled Gibbons from graduate school in December, a week before the Wolverines’ bowl game against Kansas State.
On November 30th, Gibbons was held out of the Ohio State game with a leg injury, according to Brady Hoke. In the next few weeks, Hoke commented on the injury when probed by reporters: “He’s a little iffy,” Hoke said on Dec. 16. “He’s kicking a little bit. But I don’t want to over-kick him. I’ve never been a kicker, so I can’t imagine that (muscle) problem. So he’s a little iffy.” That statement was a FLAT. OUT. LIE. Gibbons was sent home to Florida before Thanksgiving.
Several days later, Hoke reported that Gibbons would not play in the bowl game because he was in Florida dealing with family issues. LIE.
After that report came out in December, I did some digging, contacting several sources to get the scoop on Gibbons. When I was told by multiple independent sources that the injury issue in November and family issues in December were ‘spin’, I called Hoke out on it (in addition to his continued lies about Devin Gardner) - Brady Hoke is lying about Devin Gardner and Brendan Gibbons. Few believed me at the time, but my sources alluded to the rape case and said higher-ups in the school had re-opened the case, leading to Gibbons dismissal.
Now that you know, lets look at the timeline of this situation. You’ll see clearly that Brady Hoke and AD Dave Brandon did everything in their power to keep Gibbons and Lewan eligible, all for the sake of Michigan winning football games.
The Timeline of the Cover-Up
November 21, 2009:
On the eve of the 2009 Michigan vs. OSU game, freshman kicker Brendan Gibbons attends a party at the Chi Psi fraternity house at the University of Michigan. At this house, a sexual encounter with a female student-athlete occurs in an upstairs bedroom.
The female involved in the situation claimed rape. She told friends afterwards she was raped. A friend of hers who was interviewed by police said she has never seen some ‘shake like that’ as when the victim, sobbing uncontrollably, told her about the rape shortly after the incident.
The following day, the victim gave a lengthy interview to police.
Soon after, police interviewed Gibbons, who told a different story than the young woman.
The female victim’s friends told police she claimed to have been raped immediately after the encounter with Gibbons.
Early December, 2009
Two Michigan football players report to police that freshman (and future All-American) lineman Taylor Lewan threatened to rape the victim again if she pressed charges on Gibbons. The players told police that they heard Lewan make this threat in their presence and they feared for the safety of the female victim.
The police spoke to Lewan, who admitted to the threats. The Michigan Dean of Students and the Michigan athletic department were made aware of Lewan’s threats. Michigan’s football coaches and athletic department were made aware of the incident involving Gibbons. No one took action against Lewan.
On December 9, 2009, the University of Michigan filed an official report documenting a warning to Lewan and letting him know he had committed a crime with his threats. Lewan was informed that any further threats could result in criminal charges and the school taking ‘action’.
And then…. nothing. The school, athletic department and then-coach Rich Rodriguez went silent on the situation. For almost four years.
Brady Hoke is named head coach at Michigan.
A scathing report on the Gibbons rape allegations and Lewan’s threats, documenting a potential cover-up by Michigan Athletics, is published. Brady Hoke and AD Dave Brandon stay radio-silent on the matter. No action is taken, and the report is NEVER discussed on the record by the school.
Brendan Gibbons and Taylor Lewan play the entire regular season without any discussion of the incident by Michigan – or any press covering the football team. For three months, no one from the Michigan football team acknowledged the report – almost as if they hoped it would go away.
November 17, 2013
Gibbons kicks an amazing last-second field goal to tie the game against Northwestern and send game into overtime. Michigan would win the game in OT, taking heat off of Brady Hoke’s job status.
November 20th, 2013
The University of Michigan’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution files a report, signed by Associate Director of the OSCR Stacy Vander Velde, that finds that the University determined that a preponderance of evidence supports “a finding that the Respondent engaged in unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, committed without valid consent, and that conduct was so severe as to create a hostile, offensive, or abusive environment. The ‘Respondent’ of the letter is Brendan Gibbons.
Per school policy, the Michigan football coaching staff and senior athletic department officials, including Dave Brandon, receive a copy of this report. No one does anything about it.
November 23, 2013
Three days after the school report, Gibbons plays and kicks three extra points in a 24-21 loss to Iowa. Brady Hoke allows Gibbons to play despite the report issued by the same school that pays Hoke’s multi-million dollar salary.
Brady Hoke was essentially told: Your employer thinks this kid is a rapist.
Facing INTENSE job scrutiny, Hoke played Gibbons against Iowa, a game many said was a must-win for the embattled coach. He played a player that his employer deemed a sexual predator three days earlier.
November 30, 2013
On senior day, Gibbons does not play against Ohio State. Brady Hoke lies to the media, alumni and fans, saying Gibbons is hurt.
December 16th, 2013
Hoke’s lies on Gibbons continue, saying the kicker is still injured but is continuing to practice with the team: “He’s a little iffy,” Hoke said on Dec. 16. “He’s kicking a little bit. But I don’t want to over-kick him. I’ve never been a kicker, so I can’t imagine that (muscle) problem. So he’s a little iffy.”
Either Hoke lets an accused rapist continue to practice with the team, or he covers up for an accused rapist by lying for him and completely marginalizing the severity of the allegations that the university has leveled on Gibbons.
December 19th, 2013
Gibbons is delivered a letter from Michigan informing him of a permanent separation (expelling him) from his graduate program.
December 23th, 2013
Knowing that a permanent separation would render an athlete ineligible to participate in any NCAA event, Michigan coach Brady Hoke still said at a Dec. 23 press conference that Gibbons didn’t travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because he was dealing with a family matter at home.
Again, Hoke LIED to cover up a player that the school deemed to be a sexual predator.
December 26th, 2013
December 30th, 2013
Michigan is blown out by Kansas State 31-14.
What it all means
I’m going on the record here saying that Brady Hoke needs to be fired as Michigan’s coach. At best, he played a player three days after the university condemned him as a sexual predator and ignored the evidence against Gibbons since August’s report.
At worst, he knew everything that occurred with Gibbons and Lewan from the day he was hired. He then proceeded to not take any disciplinary action or look into the accusations further. Then, in August, the cover-up was exposed and Michigan again ignored it, hoping it would go away. Then, he lied multiple times to the public about the reasons for Gibbons not playing, trying to “shield his players from their issues” while simultaneously degrading the word, honor and well-being of the woman who was victimized, all in the sake of winning.
It’s my belief that this scandal is as close to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State as I have ever seen.
Here’s how I see it: Hoke wrote off the story as “he said, she said” when taking the job in 2011. He then proceeded to welcome and lavish praise on an accused rapist (Gibbons) and a player who threatened to rape a woman as retaliation if she told her story to police (Lewan).
When the Sandusky scandal went down at Penn State, ultimately Paterno and other PSU officials were forced to be held acccountible for the following questions: What did you know? When did you know it? What did you do about it?
What did Hoke know: From my sources – EVERYTHING.
When did he know it: As far back as spring practice 2011, and further details in August 2013.
What did he do about it: NOTHING. He even played Gibbons in a must-win game vs. Iowa, knowing the university felt Gibbons was a sexual predator. It wasn’t until Dave Brandon and other school officials stepped in during OSU week that anything happened and Gibbons was not permitted to play.
Its pretty simple, folks: Hoke ignored the evidence, ignored the reports in August, played a player that the University of Michigan reprimanded as a sexual predator days earlier and then lied to fans, media and alumni to protect an accused rapist. HE MUST BE FIRED.
What if the girl was your daughter?
Documents to read: