After the Michigan Daily reported on Tuesday that the kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled from the University, questions have been raised about when the Michigan Football program had knowledge or the kickers “permanent separation”. The answer to that question is becoming more clear as more information begins to leak out.
Thursday the Michigan Daily reported that a letter, signed by Brendan Gibbons, was faxed from the a number “associated with the Michigan Football program” on December 19th. The letter was an official acknowledgment by Brendan Gibbons of his separation from the University. Where the letter was faxed to was unclear.
Assistant Athletic Director David Ablauf, acting as department spokesmen, said that Brendan Gibbons came to see him regarding the expulsion on December 19th but would could not comment on whether or not Coach Hoke knew of the expulsion. Although comments made to the Michigan Daily suggest that he might have known.
December 19 is whenever the letter was sent and the kid came to talk with the Athletic Department”, Ablauf told Michigan Daily,”That could have been the time that Brendan Gibbons talked to coach Hoke.”
Fax Highlights Key Issue
This is becoming a key issue in the timeline because of the comments Hoke made after landing in Tempe Arizona prior to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Hoke told media that Gibbons would not be playing in the game because of a “family issue” in Florida.
The fax obtained by Michigan Daily confirms that the Athletic Department knew of the expulsion on December 19th, 4 days before the December 23rd press conference in Tempe.
It may sound like an unnecessary focus on semantics but it is important to know when Hoke knew of a disciplinary action leveled against one of his players. If Gibbons was indeed expelled and Hoke did not know, what does that say about the system of communication between the University and its largest, most visible program.
Perception Is Truth
The question of when the head coach was informed may never be answered in public but it might indicate a much bigger problem within the Athletic Department. If communication between the University and its Athletic Department is this inadequate it could lead to Michigan playing ineligible players leaving the program at risk for NCAA sanctions.
Another factor to consider is the Universities perceived indifference to the crime of female sexual assault. Perceptions leading to the conclusion that the football program has no concern when its players commit crimes off the field can also leave the program at risk.
Michigan’s leadership must step forward and explain the delayed response to the Gibbons arrest before negative public perception reaches the point of no return.