Former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled from school in late December for violating the school’s Student Sexual Conduct Policy for an alleged assault that took place in November 2009. Gibbons was the Wolverines’ starting kicker for the past three seasons and questions have arisen as to the athletic department’s handling of the situation.
Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke addressed the situation Monday in a written statement to try to explain why Gibbons was not dismissed from the team until more than four years after the alleged incident.
Hoke’s statement, in full, reads:
"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 on-going 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."
After the statement was released, Hoke met with reporters and told them he could not comment on what he knew about Gibbons’ expulsion “due to privacy laws,” but according to MLive, he defended his discipline methods that he has employed in his three years at Michigan.
“Track record, I've dealt with everything that’s happened on this team, from character issues to the integrity (the players) have,” Hoke said. “Those are two of the most important things that I have. My character and my integrity. And I got into coaching to help kids and understand that.
“That’s a huge part of what this job is and why I got into it. For people to attack the character and integrity that we have as a program and as Michigan and me, personally, is something that’s not true. We've dealt with (disciplinary issues), and you can go back and look at all the different disciplinary cases we've had. We haven’t had many, but there have been consequences and discipline and all of those things.”
The Michigan Daily, the school’s student newspaper, reported that the decision on Gibbons’ suspension from the Michigan Office of Student Conflict Resolution was made on Nov. 20 – three days before he suited up against Iowa.
Gibbons did not play in the Nov. 30 regular season finale against Ohio State for what Hoke described as “a muscle pull.” Gibbons also missed the bowl trip to Arizona for the Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because of what Hoke said was a “family issue.”
The Daily reported that Gibbons was notified of his expulsion on Dec. 19.
Gibbons was initially arrested following a sexual assault complaint in November 2009 but was never charged with a crime.
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