ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan coach Brady Hoke has issued his first statement since a report that kicker Brendan Gibbons had been expelled for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policies.
“Michigan athletics has no influence over any part of a review of a potential violation of the university’s student code of conduct – not the process, the investigation or the timing of the resolution,” Hoke said Monday. “In general, while we may be aware of an ongoing proceeding, we always strive to balance transparency with privacy.”
Hoke didn’t mention Gibbons, but the coach clearly appears to be responding to questions about how discipline with the former kicker was handled.
The Michigan Daily reported that it reviewed documents showing Gibbons was “permanently separated” from the school Dec. 20, 2013, when he was a graduate social work student. The newspaper reported the university’s Office of Student Conflict Resolutions acted on the basis of a Nov. 22, 2009, incident.
Gibbons, who was a senior and three-year starter last season, last kicked for the Wolverines on Nov. 23, 2013, against Iowa. He didn’t play against Ohio State the following week because Hoke said the kicker pulled a muscle. Hoke said a “family matter” prevented Gibbons, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla., from being with the team when the Wolverines arrived in Arizona for their bowl game.
The Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office has said it is not reviewing any possible charges against the 22-year-old Gibbons.
A day after the report last week, the university released a statement about the school’s “response to allegations of sexual misconduct in 2009.”
“Those allegations were handled in accordance with the university policy in effect at the time,” the school’s Jan. 29 statement said. “The university now adheres to the institution’s policy on sexual misconduct by students, which was adopted in 2013.”
The university said “if new information is obtained at a later point, the university could commence an investigation at that time.” University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman also chimed in on the subject.
“Athletics has no influence over sexual misconduct investigations or the academic standing of student athletes,” Coleman said in a statement.
Hoke, whose statement was released two days before national signing day, said he could not discuss details because of federal privacy laws and school policy.
“We talk every day with our kids about the importance of character and integrity,” Hoke said. “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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