By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Larry Foote does not understand how, four years after an alleged sexual assault for which no charges were filed, former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons got expelled from the university.
“I’m scratching my head and saying, ‘What is going on?’ What is this four years?” Foote said. “Who gave the University of Michigan the authority to say you’re better than the police department?
“Do the university hire an agency to do the investigation?” Foote added later. “Who gave the University of Michigan the authority to say you’re better than the police department? You do a better job researching than the police department, the Ann Arbor police?”
Foote, who was an All-America selection at Michigan and has played 11 years as a linebacker in the NFL, also absolved Wolverines coach Brady Hoke of guilt, saying he thinks that previous coach, Rich Rodriguez, university president Mary Sue Coleman, and athletic director Dave Brandon bear more responsibility.
“It’s not fair for Hoke,” Foote said. “He wasn’t even here. This was under Rich-Rod, whenever this happened. This is a university policy. I’m quite sure Brady Hoke wasn’t doing the three-year investigation, the four-year, and decided to suspend him before Ohio State. This was Mary Sue, Dave Brandon, this was the university’s decision. This has nothing to do with Brady Hoke. Did he try to cover it up? I don’t know. Maybe that was bad choice of leg injury or family, but if he was trying to protect the kid, didn’t want it to get out, I understand that. I respect that. If I was Gibbons’ father, I would want the head coach not to air his dirty laundry, just like they did with Max up at Michigan State.”
On a broader spectrum, Foote also holds strong opinions as far as the overall direction of the football program. Earlier, Foote had joked around with 97.1 The Ticket host Scott Anderson about how Anderson’s Michigan State Spartans have surpassed the Wolverines on the football field. Foote seemed confidence Michigan would regain its former stature, but he understands how the program has fallen, and he has a theory on what needs to change.
“I get that question all the time, ‘What’s wrong with Michigan?'” Foote said. “The talent is not what it used to be.
“You’re getting too many guys that have Plan B’s,” Foote added. “You want to build your team with guys that don’t have Plan B’s. Your best students are not your best players.”
In Foote’s mind, if a recruit meets the minimum eligibility requirements, the Wolverines need to recruit him. Essentially, Foote said Michigan needs to ease up on its academic standards for players and bring in individuals who are desperate to succeed on the football field and who play more physically. Foote even said if he were a coach he would look into players from the ghetto because he said he knows that players from the ghetto are invariably motivated.
Right now, Foote said, Michigan is recruiting the wrong guys.
“I know Michigan,” Foote said. “I grew up in the ‘90s watching the brand of Michigan football. I was also there, and even after me. We don’t have NFL talent. That’s proven. The draft will tell you that. When I watch it, these guys are not violent. They’re not tough, hard-nosed football players, and I don’t care about these five-star, four-star, threes, no. Screw that. That’s philosophy. I don’t care about that. You need to get a recruiting coordinator or hire a service to break down this film and these players. We’re getting the wrong talent in there.
“These guys are not violent,” Foote continued. “Change up your recruiting style. And now that there’s more of an academic approach, understand and tell your fans, ‘We’re not going to be able to compete with SECs year in and year out, and every now and then we’re going to be toward the middle or the bottom of the Big Ten. The best football players are not your best students. Understand that, Michigan.”