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Published: Monday, 2/3/2014 - Updated: 10 months ago

Hoke breaks silence about Gibbons

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR — Michigan football coach Brady Hoke issued his first comments Monday in the wake of the school's expulsion of Brendan Gibbons for a violation of the school's student sexual misconduct policy.

Hoke's statement cited federal privacy laws for not commenting directly on Gibbons' expulsion. It also reiterated a statement issued last week by UM president Mary Sue Coleman, which debunked reports of the athletic department's possible influence over an investigation involving the former UM athlete.

"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's statement read. "In general, while we may be aware of an ongoing 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."

Gibbons' expulsion reportedly stems from a 2009 incident, and was reported last week by the Michigan Daily, UM's student newspaper. Gibbons, who earned his bachelor’s degree in general studies and was enrolled in Michigan’s graduate school in the fall, has not responded for comment.

Gibbons’ expulsion was effective December 20 following an investigation by the university’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution which is part of the university but independent of law enforcement.

The Daily reported that it obtained a letter that was signed by Gibbons, finalizing his expulsion on Dec. 19 and sent via fax from a number associated with the UM football program.

Four days after the start of Gibbons’ expulsion, Hoke told reporters in Arizona that Gibbons did not travel with the team to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because of “family reasons.”

The Ann Arbor police confirmed that while Gibbons was arrested for a November, 2009, incident, no charges were filed and the case was closed in 2010. There have been no other charges or prosecution against Gibbons.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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