Feds investigating Michigan’s handling of Brendan Gibbons rape case

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Former Michigan Wolverines kicker Brendan Gibbons was kicked out of school about a month ago, coincidentally right around the time his college football eligibility expired. You don’t know the name Brendan Gibbons?

Well, neither do many other people. And that’s surprising considering the magnitude of the crime he’s being investigated for and the high profile of Michigan football.

Brendan Gibbons is somehow out of the headlines, despite the fact that the Federal government is investigating how the University handled Gibbons allegedly raping a fellow Michigan athlete.

Brendan Gibbons Mug Shot

And since the Feds began their query, the Michigan student government made a request for transparency in this case. The University denied their request.

Now that Prince Shembo had to admit that he was investigated for an alleged sexual assault of Lizzy Seeberg, who committed suicide ten days after the incident occurred, the topic of Gibbons should be coming up even more. The situations are similar. Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly has since admitted that ND could have done a much better job with the Shembo investigation.

It appears Michigan could have done a much better job with the Brendan Gibbons investigation too. From USA Today:

Brendan Gibbons, a former kicker for Michigan, was “permanently separated” from the university in December under school policy, the Michigan Daily reported last month.

Brendan Gibbons, a fifth-year player who had been taking graduate school classes, was removed for “violating the university’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy,” based on a letter the campus newspaper said was sent to Gibbons’ Florida home on Dec. 19 by Michigan’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution. The office deals with disciplinary proceedings against students.

After being Michigan’s starting kicker for the past four seasons, Gibbons did not play in the Nov. 30 Ohio State game due to what coach Brady Hoke later described as a muscle problem. That was 10 days after a separate document, reviewed by the Daily, cited there was “a preponderance of evidence” against an individual that “engaged in unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” The Daily identified Gibbons as that individual.

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The article says that Brady Hoke told the press that Brendan Gibbons had a physical injury keeping him away from the team. Then he had a family issue. Then the Michigan Daily first broke the story. The story of the sexual misconduct.

At first glance, you might think that UM conveniently expelled Gibbons after he could no longer placekick for him. That isn’t completely true as the alleged rape occurred before he even played a down of football. And he was so bad at his job at first that he had to be replaced. Gibbons did develop into a good kicker later, but that’s probably moot. This is about a much bigger issue than college football.

Here’s a more in-depth investigation into the case.

A quick excerpt:

Shortly after the woman reported the rape, she began to receive threats from Gibbons roommate and fellow football player, Taylor Lewan (now an All-American), that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons. 

The threats were reported by two other football players to the Office of Student Affairs who reported them to the University police. The University police did a “wellness check” on the young woman and met with Taylor Lewan. They warned Taylor Lewan not to threaten the woman again and that he might face criminal charges. No criminal charges were ever filed by the campus police.

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Just like in the Shembo case, you have a teammate and friend allegedly making threats to the victim shortly after the incident.

Brendan Gibbons may not have a future in the NFL, but Lewan does. Along with Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson, he’s considered one of the top offensive tackle prospects in this draft. So NFL teams may want to do their due diligence on him before they consider drafting him. More importantly, regarding Brendan Gibbons, perhaps the U.S. Government will uncover something about this case that the local and campus governments missed.

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent analyst on news talk radio; with regular segments on ESPN,NBCCBS and Fox. A former NBC Chicago and Washington Times writer, he’s also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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Comments

  1. Bill Baumeiste says:

    Just what the football program needs – more bad news. This is about as much fun as hitting myself over the head with a hammer. When will it end?? Where is Dave Brandon now?? He is always so full of cheery comments.

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