Michigan football coach Brady Hoke spoke to reporters on Monday for the first time since The Michigan Daily reported last week that former kicker Brendan Gibbons was permanently separated from the University for violating the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy on Nov. 22, 2009.
“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,” Hoke said in a statement before talking with reporters. “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.”
Hoke continued, elaborating on Michigan football’s standards of conduct.
“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 we’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.”
According to media reports, Hoke did not mention Gibbons by name and did not disclose whether he was aware that Gibbons was permanently separated, citing federal privacy laws.
“Believe me, it’d be easier to discuss everything,” Hoke told reporters. “But due to privacy and everything else, it’s not going to happen.
“Federal laws and all that stuff, and University policy. ... And to be honest with you, it’s not fair to anybody involved with it (to discuss it publicly).”
The University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution found Gibbons responsible for the reported conduct on or before Nov. 20, 2013, but Gibbons played in the Nov. 23 game at Iowa. He did not play against Ohio State the following week because of what Hoke called an injury. Gibbons did not play in the Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because of what Hoke said were “family matters.”
According to reports, Hoke discussed working to resolve character issues in the past.
“You can go back and look at all the different cases that we’ve had — which we haven’t had many — but there’s been consequences and discipline and those things.”
Within the past year, Hoke suspended sophomore tight end A.J. Williams for one game after Williams was caught driving under the influence while being under the legal drinking age. Junior defensive end Frank Clark and fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint were also suspended one game after they were charged with felonious home invasion and driving under the influence, respectively.
“Track record, I’ve dealt with everything that’s happened on this team, from character issues to the integrity they have,” Hoke said, according to media reports. “Those are two of the most important things that I have, is my character and my integrity, and I got into coaching to help kids 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, as Michigan and me personally, I think is something that’s something that’s not true. Because we’ve dealt with it.
“I get a lot of help when something goes bad or a bad decision is made.”
Hoke is scheduled to meet with reporters again on Wednesday to discuss National Signing Day.