While the student body’s condemnation of former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons’ alleged sexual assault and support for his alleged victim signal a campus with a conscience, the same cannot be said for Michigan’s administration. The circumstances surrounding the University’s response (or rather, the lack thereof) to the reported assault point to a growing disconnect between the interests of students and those of the school, which has been veiled with boisterous displays of supposed focus on students (see: Victors for Michigan). Though such efforts may ultimately improve the quality and availability of the Michigan education, Michigan Athletics and the University of Michigan seem to be increasingly separate entities; the latter being deferential to the former.

According to John U. Bacon’s, a college football writer and Michigan alum, blog, Michigan Athletics has shed faculty control under Athletic Director Dave Brandon’s leadership. Bacon, who has interviewed former AD Bill Martin and former President James Duderstadt, claims this lack of regulation is responsible for the “unbridled expansion” of University Athletics that late Athletic Director Don Canham warned of. This expansion has occurred with limited benefit to student athletes, but amounts to a 62-percent increase in administrator compensation and a near tripling in the AD’s salary compared to his predecessor.

Though soaring ticket prices may already hurt students’ pocketbooks, Gibbons’ case should be taken to be the first example of Michigan’s profit-driven focus on athletics actually harming students . Students must now question whether administration will look after their welfare or act in the interest of athletic (read: financial) performance. The University may see repercussions as a result of the ongoing Department of Education investigation, but Michigan’s suspicious handling of this case and its delayed punishment does not bode well for students’ confidence in the University’s future decision making.

Jake Prosyniuk is an LSA junior.

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