University Regent Denise Ilitch (D) told a local CBS television program Sunday that the regents plan to discuss the Athletic Department at Thursday’s monthly meeting.

Ilitch appeared on Michigan Matters Sunday morning and said she has received extensive feedback regarding sophomore quarterback Shane Morris’ concussion sustained against Minnesota Sept. 27, how his injury was handled by the football team and the status of the Athletic Department as a whole.

“The system failed that day and there are a lot of issues we need to review now,” Ilitch told Michigan Matters.

She said the regents will be discussing athletics Thursday and she expects many concerned citizens to speak out during the meeting’s public commentary portion. The official agenda, released Monday, does not currently include any discussion of athletics. However, it is not uncommon for supplemental agendas to be presented during meetings at the last minute. The meetings of the Board of Regents are regularly scheduled, public gatherings that occur monthly and the dates are typically set more than one year in advance. The regents meet once per year at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus, usually in October.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said he does not expect any formal discussion of athletics to occur at Thursday’s meeting and said he has no indication there would be any kind of supplemental agenda. However, he said athletics could come up during the public comments portion of the meeting.

During public comments, members of the public are given the opportunity to address the board for up to five minutes. Regents sometimes respond to these comments from their table, but often do not. Public commenters are required to sign-up for a speaking slot the day before the meeting.

The Athletic Department has been under scrutiny following Morris’ injury when he was diagnosed with a “probable, mild concussion” suffered in the fourth quarter, but was left in the game.

Michigan Football Coach Brady Hoke and University Athletic Director Dave Brandon have been under fire since the incident, with students organizing a petition calling for Brandon’s firing and organizing an impromptu “Fire Dave Brandon” rally that eventually congregated on University President Mark Schlissel’s front lawn.

However, the regents can only advise University President Schlissel on personnel matters. Schlissel is the only one with the power to unilaterally fire Brandon. As of now, if Brandon is let go for reasons not specifically outlined in his contract, he is guaranteed the remainder of his salary, as well as remaining deferred compensation of around $3 million.

Fitzgerald said the regents have broad oversight responsibilities over the entire university, but do not have any specific directives related to policymaking for University athletics. In recent months, most of board votes related to the Athletic Department pertained to facilities. In September, the regents approved the construction of a $168 million athletics performance space for South Campus. Over the summer, the board voted down a proposal to launch fireworks at last weekend’s night football game against Penn State.

Many students see the Morris incident as the tipping point following a string of problems with athletics, including the permanent separation of former kicker Brendan Gibbons and issues with the student ticket policy.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily last week, Schlissel said a review of the University’s student-athlete safety policies are underway and he expects a report to be delivered to the public in the next few weeks.

He cited safety as his first priority and declined to discuss the possibility of personnel changes within the Athletic Department.

“I don’t talk about personnel matters in public or in newspapers,” Schlissel said. “As a principle of the humane treatment of colleagues as well as the appropriateness of privacy of personnel matters. They’re not public matters so I don’t address hiring or firing. It’s just not the right thing to do in public.”

Schlissel reiterated that he is ultimately responsible for personnel decisions and said his job is to help the institution’s executive officers ensure the University functions in the most effective way possible.

“One thing I like to do is be a little more thoughtful and reflective… People get very excited and they jump to conclusions. Sometimes the conclusions are right and sometimes they’re not and I really feel that my job is to learn as much as I can and about circumstances I’m responsible for… deal with things that have immediacy to them, like player safety, but the bigger issues of how we can make our athletics program more connected to our undergraduate students, to our alums, that’s a longer term problem.”

The relevant part of the conversation begins at 2:40 in the video below.

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