Sports Illustrated: Latest Details in Gibbons Case May Leave Many Unanswered Questions

By DJ Byrnes on February 15, 2014 at 4:02p
Former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons |

Our old friend George Dohrmann is back on the college football grind, and this time he's sinking his teeth into something a lot meatier than a fixed 1980's football camp raffle: Brendan Gibbons' prolonged expulsion from Michigan due to a 2009 sexual assault that left — and these are Michigan's words — a preponderance of evidence in its wake.

Here's the scene from the public part of a Michigan Board of Regents meeting in 2011: 

"You don't need to travel to Penn State to find a university administration who has failed to protect the alleged victims of sexual assaults," [Dr. Douglas] Smith began. He went on to describe how in 2009 then-freshman kicker Brendan Gibbons allegedly raped another freshman student-athlete at a fraternity party. The incident was reported to campus and Ann Arbor police. The victim took a rape kit, which revealed vaginal tearing. According to a police report obtained by Smith, authorities learned that a friend of the victim was told by one of Gibbons' teammates that if the victim pressed charges "then I'm going to rape her because, [Gibbons] didn't." A short time later, the victim cut off contact with police and the case went dormant.

After outlining the alleged incident from two years before, Smith asked of Coleman and the others at the table: "Where was the university administration when it came time to protect this victim and assure her that she had the support of the administration? Where was SAPAC (the school's Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center)? Where were the campus police? Why were neither Gibbons nor the football player who threatened to rape her brought up on charges of violating the student code of conduct?"

Let Michigan fans tell it, and Dr. Smith is a former Michigan employee who is hell-bent on the destruction of Michigan. Let me tell it, and it seems like a community do-gooder was the only one in Ann Arbor who kept this sexual assault from being swept under a rug.

And Michigan fans love to mention "charges were never pressed." This ignores the nature of most sexual assaults. Smith, on his website, says Taylor Lewan was the one responsible for threatening the victim:

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[9] and met with Taylor Lewan. They warned Taylor Lewan not to threaten the woman again and that he might face criminal charges[10]. No criminal charges were ever filed by the campus police. 

Wow, after reading this, I can't imagine why a young woman wouldn't want to go through a full prosecution of a Michigan football player. Really mind-bending, huh?

Gibbons' dismissal raised many questions, most of which are still unanswered despite consistent pressure from The Michigan Daily and people like Smith. Why did the school not do something back in 2009 or, at the least, in 2011 when Smith brought the alleged crime to the attention of Coleman and others? Further, what prompted the school to finally examine an incident?

The answers to those questions and others remain outstanding in no small part because of the school's liberal interpretation of privacy laws, including the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). According to the Department of Education website, FERPA does not shield "final results of a disciplinary proceeding related to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense," provided that "the student who is the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the school's rules or policies."

So, Michigan, who claims its investigation and process was on the up-and-up, won't even release the date of when the investigation began. DEFINITELY NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS.

The whole piece about Michigan's shameful response — Michigan's student newspaper's words — is enough to make your stomach turn. I don't even want to think of what I'd do if the victim were my daughter.

I also patiently await a 1,800 word missive from a Michigan fan telling me "I've got it all wrong," but if Michigan had it right, then I'm completely okay with being "wrong" on this issue.

Until then, I'll just leave this here:



Comments Show All Comments

JohnnyKozmo's picture

Whether it's TSUN or  not, it's an absolute joke the way all of the major colleges seem to handle these types of cases.  When I found out I was having a daughter, the first thing I did was buy a shotgun.  I'm not an overly religious person, but heaven help the person who touches my daughter.  They'll be begging for the shotgun at that point.

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+13 HS
popeurban's picture

A year ago my wife and I had our first.  Little boy, but I was scared to death to have a girl for your same thoughts.  The male gender can really be scum at times.  Good luck.

+2 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Thanks, but for now she's holding her own.  There was a bully in day care, little boy.  She put him in his place.


Little boy on the way now.  She'll have some help soon!!!

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

I also have a little girl...& a shotgun! While I joke about it all the time, my biggest worry in this world is to protect her.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+1 HS
prevetbuck's picture

You want to protect your and/or every one elses' daughters? In reality, the most important thing that you can do is teach your sons that girls/women are human beings, not some alien species or prize to be won. That trying to touch/kiss/etc. someone (anyone) that doesn't want you to is not okay, even when you're both four years old and it's "oh so cute". We shape our children's attitudes from the time they are very young, and as a society we obviously need to do a much better job.

Sorry if this sounds adversarial, but I look at the high school cases that have happened recently (Steubenville, etc.) where both the victims and perpetrators are legitimately children and my immediate thought is who taught those boys that treating a person like that is funny, acceptable, or anything other than horrific? How did they get to the point that they see so little value in the victim that such a violation is nonchalant?

Yes, the male gender can be scum sometimes; the reality is that there are a lot of aspects of our society and culture that normalize the idea that women carry little value beyond their ability to fulfill the sexual fantasies of men. That violence is power and the subjugation and objectification of women is necessary to embody a "real man". Our responsibility to future generations of daughters and sons is to combat those ideas.

+3 HS
toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Raise him properly and you won't have any problems with him.  From a parent who has two daughters.

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

This is basically a shit sandwich all around. I hate scUM, but I also don't give two fucks for any of the libelous drivel that pours from George Dorhmann, fuck that guy!

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+6 HS
teddyballgame's picture

I guess he was expelled for "family issues" as Hoke would say.  

+2 HS
BUCKfutter's picture

or for having an undisclosed injury

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Chief B1G Dump's picture

We still dont know if there was any type of consent in the Gibbons case...
But we do know for sure that Taylor Lewan is an absolute piece of garbage. We know Hoke lied about this from the Iowa game until now. And we also know TSUN has handled this horribly and has been sketchy as hell about it.

We also know Dorhmann is a vulture muckraker and I refuse to give his predetermined hack jobs any clicks.

+9 HS
popeurban's picture

Good points.  I don't pretend to know how a rape kit works, but I find it hard to imagine vaginal tearing from consensual sex.  That is what court is for I guess; too bad this wasn't fully investigated because it seems the girl was threatened into keeping quiet.  

+2 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

It will be interesting to see how much, if any this affects Lewan's draft stock.  A year ago, he was a projected top 3 pick.  He had a so-so year, and you know this will be brought up at the combine, especially after this mess with Darren Sharper.  

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+1 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

So many people standing on opposite sides of a fence yelling at each other about this. Another thing I just want to be done with. Throw him in jail, hell grab Lewan and toss him in too.

M Man's picture

You're just trolling me at this point, aren't you?

I think I've already written more than 1,800 words.  Check it out.

-3 HS
Bucks's picture

Don't know about the writer, but I've read your thoughts on this. You certainly have a view on the situation and a firm belief.

Let me ask you though... Is there anything that will change your mind?

+2 HS
M Man's picture

Well that's an interesting question.

I might ask, "Change my mind about what?"

  • Did Gibbons commit a sexual assault?

We all probably want to know the answer to that.  We'd need a trial in criminal court to even come close to an answer.  Even then, reasonable minds might differ.  But at least in criminal court, the evidence is in the open.  Witnesses and stories can be challenged.  People are under oath.  We have an adversarial system for sorting it out.  But you know how far we were from a trial; there were never even any charges filed by police with the prosecutor's office, even though all the local newspapers had the story.

  • Why was Gibbons expelled?

Another good question.  We need the transcript of the proceedings.  But they are kept secret, by rule, because both sides -- accused as well as accuser -- are not protected as they would be in court, and because the proceedings are not designed to prove guilt but rather to resolve "student conflict."

  • Why did Hoke seemingly go so far in misleading the press?

I don't know, and I don't think you actually need me to "change my mind" on this topic.  I have been picking on Hoke for this very thing -- being far too cavalier in how he dodges questions -- for a lot longer than anyone at 11W knows.  I make no excuses for Hoke.  I do understand, because it is the only sensible understanding, that Brady Hoke goes to extremes to protect his players when he feels they are deserving protection from the press.  Including, it would seem, actively misleading the press.  I wish Hoke had better command with his press appearances.  It's way too much Aww Shucks combined with Fort Schembechler-Speak.  I think Hoke is an exceedingly genuine person, privately.  He's borderline incompetent with the press.

  • Was there a cover-up of a Gibbons crime?

I don't think anything will convince me that there was.  The police investigated, almost immediately.  The press had the story, and had nothing to go further on.  The Washtenaw County Prosecutors Offiice has NEVER been reluctant to bring charges against Michigan football players.  Just ask Josh Furman, Frank Clark, Fitz Toussaint or Darryl Stonum.  Furman in particular; they took him to trial on a crappy case that should never have even been charged, and Furman got a not guilty verdict.

We know for a fact that the Gibbons case was reopened four years after the fact, based solely on a new standard of extreme political-correctness out of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

My bottom line on this is that I think we will someday understand that the Gibbons case will always have been one of a weak allegation that would never have stood up in court, but that this case (and many more I expect) will serve as a stark reminder that Title IX "sexual assault" allegations don't take much.  We will all remember Brendan Gibbons someday when the next football player who swears (and who may pass a polygraph) that he had consensual sex with a coed is nonetheless disciplined because she had been drinking and her consent (however disputed) is in doubt.

OSU_undergrad's picture

Fuck Taylor Lewan...he does not deserve to get drafted. But since he will I hope he gets absolutely destroyed, and then ends up in jail somehow. It makes me so mad that a fuck like him gets an opportunity to play in the NFL...just hearing about what he said makes me wish injury upon him and I don't care if that's not okay.

+4 HS
buckeyestu's picture

If that had been my daughter, they both would be in a world of hurt. Scum sucks even more so today. Hope Lewan gets what he deserves in the NFL, pos is all he his, lower than scum. Fits right in at aacc.

+1 HS
BUCKSOMIES's picture

This is absolute bullshit if true.  Not only does the scums Lewan & Gibbons deserve to go to the "big house", but the scum that is meatchicken should also be held accountable.  This is no different the PSU's bullshit.

chili96's picture

While it under the same umbrella of despicable behavior, this is different from Penn State. Raping children and covering it up over many many years. But it is the same in that the authorities did basically nothing to protect the victim.

Parents should be allowed to shoot dead anyone that rapes their child.

+1 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

that video clip of Gibbon's post game interview is full of ick.

1.  Hoke's advice for a BCS game winning FG attempt came from his hedsetless, hand clapping body as follows:  just think of brunnettes

2. Va Tech should have won that game anyway because that VaTech WR wasn't awarded a TD catch in the endzone, despite , imo, video evidence of a catch.

3.  the image of Gibbons, and his psuedo-twin to his right at the press table remind me of classic frat boy douches from college days.

+4 HS
Ericgobucks's picture

Keep moving...nothing to see here....*whistles* I know there wasn't a coverup because "M Man" said so. Good enough for me! 

At Ohio State we are involved in real crime of selling rings for tattoos, but Michigan has standards that they will be glad to shove in your face (while they are on probation for cheating, and apparently covering up a sexual assault.) 

+1 HS
wilkins0802's picture

So is the NCAA going to be doing any digging into this at all? Or am I just hoping at this point?

Truth & Courage, 1-17IN, 5/2 SBCT


Alice in Aggieland's picture

Since Penn State, I think we've seen the NCAA take a hands-off approach to sexual assault cases (see: Notre Dame, FSU, TSUN). 

Honestly, what I find most disturbing about these cases is that the onus now seems to be on the victims to follow through on complaints. The moment rape survivors are labeled "noncompliant" their cases seem to be tossed by the wayside, even when there's a preponderance of physical evidence.