Michigan president addresses athletic concerns
FLINT, Mich. (AP) Michigan President Mark Schlissel said Thursday he is examining issues within the school’s athletic department.
Athletic Director Dave Brandon and football coach Brady Hoke have been criticized in recent weeks, particularly after quarterback Shane Morris was not immediately removed from the Sept. 27 game against Minnesota after a hard hit.
Schlissel said Thursday at a Michigan regents’ meeting that he was ”deeply disappointed” in the department’s response and handling of that situation. Hoke said Sept. 29 that he didn’t see the hit on Morris and that the quarterback hadn’t been diagnosed with a concussion. But 12 hours later Brandon released a statement saying Morris had been diagnosed a day after the game with a probable concussion.
Schlissel also indicated he wants to do an in-depth review of Michigan athletics.
”There are a number of additional issues facing our athletics department, that will require a longer-term approach as we work to establish the right balance between competitiveness, financial stability and the athletic traditions we hold dear,” Schlissel said. ”I’m being thoughtful and deliberative in examining these issues.”
Michigan student president Bobby Dishell described to the regents the frustration students have toward the athletic department. But he also noted that Brandon and the athletic department have been responsive to student concerns recently and agreed to lower prices for student football tickets next year.
Regents Mark Bernstein and Andrea Fischer Newman spoke with reporters after the meeting. Both acknowledged the football program’s problems have brought greater scrutiny.
”You’ve got to look at the whole athletic department,” Newman said. ”You’ve got to look at the addition of sports, you’ve got to look at the addition of facilities. You’ve got to look at what we’ve done with women’s sports. You’ve got to look at the money that’s been raised, you’ve got to look at the budget. There’s a lot of good things being done on campus right now in athletics.”
Bernstein said it’s important for the board to support the president in figuring out the best course of action.
”The Shane Morris incident, the poor performance of the football team, is like a spark in a very, very dry forest, and there’s not a lot of water around right now,” Bernstein said, adding that it makes things more complex.
”But at the same time, we all care deeply about this university, we care about the student-athletes, who are working hard every day at a game that they love,” he said. ”We care about our students, our fans, our alums, and we want to get this right.”