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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Protest, controversy surround Michigan athletics

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A public protest is planned to take place Saturday at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., with the goal of firing Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon.

With the help of a donor, Michigan senior Craig Kaplan is organizing an event called “White Out, Dave Out.” Kaplan’s group hopes to distribute 2,000 white T-shirts that read, “We support the team, the team, the team. #FireDaveBrandon.”

In an email sent to petitioners, a group of protesters asked for students and fans to join the whiteout.

“We ask that you join us in the ‘White Out, Dave Out’ by wearing a white shirt to the football game this Saturday vs. Indiana as a show of protest against the current athletic director,” the email said.

The whiteout is another controversy surrounding the Michigan athletic department.

The team was criticized earlier this season after the coaching staff elected to keep quarterback sophomore Shane Morris on the field against Minnesota despite suffering a concussion.

Morris suffered the concussion in the fourth quarter of Michigan’s Sept. 27 game against Minnesota. After stumbling, Morris left the game for a play before later being reinstated, apparently not undergoing a proper evaluation for head trauma.

NCAA policy mandates that a player must be removed from the game immediately upon showing any signs of concussion, but Michigan Coach Brady Hoke said his coaching staff and medical personnel did not see the incident in real time to be aware of the concussion.

Brandon released a statement three days after the game admitting that Morris suffered a concussion and apologizing for the mistake.

That prompted a petition by graduate student Zeid El-Kilani calling for Brandon and President Mark Schilissel to be fired immediately.

“Unfortunately, under Mr. Brandon’s tenure, the football program, one of the most prominent programs at the University of Michigan and in the nation, has become a black eye for the University of Michigan,” the petition summary read.

“Instead of adding to the image and prestige of the university, the state of the athletic department has hurt the connection shared between alumni, fans and the university.”

Further adding to the controversy surrounding the program, Hoke once again apologized this week for his players driving a stake into the turf at Spartan Stadium prior to the Michigan vs. Michigan State game last week.

As a symbol of team unity, Michigan senior Joe Boldon took a stake onto the field and drove it into the ground.

Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio expressed displeasure with the act in the postgame press conference after the Spartans defeated the Wolverines 35-11.

Dantonio questioned the team’s leadership. Hoke said the situation was overblown.

Hoke said he and Dantonio “go back a long, long way” and have since talked about the incident.

“The only thing I can tell you is Joe (Bolden) feels as bad as anyone,” Hoke said. “That wasn’t the intent. There was no disrespect intended for anybody.”

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