University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced yesterday that athletic director Dave Brandon has resigned, effective immediately.
The university has been under extensive fire since last month when quarterback Shane Morris was injured against Minnesota. Morris initially sustained an ankle injury, but the plays weren’t adjusted to accommodate the ailment. Instead, he was throwing (which made himself a target), and that’s when he took a hit to the head by Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran.
After the hit, Morris was showing symptoms of a concussion and even needed the help of his teammates to walk. Michigan sent in the second string quarterback Devin Gardner, but he lost his helmet and Morris had to come back in for a play. According to reports, nobody realized the severity of the hit; not head coach Brady Hoke, or offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Even the doctors failed to initiate proper protocol.
When the university announced 12 hours later that Morris’ concussion was “probable,” it angered fans because Hoke failed to address the issue when it initially happened, and to many, it appeared that the athletics department was more interested in deflecting a public relations nightmare, than the welfare of a student-athlete.
Brandon — a former Michigan football player, under famed Wolverine coach Bo Schembechler — said that he was “hurt” by the reactions fans had following the incident, and believed to have had a good relationship with Michigan’s fans, alumni, and students. But since 2010 when Brandon was appointed, the culture began to change into that which resembled a corporate model, and supporters began expressing criticism towards the new structure.
“Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department and the university community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and University to continue without daily distractions.” Schlissel said. “And I agree with this decision.”
It appeared for a while that “ConcussionGate” would lead to his demise, and now the hammer has fallen on an otherwise esteemed Michigan alum.
“There is no doubt that Dave loves the University of Michigan, and he wants to see us move forward and succeed. I thank him for his long service and lifelong commitment to Michigan,” Schissel added.
Midway through the press conference on Friday, Schlissel named 59-year old Jim Hackett as the interim athletics director. Hackett is a recently retired chief executive officer of Michigan-based Steelcase Inc., an office furniture manufacturer.
Hackett played center at the University of Michigan, and graduated in 1977. Since then, he has become a strong community leader, and is currently a member of the board of advisors for Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Life Sciences Institute.
The appointment is pending approval by Michigan’s Board of Regents this month, but Schlissel has already stated that Hackett is not a permanent candidate.
Until Michigan finds its new athletics director, Hackett wanted the Go Blue community to know, “I am humbled to help during this interim period to keep our momentum as a great institution.”
(h/t to MichiganDaily.com for the transcript.)
*Section Credit to MaizeAndGoBlue ; Featured Photo (above) credit to Rick Osentoski, USA Today Sports