And so it ends.
The nearly five-year tenure of Michigan athletic director David Brandon will come to an end today. Sources have informed GoBlueWolverine that he has already met with his leadership team, and that University President Mark Schlissel will make the formal announcement at 1:30 today.
That will officially bring to a close one of the most tumultuous months in the athletic department's history. There had long been terse criticism of Brandon from fans and alums who saw his vision as “too corporate” and his approach for dealing with the public as “too abrasive.” But the voices of discontent grew the loudest in the last month.
Intense local and national scrutiny of Michigan’s athletic governance followed the mishandling of the Shane Morris concussion incident. After a communication breakdown amongst the medical staff led to Michigan headman Brady Hoke unknowingly re-inserting a concussed Morris back into Michigan’s September 27th match-up with Minnesota, Brandon compounded the error in the days to follow. His oversight of the process subsequent to the game led to Hoke being excluded from diagnosing and ultimately rectifying the breakdown. As a result Hoke addressed the media during his normal Monday press conference and reported in error that Morris did not have a concussion. Later it was revealed that that Brandon’s investigation the day prior had determined that Morris was indeed concussed.
A late night press release contradicting Hoke was sent from Brandon’s office less than 12 hours after the gridiron headman’s false report. The ineptitude was then officially on full display. That turned out to be the catalyst for multiple displays of protests against Brandon, including a student-led rally. The University’s Board of Regents soon got in on the act with one of the most heavily attended meetings in years. They held an open forum where scathing critiques were prevalent. Both Schlissel and the Regents made clear their intent to thoroughly review the situation, but it was Schlissel’s job to make the final decision.
The President’s process included speaking to students, alums, and multiple high-level donors. That donor input may have been the final nail in Brandon’s coffin. Multiple donors informed Schlissel of their intent to cease donations until the situation was resolved. Then on Monday, the school's biggest donor, real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, retreated to a neutral position on Brandon’s future after previously voicing his ardent support. The resignation should pave the way for a search process that has likely already been vetting candidates for weeks.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on this breaking story in the hours to come.
Related Stories:Major Developments Could Speed U-M Timeline
Hoke Expects Job Status Talk After Season
New Student Ticket Plan Announced
Michigan Makes Multiple Student Concessions
U-M President Hears Calls for Change
Are Michigan Regents Taking Aim at the A.D.?
Students “Let Up” on Kickoff Boycott
Student Protest Ratcheting Up a Notch
Are These Humbling Times for Michigan’s AD? ”
Michigan AD Says Hoke “Not Accountable”
Tides of Frustration Raging in Ann Arbor
Brandon: Morris Has Probable, Mild Concussion
SAAC Speaks up for Brandon
U-M President Offers Latest Apology
Michigan Students Protest Athletic Department