ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Hundreds of students rallied at the Diag on Tuesday evening to protest Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon in light of his department’s handling of the Shane Morris injury.
Morris, who wasn’t taken out of Saturday’s game versus Minnesota despite nearly fainting after taking a brutal hit, is now said to have a “probable, mild concussion.” Now Brandon and head coach Brady Hoke are feeling the heat for not immediately pulling him from the game, among other woes.
Students chanted “Fire Brandon,” while others waved signs. One sign read “Tradition Not Money” while another read, “Buy 2 Cokes get a Free AD” in response to the athletic department reportedly partnering with Coca Cola to give away highly discounted football tickets.
The protest also drew several local media outlets, as well as helicopters covering the rally.
“He needs to go. Both he [Brandon] and Hoke need to be gone,” one student told the Review. “Ultimately, Brandon should be held accountable.”
“This isn’t helpful,” said Dan, a senior engineering student and onlooker. “ This is a complex issue and this rally just complicates things. Not to mention it’s a distraction for the team.”
A petition was launched late Monday night by Ford School student Zeid El-Kilani, calling for the firing of Dave Brandon. As of Wednesday morning the petition had over 10,400 student, staff, and alumni signers.
“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 states. “Furthermore, policies and decisions of the athletic department have alienated the current student body. As a result, the university risks producing a generation of alumni that are disinterested and disengaged.”
Brandon released a statement early Tuesday morning addressing student-athlete safety, referring to Morris’ injury as being a “probable, mild concussion.”
“There was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline. Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes,” Brandon explained. “I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made.”
“We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.”
President Mark Schlissel also issued a statement on Tuesday, calling for a review of in-game safety procedures.
“Despite having one of the finest levels of team medical expertise in the country, our system failed on Saturday,” Schlissel said. “We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates, and the entire Michigan family.”
The Board of Regents has yet to comment on the handling of Morris’ injury or the future of Dave Brandon’s tenure as athletic director.