Revised University policies regarding sexual misconduct may have forced officials to internally review or re-review the allegations. The updated policies, which have been in effect since 2011, state that any allegation of sexual misconduct received by the University must be investigated.
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Reports made to officials other than those at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of Ombuds are not considered confidential and are expected to be investigated by OIE. The participation of survivors in sexual misconduct cases is not required for the disciplinary process to take place. Other individuals or University officials may report allegations.
A permanent separation would render an athlete ineligible to participate in any NCAA event. Michigan coach Brady Hoke said at a Dec. 23 press conference that Gibbons didn’t travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl because he was dealing with a family matter at home.
Ablauf, the Athletic Department spokesman, said he is unable to comment as to whether Hoke was referring to the permanent separation.
Earlier, on Nov. 30, 2013, Gibbons sat out the football team’s regular-season finale against Ohio State after team officials said he suffered an undisclosed muscle injury in the week leading up to the game.
“He’s a little iffy,” Hoke said on Dec. 16. “He’s kicking a little bit. But I don’t want to over-kick him. I’ve never been a kicker, so I can’t imagine that (muscle) problem. So he’s a little iffy.”
Hoke assumed the position of head coach in 2011, after the incident is alleged to have occurred.
Though it’s not clear what Gibbons’ career plans are, Vander Velde’s letter noted that he might be obligated to inform future schools or employers of the sexual misconduct case in order to comply with those organizations’ respective policies. The letter advises Gibbons to “make this disclosure in the future as appropriate and in a manner that authentically represents the behavior for which you have been found responsible.”
Gibbons is fourth in made field goals in Michigan history and owns the program record for consecutive successful extra points with 141.
The University offers many resources for counseling and reporting for survivors of Sexual Assault. A listing of available services can be found here. In addition, the University's Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center staffs a 24/7 crisis line at (734) 936-3333.
Slovin, the former Managing Editor, can be reached on Twitter at @MattSlovin. Rubenfire, the former Managing News Editor, can be reached on Twitter at @arubenfire.