Desperate times call for desperate measures, and times are sure desperate in the University of Michigan football program. Most pundits declared head coach Brady Hoke a short-timer at the beginning of the season. The home loss to Utah added fuel to the fire, and the loss Saturday to the Golden Gophers poured gasoline on it. However, it was Hoke’s desperation coaching move on Saturday, endangering a player, that has sparked calls for his immediate dismissal.
K. John, with his Ann Arbor ties, says he would be shocked if [the University] fired him in mid-season, regardless of the situation. However, as counterpoint, I offer the recent sensitivities of the NCAA and its member schools toward athletic injuries, particularly the senseless ones caused by coaching decisions.
In case you hadn’t heard or watched the Minnesota game, sophomore quarterback Shane Morris was allowed to play with what appeared to be concussion symptoms. He could barely stand up and was visibly dazed.
Hoke issued the following manufactured statement on Sunday, cleansed of any potential liability risk by UM corporate counsel:
“The safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority. We generally never discuss the specifics of a student-athlete’s medical care, but Shane Morris was removed from yesterday’s game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest. He was evaluated by our experienced athletic trainers and team physicians, and we’re confident proper medical decisions were made.
“The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of Certified Athletic Trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition. The health and welfare of our student-athletes is and will continue to be a top priority.”
Medical evaluation mistakes can be made, but the kid should have been given the benefit of the doubt. No brown jug is worth risking permanent brain damage or damage to any other part of a young kid’s body. What a crock! (Pun intended — give me a break!)
The ever vigilant sports news junkie Joe passed along some of the Michigan partisan backlash he encountered in his journalistic perusals. Two UM blogs provided details and opinions well worth sharing with my broader audience, all seven of you.
From the Maize N Brew blog, Drew Hallet along with the editors of MnB posit that Hoke should get the axe today. It is well written and worthy of a few minutes of your time.
From the well-respected and always informative MGoBlue blog, we have Hoke’s post-game press conference transcript. Comments on the Minnesota game itself are also available at that blog.
In other mid-season coaching changes, Charlie Weis was dumped by Kansas.
So, when do you think the axe will fall on Hoke?