Football fan questions Michigan’s player safety

By: Scott Peterson – Staff Writer

How do you handle a historically successful football team that is currently not producing results? This is the question University of Michigan head coach Brady Hoke must be asking himself. The 2014 football season has been nothing less than terrible both on and off of the field.

The season started with a win over Appalachian State, an ironic win considering an infamous game back in 2007, where a highly ranked Wolverines team lost to the NCAA subdivision opponent.

However, after that opening day victory, the problems started.

Michigan faced Notre Dame University, one of Michigan’s biggest rivals in their second game of the season. To add to the existing pressure, this was the last time these two teams met on the same field. This game was crucial to the team and its fans. The fact that they lost isn’t as upsetting as the fact that they looked pathetic doing it.

As the season continued tensions began to build. Three consecutive losses to the University of Utah, Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota sparked outrage against the program, but for the moment, all of the fan frustrations were contained in the on-the-field product.

The shameful record of the Wolverines is only one aspect of Michigan’s mess.

Controversy exploded when a late hit by Minnesota’s Theiren Cockran led to the concussion of quarterback Shane Morris. Morris was slow to get up and needed help from his players. Though clearly unhealthy and unstable, the coaching staff did not pull Morris until the crowd started to boo because it was evident that something was wrong.

Hoke finally realized this after the second play and pulled him. To make matters worse, Morris actually returned to the game.

Put simply, the way that Hoke and coaching staff handled the situation was poor.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said the problem arose from a lack of communication.

“I knew the kid had an ankle injury,” Hoke said. “That’s what I knew … we would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game, and [we] never have.”

Hoke does not take the blame for what happened as he should.

Concussions are not a new problem for the game of football. Football has been often ridiculed due to the side effect the game has on its players. Research has shown that these concussions lead to dementia and other brain problems.

Players have even sued the NFL because they felt the organization failed to keep them safe. Many parents are now hesitant to allow their kids to play football due to these safety problems.

To blame this on Coach Hoke alone would be wrong too. Dave Brandon, Michigan athletic director did not act correctly either. Brandon waited way too long to release any information about the injury. He didn’t announce anything until 1 a.m. the following Tuesday.

The only interview he has given is with the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, and even then, he is passing the blame on to Hoke. “That was just another example of the failure of communication that took place among all of the doctors, all of the trainers, and in this case the head coach. [We will] try and piece together what happened and what the real situation was,” said Brandon.

The blame is thrown both ways between Hoke and Brandon. They both need to be fired. Many students agree with this claim. In fact, students of the university have protested in front of the houses of Brandon and the president of the university.

Greg Iwnakowski, a season ticket holder, Michigan alumnus, and my uncle, hasn’t missed a home game in years.

He has seen the glory years and the terrible seasons. He said the situation does not look strong for Michigan right now.

Michigan has a lot of work to do and hard decisions to make. I believe this situation is going to look worse before it gets better.