Thursday, October 02, 2014

This Is How Bad Things Are at the School Up North

At a recent rally on the campus of a school in Ann Arbor calling for the resignation of the athletic director, a law student wore Ohio State attire. He said until Dave Brandon is fired, he will not wear maize and blue.

The protests, it should be said, were not as much about the performance of the football team on the field, as about its handling of the concussion of a quarterback during Michigan's loss to Minnesota this past Saturday.

ESPN analyst and one-time OSU QB Kirk Herbstreit said on this morning's Mike and Mike radio show that he thought that some of the criticism falling on head coach Brady Hoke for allowing his QB to re-enter the game after sustaining a concussion, was unfair. He explained that on football sidelines, head coaches are dependent on training and medical staff to tap him on the shoulder and inform him that Player X can't return to the game. Herbtreit says that what happened on Saturday is the fault of the medical staff and of the university itself.

I don't know about that. But I do know that all of this is catching Hoke and his program in a perfect storm. At a moment when we're all growing increasingly concerned about the high incidence of life-altering head injuries in football and when the football program appears to be in an ongoing tailspin on the scoreboard, Hoke and his staff must feel like they're trying to wrestle alligators and shake hands with an octopus at the same time.

The more important issue...more important than winning and more important than saving the revenue stream of college athletics or the jobs of coaches and athletic first, finding out what happened during the Minnesota-Michigan football game. Who dropped the ball when considering the safety and health of a young man who, even on the field, evidenced not doing well after taking a hit on the chin at the end of a play? Who looked at him? Who certified that he was good to go back into the game and why? What policies need to be in place in such instances?

Secondly, and more broadly, we all need to know what can be done to make football a safer game?

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