Update: 'Brady Hoke Must Be Fired' -- Michigan Daily Column

September 29, 2014, 2:17 PM

Football coach Brady Hoke committed "a direct violation of the NCAA concussion policy" by letting quarterback Shane Morris keep playing after a head-to-head hit Saturday, says a column in the University of Michigan's student newspaper.

"It is the position from all four of us on The Michigan Daily football beat that Hoke be fired immediately," adds the commentary from sports managing editors Greg Garno and Alejandro Zúñiga, plus writers Max A. Cohen and Alexa Dettelbach. It's headlined "Brady Hoke must be fired."

After the hit, Hoke didn’t even ensure the quarterback got off the field to follow basic protocol to check for a concussion. . . .

Brady Hoke’s actions were indefensible, and we can no longer stand behind his employment at Michigan.

At his weekly media briefing Monday afternoon, Hoke spoke about Morris' status during the home game against Minnesota. "I don't make decisions on who plays and who doesn't play," he said, explaining that trainers make the call.

"Hindsight is good. It’s easy today,” Hoke is quoted as saying by CBS Detroit. “It’s easy yesterday."

He declined to discuss the decision or possible risk to Morris, responding: "You'e being hypothetical and we're not going to work in hypotheticals." 

The student journalists see it starkly:

Whether Hoke witnessed what occurred on the field or not, it’s his job to know everything that goes on around his football team, with the health of players at the forefront of those responsibilities. . . .

We do not condone someone who jeopardizes the health of the student-athletes for which he is responsible. Because if Brady Hoke cares about his players and taking his 115 boys and turning them into men as he so often preaches, then the first lesson he should be teaching is that no win on the gridiron is more important than their health. . . .

Hoke has preached accountability and leadership, but he showed little of either Saturday.

Part of being a leader is the humility to admit mistakes, and he failed to acknowledge an egregious error.

We’re students too, growing and learning like the athletes. And we were appalled to see Morris left on the field. We imagine our parents mortified, watching someone else’s blatant disregard for their son or daughter’s health.

Because if Morris indeed suffered a concussion, even a light bump to the head could have been fatal.

Original article, Sunday morning:

Another weekend, another set of howls about UM football coach Brady Hoke.

This time, he's the target of harsh criticism over a decision late in Saturday's game that Timothy Burke describes at Deadspin:

Michigan quarterback Shane Morris took a nasty, and illegal, hit to the skull in the fourth quarter of last night's loss to Minnesota. Not only was Morris immediately reinserted into the game, but Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke claimed " I didn't know if [Morris] had a concussion or not." . . .

Morris — who even before the hit to the head was limping due to a leg injury — would eventually be carted off the field.

Brady Hoke talks to Shane Morris, who was wobbly after a hard hit in the fourth quarter. (ESPN screengrab)

Deadspin, which posts an ESPN video, has a typically blunt: "Brady Hoke's Dangerous Incompetence So Bad ESPN Announcers Denounce It." 

Burke quotes from the closed-caption transcript of on-air remarks by Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham. (An ABC News segment that aired Sunday night is embedded below.) Excerpts:

Cunningham: They have got to get him out of the ballgame!

Patrick: I'm totally with you. He has got to come out. I mean, he was wobbly after that. . . .

Cunningham: I can tell you that Number 7 [Morris] in this game is appalling. It is appalling that he was left in on that p;lay to throw the ball again. . . .Having a quarterback in the game after a hit like that is terrible looking after a young player.

Brady Hoke: :"If he didn’t want to be in he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down."

At a press conference after the 30-14 loss in Ann Arbor (transcript here), Hoke was asked about his decision to let Shane back on the field. "I don’t know if he might’ve had a concussion or not," he replied. "Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid and Shane wanted to be the quarterback. And so believe me, if he didn’t want to be in he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down.”

The coach says he didn't know the player staggered after being hit by defensive Lineman Thieren Cockran. "I didn't see it," he told reporters at Michigan Stadium.

At Deadspin, Burke comes down hard:

That Hoke puts his players in such danger either through negligence or active malfeasance ought to mean this is the last time we see him on the sidelines. After all, there are reasonable arguments that Morris shouldn't have been in the game even before his apparent head injury given his lack of mobility and, thus, ability to protect himself. . . .

Brady Hoke is either blind, stupid, or a liar. Fire this asshole.

-- Alan Stamm

Read more:  The Michigan Daily

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