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Former Michigan Players Start Petition For Bo Schembechler

Bo Schembechler wearing a Michigan hat.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Former head coach Bo Schembechler of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the 91st Rose Bowl Game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2005 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

An ugly situation is brewing within Michigan football surrounding legendary coach Bo Schembechler's legacy, as it relates allegations made against former athletic department physician Dr. Robert Anderson.

Anderson is accused of sexual harassment and abuse by numerous former Michigan athletes during his tenure at the school. According to a report by WilmerHale, which was retained by the school to investigations against the doctor, who died in 2008, more than 300 alleged victims came forward, "approximately 90-percent of whom were male."

One of the victims is Matt Schembechler, the son of the late UM coach. Last week, he said that he was molested by Anderson during a physical conducted when he was young. “That was the first time he closed-fist punched me,” Matt told ESPN of his father's alleged violent reaction. “It knocked me all the way across the kitchen.”

Matt Schembechler was joined by former players Daniel Kwiatkowski and Gilvanni Johnson, who have also come forward about Anderson's alleged misconduct, and the blind eye that Bo Schembechler turned to it during his lengthy tenure at the school. Matt Schembechler says that he told his father about the incident in 1969, which was the coach's first year at Michigan. Kwiatkowski says he was abused, and informed Schembechler, in 1977, while Johnson did the same in 1982. Now, as some are pushing for the school to strip his name from campus, a group of his former players have come to his defense, launching a petition to defend the late coach.

"Our experiences tell us that the Bo Schembechler we knew would never have tolerated any abuse or mistreatment of his players, his staff, or any other individual," the petition, posted to Change.org, says. "We believe firmly, that if he were aware of such behavior, Coach Schembechler would have acted immediately to put a stop to it and would have made sure anyone responsible for it would have been removed from the University of Michigan football program.

"We acknowledge and believe that there was abuse, egregious abuse of our teammates. We acknowledge and believe that they did share with Bo, the uncomfortable and alarming experiences they had with Dr. Anderson. We also need to point out that Bo came from a background where uncomfortable, invasive physicals were the norm. If Bo knew that Dr. Anderson was taking these examinations to the level of perversion and abuse that he was, it would have stopped."

The petition doesn't outline any specific goals other than to "dispute these allegations" for Bo Schembechler, who passed away in 2006.

We'll have more on this ugly situation as it continues on.