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College Sports World Reacts To Developing Michigan Hockey Situation

Michigan hockey players huddle in front of the net before a Frozen Four game.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 07: The Michigan Wolverines huddle together before taking on the Denver Pioneers in the Division I Men's Ice Hockey Semifinals held at the TD Garden on April 07, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Damian Strohmeyer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Michigan hockey head coach Mel Pearson's fate still hangs in the balance amid the fallout from a recent independent investigation into the program.

The investigation, conducted by law firm WilmerHale at the request of the University of Michigan, reportedly uncovered accusations of Pearson abusing players and misleading recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, among other improprieties.

Pearson also allegedly showed an “inability or unwillingness” to hold director of hockey operations Rick Bancroft accountable for "mistreatment of female staff members."

According to writer John U. Bacon, who is a U of M alumnus and has published multiple books about Michigan athletics, Pearson's status "has now been reduced to a stand-off between the Regents (8-0) and interim pres. Mary Sue Coleman on one side, and Pearson and UM AD Warde Manuel (who earlier this week wanted to sign Pearson to an extension) on the other."

Many fans and journalists alike are puzzled by Bacon's report, particularly Manuel's reported willingness to back Pearson so fiercely.

Pearson, who played collegiate hockey for Michigan Tech and was an assistant at Michigan from 1988-2011, took over as the Wolverines' head coach in 2017.

In five seasons in Ann Arbor, he has gone 99-65-16 and has led Michigan to a pair of Frozen Four appearances. However, all of Pearson's success on the ice might not matter considering the seriousness of the WilmerHale findings.

We'll see if Warde Manuel ultimately has to decide between saving Pearson and saving himself.