For over a year, we’ve gotten more details on the sexual assault allegations against former University of Michigan team doctor Robert Anderson. Hundreds of complaints have been made against Anderson since last February, and now one significant person in the Michigan community is set to come forward with his own story: Matt Schembechler, son of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler.
Schembechler will hold a news conference on Thursday, along with two other victims and former Michigan football players, according to the Detroit Free Press. Per the report, he will also confirm that his father “failed to protect him and other athletes.”
He’ll be joined by Daniel Kwiatowski and Gilvanni Johnson, a pair of former football players under Bo Schembechler, who were the anonymous players cited in the commissioned report by WilmerHale that discovered that misconduct was reported multiple times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was not appropriately handled by the university. Matt Schembechler says that his father is among those responsible for enabling Anderson.
Anderson, who died in 2008, is accused of sexual abuse by hundreds of former Wolverines athletes. He spent more than 30 years working for the university.
The stepson of Bo Schembechler says he will share evidence that his father ignored evidence of sexual abuse by U-M team physician Robert Anderson. pic.twitter.com/uElPUhxbR3
— Ross Jones (@rossjonesWXYZ) June 9, 2021
The WilmerHale report, released last month, does not paint a rosy picture of the legendary Michigan coach’s handling of the situation. Per the report, when told about the abusive behavior by Anderson, Schembechler told players to “toughen up,” while other staff members made jokes about the situation. Via Maize n Brew:
A member of the football team told us that Dr. Anderson gave him a rectal examination and fondled his testicles during a PPE in 1976. The student athlete told us he informed Coach Bo Schembechler that he did not want to receive any future physicals from Dr. Anderson and that “things were going down there that weren’t right.” According to the student athlete, Mr. Schembechler explained that annual PPEs were required to play football at the University. The patient continued to see Dr. Anderson and made no further reports about Dr. Anderson’s misconduct. Mr. Schembechler is deceased. The same student athlete told us that his position coach used the threat of an examination with Dr. Anderson as a motivational tool. We interviewed the coach, who denied the allegation.
A member of the football team in the late 1970s told DPSS that he received a genital examination from Dr. Anderson, who fondled his testicles, and a rectal examination, during which the student athlete pushed Dr. Anderson’s hand away. The student athlete told DPSS that he asked Mr. Schembechler “soon” after the exam, “What’s up with the finger in the butt treatment by Dr. Anderson?” According to the student athlete, Mr. Schembechler told him to “toughen up.” The student athlete told DPSS that “you do not mess with Bo, and the matter was dropped.” The student athlete, who is represented by counsel, declined our interview request.
“I can tell you this,” Harbaugh said. “Bo Schembechler … there was nothing that I saw in the times when I was a kid here, my dad was on staff or when I played here … he never sat on anything. He never procrastinated on anything. He took care of it before the sun went down. That’s the Bo Schembechler that I know. There’s nothing that ever was swept under the rug or ignored. He addressed everything in a timely fashion. That’s the Bo Schembechler that I knew.”
Matt Schembechler previously sued his father and the university after they stopped his attempts at creating souvenirs from old Michigan Stadium benches in order to raise money for a foundation created in memory of his mother. That suit was eventually thrown out.