Michigan AD Wanted To Extend Hockey Coach Mel Pearson Despite Misconduct Findings
Even after an independent third-party firm found that Mel Pearson retaliated against players who raised concerns about issues within Michigan's hockey program, encouraged players to violate COVID-19 protocols, allowed for a toxic workplace against women, called a player a "Jew," and lied to the firm investigating him and his program, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel wanted to extend Pearson's contract.
U-M fired Pearson on Friday. The university's governing board and interim president overruled Manuel.
The investigation and subsequent 68-page report on Pearson and Michigan's hockey program was completed by WilmerHale, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. It submitted its findings to U-M in May, begging the question as to why the university only just now dismissed Pearson, in August, after having the results of the investigation for three months. The media published the report's findings on Tuesday, begging another question: Why did it take Michigan three days to fire Pearson once the news of the investigation's results went public?
The answer to both of those begged questions appears to be Manuel, as he reportedly fought to retain Pearson at the helm of Michigan hockey and, in fact, extend his contract.
It's an inexplicable choice by Manuel, given the gravity of the allegations detailed in the WilmerHale report. It's even more inexplicable when you consider the context of the bad publicity Michigan athletics has recently experienced during Manuel's tenure.
Hockey is only the latest scandal to engulf Michigan athletics. Several have occurred within Manuel's department over just the last two years. And that begs another question.
What's a Michigan athletic director gotta do to get fired?