The statue of Bo Schembechler on the University of Michigan's campus was vandalized with paint and a message of support for survivors of Robert Anderson's abuse in front of the football building on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

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Michigan reaches $490M settlement with sexual assault survivors

Michigan reached a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 alleged victims of Dr. Robert Anderson, a former sports doctor at the university.

Attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday the two sides agreed to the settlement late Tuesday.

“I am proud to announce that a settlement was reached with the 1,050 survivors of Robert Anderson and the University of Michigan,” Stinar said. “It has been a long and challenging journey, and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced.”

Anderson, who died in 2008, was accused by hundreds of football players and athletes of abuse during routine physical examinations from 1968 to 2003. Former Michigan wrestler Tad Deluca said he first told the university about Anderson suggesting unnecessary rectal and testicular exams in 1975. Deluca was kicked off the team by wrestling coach Bill Johannesen, he said.

Several former Michigan athletes, including football player Jon Vaughn, said former football coach Bo Schembechler was also made aware of allegations, but continued to consult with Anderson and approve physicals.

Anderson was the primary physician for several programs at Michigan and also served as director of university health services.

Michigan hired a firm to investigate the allegations following multiple suits against the university. A report from the firm found several employees and officials had opportunities to intervene but failed to do so or did not take appropriate action.

“A senior university administrator was told about Dr. Anderson’s misconduct several times between 1978 or 1979 and 1981 but did not take appropriate action,” law firm WilmerHale found. “Concerning information was also shared with other university personnel. Although the information these individuals received varied in directness and specificity, Dr. Anderson’s misconduct may have been detected earlier and brought to an end if they had considered, understood, investigated or elevated what they heard.”

–Field Level Media

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh stands on the sideline during the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan Wolverines

Report: Mutual interest between Bears, Jim Harbaugh

A coaching change appears imminent in Chicago, and the Bears reportedly have strong interest in interviewing Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

According to The Athletic, that interest is mutual.

Matt Nagy reportedly will coach his final game as head coach of the team on Sunday, and NBC Chicago said Harbaugh is at the top of the list of potential replacements.

Multiple outlets reported the Bears attempted to engage Harbaugh when Nagy, then offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, was hired by general manager Ryan Pace and approved by the team’s ownership before the 2018 season.

Nagy has a 34-30 overall record with two playoff appearances — both losses — entering Sunday’s finale.

Longtime college football writer Bruce Feldman told the “Rich Eisen Show” that Harbaugh has “really positive feelings” toward the organization, but rated the expected opening with the Las Vegas Raiders as the best fit for the Wolverines’ head coach.

Harbaugh played quarterback for the Bears from 1987-93.

Harbaugh, 58, took a pay cut prior to the 2021 season and led Michigan to the College Football Playoff as Big Ten champions. But he has NFL coaching experience, including a Super Bowl appearance with the San Francisco 49ers.

He was 44-19-1 with the 49ers from 2011-14.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA;  Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) runs the ball while *Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Christopher Hinton (15) defends in the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan defensive tackle Christopher Hinton enters NFL draft

Michigan defensive tackle Christopher Hinton announced Wednesday that he is declaring for the NFL draft.

Hinton had 32 tackles and one sack in 14 games for the Wolverines, who reached the College Football Playoff semifinals before losing to Georgia.

He is the third Michigan defensive player to enter the draft, joining possible No. 1 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson and linebacker David Ojabo. Hutchinson, a defensive end who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up, also announced his decision on Wednesday.

Hinton made his announcement on his Twitter account.

“To say it was an honor to play at the University of Michigan and to have the opportunity to play for the best fans in the nation, would be an understatement,” Hinton wrote. “The University of Michigan, the fans, the city of Ann Arbor are all amazing, and they will always have a special place in my heart.

“… After a ton of thought and prayer, I am very excited to announce I am declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.”

Hinton is the son of former NFL offensive tackle Chris Hinton, who was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection during 13 NFL seasons with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (1983-89), Atlanta Falcons (1990-93) and Minnesota Vikings (1994-95).

–Field Level Media

Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is a Heisman trophy candidate.

Syndication Detroit Free Press

Potential No. 1 pick Aidan Hutchinson declares for NFL draft

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson made a foregone conclusion official on Wednesday, announcing he’s entering the 2022 NFL Draft.

Hutchinson had a huge season for the Wolverines in 2021, tallying 62 tackles (16.5 for loss), 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 12 quarterback hits. He was a consensus All-American, the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year, and winner of the Lombardi Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Lott Impact Trophy.

He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

“My Michigan legacy is complete, and it was truly the best time of my life,” Hutchinson, a product of Plymouth, Mich., posted on Twitter. “Onward and upward to the 2022 NFL Draft. Thank you for everything, Wolverine nation and beyond.”

Hutchinson was a starter from the day he walked onto campus in Ann Arbor. In all, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Hutchinson played 43 games for the Wolverines, recording 160 tackles, 18.5 sacks, nine passes defensed, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Pro Football Focus ranks Hutchinson as its No. 1 overall draft prospect, and some of the latest mock drafts project him as the No. 1 or 2 pick.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan LB David Ojabo declares for NFL draft

Michigan linebacker David Ojabo declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Tuesday after a breakout season.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound junior registered 11 sacks and five forced fumbles this season as the Wolverines advanced to the College Football Playoff.

“Coach (Jim) Harbaugh took a chance on a kid who had only played the sport for a year. I am eternally grateful for that opportunity,” Ojabo posted on Twitter. “Thank you to the Michigan coaches and staff for accepting me with open arms. Thank you to my brothers on the team who made me feel at home every day; was a pleasure working with you guys.”

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Ojabo didn’t start playing football until his junior year of high school after moving to the United States.

He did not appear in any games for Michigan as a freshman in 2019 and registered just one tackle in six games in 2020.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Ojabo ranked as the No. 1 outside linebacker and the No. 9 prospect overall in the 2022 draft class.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs with the ball ahead of Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Julius Welschof (96) in the second quarter during the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Georgia blasts No. 2 Michigan, earns title-game rematch with Tide

Stetson Bennett passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns and No. 3 Georgia advanced to the College Football Playoff title game with a dominating 34-11 win over No. 2 Michigan on Friday night in a national semifinal at Miami Gardens, Fla.

Derion Kendrick intercepted two passes as the Bulldogs (13-1) turned the Orange Bowl into a one-sided contest in the first half and were never threatened.

Georgia will meet No. 1 Alabama in the CFP final on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis. The Crimson Tide walloped the Bulldogs 41-24 in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 4, Georgia’s lone loss.

Bennett completed 21 of 31 passes and threw scoring aerials to Brock Bowers, Jermaine Burton and James Cook (three receptions, 99 yards). Kenny McIntosh tossed a halfback option touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell, and Georgia accumulated four sacks.

Cade McNamara completed 11 of 19 passes for 106 yards and two interceptions for Michigan (12-2), while backup J.J. McCarthy was 7 of 17 for 131 yards and one touchdown. Heisman Trophy runner-up Aidan Hutchinson had four tackles, with one going for a loss.

Georgia rolled up 515 yards of total offense to Michigan’s 325.

The Bulldogs set the tone for the rout with two touchdowns in the first 10-plus minutes.

Bennett capped a game-opening, seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 9-yard scoring pass to Bowers.

Georgia dipped into its bag of tricks on its second possession as McIntosh took the handoff and delivered a strike to Mitchell for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 4:41 remaining in the period.

Jack Podlesny kicked a 43-yard field goal to boost the lead to 17 early in the second quarter. Jake Moody connected on a 36-yard field goal to get the Wolverines on the board with 7:16 left in the half before Podlesny tacked on a 28-yard field goal to make it 20-3 with 3:50 to play.

Two-plus minutes later, Burton badly beat Michigan cornerback Vincent Gray for a 57-yard scoring pass from Bennett as the Bulldogs led 27-3 at the break. Georgia more than tripled the Wolverines’ total offense in the half — 330 to 101.

Michigan had a scoring opportunity early in the third quarter, but McNamara’s throw to the end zone was intercepted by Kendrick with 10:02 left.

The Bulldogs increased their advantage to 34-3 when Bennett threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Cook with 11:11 left in the contest.

The Wolverines finally found the end zone with 4:25 left when McCarthy threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Andrel Anthony. A.J. Henning scored on an end-around on the two-point conversion play.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Michigan eager for first CFB appearance vs. No. 3 Georgia

Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan was looking a bit murky with no victories over rival Ohio State and no bowl victories since his first season on the job.

However, Year 7 has been the breakthrough season, and No. 2 Michigan will make its College Football Playoff debut when it faces No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 at Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Wolverines (12-1) got that first win over Ohio State in the Harbaugh era by a 42-27 score and then steamrolled Iowa 42-3 in the Big Ten title game to land the national semifinal spot against the Bulldogs (12-1).

The winner will face either top-seeded Alabama or fourth-seeded Cincinnati in the national championship game on Jan. 10.

“The goal wasn’t to get this far, right?” Wolverines running back Blake Corum said. “The goal was to keep going. So our focus is the same. The goal is the same.”

Michigan features the top defensive player in the nation, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Yet how the offense fares against the ferocious Georgia defense might be the key element.

The Wolverines rank 12th nationally in scoring offense at 37.7 points per game and topped 30 points on 10 occasions. But Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense (9.5 points allowed per game) and ranks second in total defense (254.4 yards per contest).

The Bulldogs gave up 10 or fewer points nine times, pitching three shutouts.

In fact, the Bulldogs allowed nearly one third of their point total — 41 of 124 — in a 17-point loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game.

Though Georgia extended its bowl streak to a nation-leading 25 in a row, the bitter loss to the Crimson Tide is serving as motivation.

“It is new life, it is one game and you have to win to advance,” outside linebacker Nolan Smith said of the national semifinal. “A lot of people watch Georgia football for a long time and a lot of people didn’t get this opportunity that we have had, and now that we have it, we have to seize it.”

Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning became Oregon’s head coach, but he is assisting Georgia in the playoffs. Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann are co-coordinating the defense.

Georgia ranks seventh in scoring offense (39.4) and scored at least 30 in 11 straight games prior to the Alabama setback.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett passed for 2,325 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Stetson is the starter because JT Daniels sustained two different injuries — first to an oblique, the second a lat strain.

Daniels reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before Christmas, and it was unknown if he would be available to face Michigan.

The Bulldogs will have to deal with Hutchinson, who had 14 sacks and is a strong candidate to be the first player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he got his first scouting report of Hutchinson from his 9-year-old son. Then he did his own legwork and said the Bulldogs haven’t faced a player like him.

“There’s not going to be anything casual about this game,” Smart said. “There’s going to be a bunch of strain and physicality, which (Hutchinson) prides himself on and does a tremendous job. It’s an incredible opportunity for our offense to go up against the likes of their defense.”

Meanwhile, Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara isn’t flashy but is efficient with 2,470 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions.

The Wolverines see no reason to alter their blueprint no matter how dominant the Georgia defense has been.

“Not trying to change or do anything different,” Michigan receiver Cornelius Johnson said, “but just play our brand of football.”

The teams split two previous meetings with the Wolverines prevailing in 1957 and Georgia winning in 1965.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart greets Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban before the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Amid COVID-19 surge, College Football Playoff sets contingency plans

Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, the College Football Playoff established contingency plans Wednesday regarding forfeits, schedules and other scenarios for the semifinals and national championship.

For the playoff semifinals — the Cotton and Orange Bowls — should one team be unavailable to play, it would forfeit the game and its opponent would advance to the national championship game.

If both teams in one semifinal are unable to play, that game would be declared a “no contest,” and the winner of the other semifinal game will be declared as the sport’s national champion.

Should three of the four semifinalists be unable to play, the game with two unavailable teams would be declared a “no contest” and the team unable to play in the other semifinal would forfeit — making the fourth team, and only team able to play, the national champion by default.

If two teams advance to the national championship game as planned, but then one of them is unable to play, the national championship game in Indianapolis can be rescheduled to a later date, no later than Friday, Jan. 14. If one team can play by that date but the other cannot, the team unable to play will forfeit. If both teams are unable to play, then the game will be declared a “no contest” and the season will end without a champion.

“As we prepare for the playoff, it’s wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”

In addition to these contingencies, the College Football Playoff has implemented several other policies. It will allow teams to arrive to the bowl sites two days before a game, instead of the usual five days before the game.

Attendance at bowl games was made optional for the bands, sprit squads and staff members of competing schools. For media members, all access to players and coaches will be virtual.

Access to the playing field will also be more limited to those who aren’t players, coaches or essential staff.

For the Fiesta and Peach Bowls, the College Football Playoff, bowl organizers and ESPN would try to reschedule the game within one week of its original date if one or both teams involved are unable to play. If a new date can’t be set, the game will be a “no contest.”

For now, the College Football Playoff semifinals are set for Dec. 31. No. 1 Alabama will face No. 4 Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. EST at the Cotton Bowl, and No. 2 Michigan will take on No. 3 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. EST at the Orange Bowl. The national championship game is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.

Wednesday’s announcement from the College Football Playoff came shortly after Alabama announced that offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone tested positive for COVID-19.

Michigan offensive tackle Andrew Stueber said Tuesday that the Wolverines were getting a “full team booster shot” on Wednesday.

“We implemented masks in meetings, maintaining social distancing,” Stueber said. “A lot of people are taking their meals to go, not really sitting too much.”

–Field Level Media

Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis watches warmups before the Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Michigan OC Josh Gattis wins Broyles Award as top assistant

Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was named the winner Tuesday of the 2021 Broyles Award, given each year to the top assistant coach in the nation.

Gattis, who also coaches wide receivers, was hired as Michigan’s offensive coordinator before the 2019 season. He is the first Michigan assistant to win the award since defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann was honored in 1997.

In 2021, Michigan (12-1) ranks No. 10 in rushing offense (223.8 yards per game), No. 13 in scoring offense (37.7 points) and No. 18 in total offense (451.9 total yards).

In the Big 10 championship game on Saturday, the Wolverines offense put up 461 yards — an average of 7.4 yards per play.

Michigan is ranked No. 2 in the nation and will face No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve for a chance to play in the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 10.

Gattis, 37, played safety at Wake Forest and spent parts of three seasons in the NFL before beginning his coaching career. He previously was an assistant coach at Alabama (2018), Penn State (2014-17), Vanderbilt (2012-13) and Western Michigan (2011).

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban walks on the field before the SEC championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama reclaims No. 1 spot in AP poll; Georgia falls to No. 3

Alabama reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Sunday, the same day the College Football Playoff committee made the Crimson Tide the No. 1 playoff seed.

The AP voters and CFP committee agreed on the top five: Alabama (12-1), followed by Michigan (12-1), Georgia (12-1), Cincinnati (13-0) and Notre Dame (11-1).

The Crimson Tide received 50 of 62 first-place votes after beating previous No. 1 Georgia 41-24 on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Michigan received nine votes and Cincinnati garnered three.

At No. 6 was Baylor (11-2), which climbed three spots after beating then-No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game on Saturday. Ohio State (10-2) and Ole Miss (10-2) remained Nos. 7 and 8 respectively, Oklahoma State (11-2) fell to No. 9 and newly crowned Pac-12 champion Utah (10-3) rounded out the Top 10.

Oregon (10-13), which lost the Pac-12 championship game to the Utes on Friday, fell out the of Top 10 to No. 15. Iowa (10-3), dominated by Michigan 42-3 in the Big Ten title game, fell two spots to No. 17.

Re-entering the poll was No. 24 UTSA (12-1), winner of the Conference USA championship game Friday night over Western Kentucky, 49-41. Falling out of the Top 25 was San Diego State.

–Field Level Media