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Michigan Campus Outraged At Football Concussion Controversy

The University of Michigan faces backlash after a concussion controversy involving its quarterback.
Posted at 7:55 AM, Oct 01, 2014

Campus outrage, protests, calls for resignation and a renewed national discussion about concussions in football. That's the current climate inside the confines of the University of Michigan football program.

The university's athletic department is facing some heat after the football team allowed quarterback Shane Morris to be reinserted into last Saturday's game after a nasty helmet-to-helmet blow sent him wobbling to the sidelines. Athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed Tuesday Morris received a concussion from the hit.

Brandon also apologized for the school's decision to return Morris to the playing field and said there was a "serious lack of communication" between the coaches and medical staff while assessing the injury. It's still unclear if health officials gave Morris clearance to return. Either way, Brandon's statement sparked outrage on campus.

VIA WXYZ: "Fire Brandon! Fire Brandon! Fire Brandon!"

Hundreds of students and alumni gathered Tuesday night to protest against Brandon and the team's handling of the incident. (Video via YouTube / Brendan Rand)

A UM student government petition system has now gathered more than 10,000 signatures calling for the university's president to fire Brandon.

Forbes notes even ESPN's TV analysts criticized the decision to send Morris back into the game after such blatant concussion symptoms as stumbling around the field.

But Hoke had said, at the time, the severity of Morris' injury wasn't clear. He also said it's up to the medical team to check a player's condition. Retired NFL receiver Joey Galloway agreed, coming to Hoke's defense.

JOEY GALLOWAY: "I have never in my life seen a coach evaluate a player. ...  This ... injury situation, to me, comes from your medical staff. They let coaches know if they can play or not."

That explanation does seem to fall in line with the NCAA's newly-implemented concussion guidelines. In that, the sideline physician is given complete autonomy over the coach.

But there is one hang up. They're guidelines, not rules, so they're essentially unenforceable. 

Additionally, CBS reports the executive director of the National College Players Association says the Michigan controversy reinforces the need to have "independent concussion experts on the sideline with the power to pull a player."

Doing so might quell future controversies like this one, because the team wouldn't be involved in the decision.

The University of Michigan's president released a statement Tuesday expressing "extreme disappointment" over the team's handling of the incident. He also said he was planning a "thorough review" of the current sideline procedures.

This video contains images from Getty Images / Leon Halip.