The much-anticipated 70-page report by legal firm WilmerHale investigating a complaint against Michigan head hockey coach Mel Pearson has finally been published by the Detroit News.
As expected, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Pearson’s behavior as head coach at Michigan. Despite this, the report ultimately concludes that Pearson didn’t directly violate any sexual and gender-based misconduct policies followed by the University’s Equity, Civil Rights & Title IX Office, but did raise concerns about leadership and culture of the hockey program under Pearson.
Given that the University has had a copy of this report for months and has yet to do anything about it, it seems possible that Pearson survives this. If Michigan had any inclination to take action against Pearson, they likely would have done it long ago, rather than letting him coach the team without a contract through this summer. The long wait always seemed like time for Pearson to undergo whatever sensitivity training he needed to satisfy his bosses before signing a new contract.
Although now that the details of the report are public, public opinion may force Michigan to reconsider their position. Both The Michigan Daily and MGoBlog are among many prominent voices calling for Pearson to be let go. On Wednesday, this news broke:
I have it from multiple sources that University of Michigan interim president Mary Sue Coleman is meeting with AD Warde Manuel regarding head hockey coach Mel Pearson. Expect news of some sort soon.— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) August 3, 2022
The details may be out in the public, but this still story remains far from resolved. Eventually, Michigan will have to make a decision one way or the other on whether or not to keep Pearson, though even if they do, this report may have done irreparable damage to Pearson’s credibility as head of the Michigan hockey program.