Why Michigan Fumbled, Big Time
As Shane Morris was hit in the chin by Minnesota’s Therin Cockran in the fourth quarter during the game between the Wolverines and Golden Gophers on Saturday, it was clear that something was severely off with Morris. Wobbling and nearly collapsing after the hit, most spectators took note that something was off with Morris following the collision.
Morris attempts another pass but was replaced by Devon Gardner.
A couple plays later, Morris was allowed to re-enter the game. He loses his helmet during another play and per NCAA rules, he has to leave the field. A couple plays later, Morris re-enters the game. By the time the clock ticked down, Michigan (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) lost 30-14 to Minnesota (4-1,
1-0 Big Ten) and Morris had to be carted off the field.
Since the game, Hoke has insisted that safety is a top priority for Michigan athletics and the football team. But with his actions speaking otherwise, the critics have been out in full force. How could Morris not have been examined for a concussion following that hit? How could Hoke not see that something besides a high ankle sprain was visibly and severely wrong with his quarterback?
What the entire situation really comes down to is knowing what is right for the player – making the right call despite that player suggesting they are fine when all of the signs point otherwise. It also comes down to the policies and procedures in place within NCAA football to protect athletes against severe injuries, such as a concussion. With legal battles plaguing the NFL because of head injuries that players suffered in past years – there is no question that both professional and collegiate players and coaches have taken a stand in making the game safe. At this time, it doesn’t look like Michigan is on board with those efforts.
The next step in this awful situation? It’s certainly not a clear one. But neither was Shane Morris after that awful blow to his head.