Former Michigan Student Says Bo Schembechler Knew of Sexual Abuse by Team Doctor

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2020

** FILE ** Former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler watches from the sidelines during their college football game against Illinois on Nov. 12, 1988, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Schembechler, the winningest coach in Michigan football history, died Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. He was 77. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, FILE)
DUANE BURLESON/Associated Press

A former University of Michigan student and football play-by-play announcer alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler knew team doctor Robert Anderson used his position to sexually abuse his patients. 

According to ESPN's Dan Murphy, the person who filed the lawsuit is being identified as John Doe EB-17. In the lawsuit he filed against the University of Michigan, the plaintiff said he called football games for the school in the early 1980s and told Schembechler twice that Anderson sexually abused him during an appointment to treat severe headaches.

Schembechler, who died in 2006, coached the Wolverines for 21 seasons from 1969-1989, going 194-48-5 and leading them to 13 conference championships.

Per Murphy, hundreds of former patients, including former University of Michigan athletes, have come forward this year and said that they were sexually abused by Anderson, who died in 2008. Among the allegations are that Anderson "put his finger in their rectums for nonmedical reasons, fondled or masturbated their genitals, and made an array of inappropriate sexual comments."

Over 100 people who said that they were sexually abused by Anderson have filed lawsuits against the University of Michigan for failing to stop the abuse despite the fact that "at least 10 university employees" allegedly were told about it.

With regard to Schembechler, Doe said Schembechler told him to notify then-athletic director Don Canham of the abuse, but Canham allegedly took no action. Canham died in 2005.

Doe said: "I cannot blame Bo for not being able to come forward. ... This was Don Canham's job."

Bo Schembechler's son, Glenn Schembechler, said he is "certain" nobody ever told his father about Anderson's alleged sexual abuse, adding: "If Bo wanted to get rid of someone, he would have."

Anderson worked as a physician in the University of Michigan athletic department until 2003.

Schembechler, who was a six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and won multiple other awards during his 27 years as a college football coach, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.