By Crowley Sullivan
Tad Deluca wants to be heard, and he wants to help.
A wrestler at the University of Michigan in the 1970s, Deluca alleged back in 1975 that he was improperly touched and abused by then-University of Michigan physician Dr. Robert E. Anderson during an examination for an injured elbow.
At the time, Deluca sent a letter to then-wrestling coach Bill Johannesen to describe the allegations, his letter was later read by then-Athletic Director Don Canham, and soon was no longer on the wrestling team and had his scholarship taken away.
Deluca sent another letter to Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel in 2018 describing his allegations. His claims were investigated, and others had come forward to make similar claims, but the case stalled mostly because Anderson was no longer alive.
Last week, Deluca and his attorneys came forward with a press conference to speak out on the situation at a news conference to not only try to bring the allegations back to light, but to try to prevent further abuses.
Since then, more than 100 allegations and complaints have been filed against Anderson, and now Michigan is having a press conference for some of the alleged victims to speak out.
A story spanning well over four decades, who are the people involved in the story, and what questions will the University of Michigan need to answer?
Dr. Robert Anderson
- Dr. Robert Anderson served as a physician at the University of Michigan from 1968-2003.
- In 1979, Anderson moved from his job as the school’s Director of Health Services to the University of Michigan athletic department where he, among other duties, served as the physician for the football program until 2003. He passed away in 2008.
University of Michigan
- Following Deluca’s most recent statement, Manuel stated, “I want to urge any former student athlete with information they are willing to share confidentially to come forward,” and the school created a hotline for former athletes to file complaints. Since then over 100 complaints have been registered from former wrestlers, football players, and other athletes.
- From UM President Mark Schlissel, “On behalf of the university, to anyone who was harmed by Dr. Anderson, I apologize.”
- Don Canham served as athletic director at the University of Michigan from 1968-1988. He passed away in 2005.
- From 1947 to 1968, he served as the school’s head track coach. His teams won 11 Big Ten Conference championships, seven indoor and four outdoor.
- Michigan’s swimming, diving, and water polo teams compete in the Donald B. Canham Natatorium, named for Canham upon his retirement in 1988.
- Bo Schembechler served as the head football coach under Don Canham from 1969-1989.
- Upon Canham’s retirement from the University of Michigan in 1988, Schembechler took over as the university’s athletic director, serving one year as both the head football coach and athletic director.
- Gary Moeller, one of Schembechler’s longtime assistants, took over as head football coach at the University of Michigan upon Schembechler’s 1989 retirement from coaching. Moeller was the athletic director for one year.
- Moeller ran the football program until he resigned in 1995 following an incident at a restaurant.
- Lloyd Carr, a longtime assistant to both Schembechler and Moeller, took over as head coach prior to the 1995 football season.
- Current University of Michigan head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, played quarterback for Michigan from 1982-1986.
Allegations of clearing University of Michigan athletes from the Vietnam War Draft
- Some former University of Michigan athletes alleged that Anderson would clear them from being eligible for the Vietnam War Draft in exchange for sexual favors.
Member of University of Michigan 1997 football team comes forward
- A former football player, who was a member of the 1997 National Championship team, has alleged that the doctor sexually abused him during his time at the university.
Member of University of Michigan hockey team comes forward
- A former University of Michigan hockey player who went on to play in the NHL has now alleged that the doctor sexually abused him during his time as a hockey player at Michigan.
University of Michigan Athletic Directors during the tenure of Dr. Robert E. Anderson
1988-1990 – Bo Schembechler (passed away in 2006)
1991-1993 – Jack Weidenbach (passed away in 2016)
1993-1997 – Joe Roberson (passed away in 2020)
1997-2000 – Thomas Goss (alive)
2000-2010 – Bill Martin (alive)
Press conference questions for the University of Michigan
- Why did Canham transfer Anderson to the football program in 1979?
- When was the first time a student athlete at the University of Michigan made allegations of sexual abuse and/or assault against Anderson?
- Are there records of allegations against Anderson during the head coaching tenures of Schembechler, Moeller and Carr? Will Moeller and Carr be available for questions?
- Are there records of allegations against Anderson during the athletic director tenures of Weidenbach, Roberson, Goss, Martin and Schembechler?
- If there are, are there any records that indicate that any of athletic directors were aware of the allegations? Will Goss and Weidenbach be available for questions?
- Does Harbaugh have any sort of an official statement?