Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh blames vetting failure for doomed hiring of Bo Schembechler’s son


Michigan football’s Jim Harbaugh is blaming failures in the vetting process for the doomed hiring of legendary Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler’s son, who resigned over offensive tweets only days after joining the athletic department last month. 

‘Once I became aware of things that were offensive — offensive to me, offensive to other members of our team — [we acted],’ Harbaugh said, as quoted by MLive.com. ‘We didn’t want that mindset around.’

Glenn ‘Shemy’ Schembechler stepped down on May 20, just days after he had been hired as assistant director of recruiting on Harbaugh’s staff. The Detroit News reported at the time that Schembechler’s Twitter feed contained posts and likes of offensive material, including some that suggested slavery and Jim Crow were positives to strengthen African-American individuals and families.

‘You should practice readying/comprehension,’ read one post, liked by Shemy. ‘And yes, slavery and Jim Crow forced the black family to strive and create businesses and cultivate a basis for wealth for themselves and their progeny.’

Entering his ninth season as coach at his alma mater, Harbaugh said the program outsourced the vetting to another company, which failed to catch the offending social media posts. 

Harbaugh is blaming failures in the vetting process for the doomed hiring of Schembechler

Harbaugh is blaming failures in the vetting process for the doomed hiring of Schembechler

The late Bo Schembechler (left) is pictured alongside his son, Shemy (right)

The late Bo Schembechler (left) is pictured alongside his son, Shemy (right)

Schembechler did not write all of the offending tweets, but 'liked' several controversial posts

Schembechler did not write all of the offending tweets, but ‘liked’ several controversial posts

‘I read the report myself,’ Harbaugh said. ‘We have a company that vets that — social media — and they came back and [cleared him]. We’ve got a new company doing that 1685708054, but they’ve got to be better.

‘I’ll take responsibility for that. If somebody can find that in a day, then we have to be better ourselves.’ 

Harbaugh played quarterback under Bo Schembechler at Michigan before going on to an NFL career and then moving into coaching.

Schembechler played for his father, who coached Michigan from 1969-89, and was later an NFL scout. In a statement released Sunday night, Schembechler said that his life, and that of his father and family, has been devoted to the best in people, regardless of their race or religion. He said he had ‘inexplicably and irresponsibly’ liked items on social media.

‘What I do for a living is far less important than for people to know what is in my heart, and has been … instilled in me by my pioneering father,’ said Schembechler’s statement released by the public relations firm of Rose + Allyn.

‘By inexplicably and irresponsibly liking things on social media I owe an unabashed and unequivocal apology to my hundreds of friends and fellow coaches in the Black community, all communities … . Any words or philosophies that in any way seek to underplay the immeasurable suffering and long-term economic and social inequities that hundreds of years of slavery and the ‘Jim Crow’ era caused for Black Americans is wrong. I was wrong.’

Bo Schembechler talks with his quarterback Jim Harbaugh during a Michigan game in 1984

Bo Schembechler talks with his quarterback Jim Harbaugh during a Michigan game in 1984

Schembechler went on to apologize ‘profusely’ to anyone he had offended and said he was hoping for ‘forgiveness based on my expansive life’s work, and not any moment of indiscretion.’

‘We are aware of some comments and likes on social media that have caused concern and pain for individuals in our community,’ Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement after the younger Schembechler resigned. ‘Michigan Athletics is fully committed to a place where our coaches, staff and student-athletes feel welcome and where we fully support the University’s and Athletic Department’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.’

The Schembechler family has been in the news over the last several years for a pair of scandals.

In addition to Shemy’s emails, there are allegations that Bo ignored complaints of sexual abuse against then-team doctor Robert Anderson, allowing the physician to abuse hundreds of men and some women between 1966 and 2003.

In January of 2022, the school finalized $490 million in settlements with more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor.

Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football. A number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them.

The issue rocked the campus, where many felt that Bo could have stopped Anderson decades earlier.

In November of 2021, a statue of Schembechler was vandalized with red paint and a message supporting the sexual assault victims.

Written in black on the steps was ‘Bo knew’ and ‘#hailtothevictims,’ which is a reference to the school fight song, ‘[Hail to] The Victors.’

This undated file photo shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson, who was accused of sexual abuse

This undated file photo shows Dr. Robert E. Anderson, who was accused of sexual abuse 

In November of 2021, a statue of Bo Schembechler was defaced amid the Anderson uproar

In November of 2021, a statue of Bo Schembechler was defaced amid the Anderson uproar 

Former Michigan football players have said they told Bo Schembechler in the 1970s about Anderson’s behavior during physical exams.

Schembechler’s other son, Matt, said he told his father that Anderson assaulted him as a child.

However, Glenn Schembechler and Harbaugh both remain skeptical that Bo was aware that Anderson was doing anything unacceptable during exams.

Schembechler, who died in 2006, is hailed as the greatest coach of college football’s winningest program. He led the Wolverines from 1969-89, won 194 games at the school, and had 234 victories including wins over six seasons at Miami of Ohio.



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