Decades of public silence about Anderson followed. Schembechler said he had chosen to come forward now, though, because it would be “irresponsible” not to disclose what had happened.
“I thought I could make an impact and make a change and help this stop from happening to anyone ever again,” Schembechler said. “I’ve always been proactive and willing to put myself out there to help other people.”
In a statement on Thursday, Michigan’s president, Mark Schlissel, and board of regents said: “Our sympathy for all of Anderson’s victims is deep and unwavering, and we thank them for their bravery in coming forward.” The officials added that they were “committed to resolving their claims and to continuing the court-guided confidential mediation process.”
The recent and substantive inquiries into Anderson’s behavior began in 2018, when a member of the wrestling team from the 1970s wrote to Michigan’s athletic director and accused Anderson of wrongdoing. The letter led to a police investigation, and in February 2020, the university announced that “several individuals” had made claims against Anderson.
The announcement, and the university’s plea for additional information, led to scores of new complaints about the doctor and, eventually, to the report that became public last month. In it, a law firm hired by the university said that Anderson had engaged in a “broad range” of misconduct and that Michigan officials had not taken action against him despite “credible reports.”
“He continued to provide medical services to student-athletes and other patients — and to engage in sexual misconduct with large numbers of them — for the rest of his career,” the report said. Investigators believe that Anderson victimized hundreds of people during his tenure, when he often worked in a building named for Bo Schembechler.
The report described some instances in which student-athletes reported concerns about Anderson, who retired in 2003, to Bo Schembechler, with one recalling that the coach had responded with a simple admonition: “Toughen up.”