Ex-Wrestler: Claims of Abuse Ignored by UM Coach, AD | Athletic Business

Ex-Wrestler: Claims of Abuse Ignored by UM Coach, AD

Former University of Michigan wrestler Tad Deluca said Thursday morning that he wrote a nine-page letter to then-coach Bill Johannesen in 1975 saying that he believed examinations he received from team doctor Robert Anderson were inappropriate, and that his complaints were ignored.

Deluca claimed in the letter that he saw Anderson regarding an elbow injury, but the visit included rectal and testicular examinations, as well. According to Deluca, Johannesen read parts of the letter aloud in front of his teammates and told Deluca it was clear he no longer wanted to be part of the wrestling team. Deluca said he has a responding letter from then-athletic director Don Canham telling him that he read Deluca's letter and informing him that he would no longer have an athletic scholarship since he had decided to end his athletic career at Michigan, as reported by ESPN.

Deluca wrote a letter to current Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel in the summer of 2018 to make a second attempt at sharing his story. That letter eventually prompted a police investigation. Prosecutors in Washtenaw County declined to pursue any charges as a result of the investigation, largely because Anderson died more than a decade ago. In total, he was employed by Michigan for more than 30 years.

"I will not be ignored again," Deluca said Thursday morning at a news conference with his attorneys and two other former Wolverines wrestlers who say they were sexually abused by Anderson. "Everybody who was abused by this doctor — the doctor everyone knew was abusing athletes and students — should speak up and let everyone know they will not be ignored. It has to stop."

Related: Former Michigan Wrestler Alleges Physician Abuse

Canham, who was nationally renowned during his two decades as Michigan's athletic director and credited for taking collegiate sports marketing to unprecedented levels, died in 2005. Johannesen told The Associated Press earlier this week that he was never told about sexual abuse by any of his athletes.

As reported by ESPN, attorney Parker Stinar, who represents more than a dozen men who say they were sexually abused by Anderson, said he is scheduled to meet with Michigan's general counsel in the near future. He said no lawsuit has been filed.

The university has hired a Washington, D.C.-based law firm to investigate its response to accusations made against Anderson in the past. The school created a telephone hotline for any former victims of Anderson to report their claims. More than 70 people have contacted the school about Anderson, according to a university spokesman.

Deluca was joined by former wrestlers Tom Evashevski and Andy Hrovat at Thursday's news conference. "It happened," Evashevski said. "I don't think many of us knew this was wrong, but we do now. I have to come forward. I love this university, but this should only make it better."

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