The University of Michigan (U-M) will pay $490 million to settle claims of sexual harassment against a former football team doctor.
Over 1,000 students — most of them former athletes — sued the university, claiming that the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson had molested them during physical examinations that were required to participate in athletic programs at Michigan.
Anderson was well-known among U-M athletes as “Dr. Drop Your Drawers” and “Dr. Glove” for giving unnecessary rectal and testicular exams to students. A police investigation obtained by The Detroit News in 2020 revealed that he treated students for 24 years despite being forced out of student health services for “fooling around with male students.”
Even legendary head coach Bo Schembechler was aware of Dr. Anderson’s abuse but did nothing about it. Schembechler’s son came forward last year with a story of how Anderson abused him when he was only 10.
U-M said it will make $460 million available to the approximately 1,050 victims who had already brought claims and reserve the remaining $30 million for future claimants.
The university launched a formal investigation in 2020 and asked over 300,000 former students who attended the university between the 1960s and early 2000s to share information on Anderson.
Wednesday’s settlement comes nearly 50 years after the first whistleblower, Tad DeLuca, alerted UM staff about Anderson’s conduct, sparking a wave of litigation against the university.
“We hope this settlement will begin the healing process for survivors,” chairman of the university’s Board of Regents, Jordan Acker, said.
The amount — believed to be the largest sexual assault settlement against any university — will be determined by a third-party allocator based on several variables.