Michigan defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins suffered a torn ACL injury that brought an end to his 2013 season in early October of that season. Despite saying he felt healthy and wanting to play his senior season for the maize and blue, Pipkins says he was pressured by Michigan to end his collegiate career by signing a medical scholarship form. Now Pipkins is looking for a new place to call home.
The story Pipkins shares was brought to light by Joe Schad of ESPN.com. In the story, Pipkins claims he was asked to sign a medical scholarship form on multiple occasions by new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, athletic trainer Paul Schmidt and associate athletic director Jim Minick. Signing such a form would force Pipkins to sit out the 2015 season and effectively end his college career.
“College football is a business. New coaches have to win games. They want to go with guys they think can win,” Pipkins explained. “If I’m a victim of making room, so be it. But if there is no concrete reason to disqualify a player, he should have the right to keep playing.”
Harbaugh told ESPN a different story, suggesting medical experts believed it is in Pipkin’s best interest to resting his knee some more (despite having played last season).
“After consulting with our medical team, we do not think it is in Ondre’s best interest as it relates to his health and welfare to play football, short or long term,” Harbaugh said in a statement to ESPN. “He remains on full scholarship and counts toward the 85-scholarship limit in pursuit of graduation from the University of Michigan.”
Pipkins said on his Instagram profile he will transfer from Michigan.
“It’s been a tough past couple of months for me and it is true that I will be looking to play my last year of eligibility at another school,” Pipkins said. “To my brothers and the senior class of Michigan Football I deeply apologize for not being able to complete this journey because I know that we were looking forward to this season more than ever. I love you guys and I will cherish our memories forever. I hope you all understand that this was the best decision for me and my family.”