ANN ARBOR, MI: The University of Michigan brought on Edelman in September after then-head football coach Brady Hoke’s heavily criticized decision to play a quarterback suffering from a concussion.
Edelman was hired to support "communications about athletics," the university said. Normally a national power, Michigan’s football team stumbled to a 5-7 record this year. The school fired Hoke shortly after the Wolverines lost to archrival Ohio State University in the season finale.
A university spokesman confirmed the relationship in an email to PRWeek, saying, "We believe there are times when getting an outside perspective is the smart thing to do."
"We engaged Edelman to provide just that type of external perspective following the football concussion incident," he added. The university is not working with the agency at this time.
In a late September game against Minnesota, quarterback Shane Morris went back into a game after he reportedly suffered a concussion. Hoke denied he knew about the diagnosis. That incident prompted criticism of the school’s athletic program that also resulted in athletic director Dave Brandon’s resignation, according to The Detroit Free Press.
Michigan students rallied on the lawn of university president Mark Schlissel for Brandon to be fired.
Edelman’s work was billed hourly, "not to exceed $75,000 during the next year," the spokesperson said, adding that the university has not yet been billed.
The agency has worked with two other major universities suffering through athletic crises in recent years.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hired the firm after it became embroiled in an academic scandal involving athletes and fake classes. The Charlotte Observer reported in November that the firm is expected to make more than $1.65 million for a year’s worth of services.
Penn State University also hired Edelman in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Sandusky has since been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. A university official confirmed Penn State is no longer working with the firm.
An Edelman representative referred inquiries seeking comment to the University of Michigan.