Michigan says university president wasn’t drinking before halftime speech (video)

November 11, 2013
(Melanie Maxwell / AP)
(Melanie Maxwell / AP)

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman was not under the influence of alcohol or experiencing a health problem when she spoke at halftime of the Nebraska-Michigan game Saturday, the school said Monday.

It addressed the issue after numerous reports questioned why Coleman’s speech was awkwardly cadenced and slurred, as videos show. The school said she was merely having problems with her wireless microphone.

“There was significant wind, feedback and, even under the best conditions, the sound is distorted in the stadium when a wireless mic is used,” spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told mlive.com in an email. “She struggled with the feedback and tried to adjust to the sound delay and the reverberation by slowing down her words.”

Coleman addressed the crowd of 112,000 at Michigan Stadium during a ceremony honoring her for 12 years of service to the school. Fitzgerald said Coleman had attended alumni and fundraising events at which no alcohol was served. Nor was any served in her luxury box at the stadium.

“She was on the the top of her game all weekend,” Fitzgerald said. “She was the Mary Sue Coleman we know and love entirely. There’s no health issue. There was absolutely no drinking.”

The Wolverines lost, 17-13.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · November 11, 2013