The University of Michigan settlement for victims of Robert Anderson, a collegiate doctor who was accused of sexual abuse by over 1,000 student athletes, was announced on Wednesday totaling $490 million.

The agreement in the Robert Anderson abuse case is one of the largest settlements by an American university for allegations of sexual abuse in history, according to The New York Times. The settlement also reflects, according to the case, both reparations for the number of his victims and the inability to convict Dr. Anderson due to his death in 2008.

“The University of Michigan has accepted responsibility financially and otherwise for harm that was caused by Anderson to so many young people that could have been avoided,” stated Jamie White, the attorney for a large number of Anderson’s victims.

“The university should be commended and not condemned,” he continued. “Most of our clients had a strong love for the University and did not want to see permanent damage, but wanted accountability.”

The case started three years ago, when a former student wrote to the University of Michigan’s athletic director detailing misconduct in Robert Anderson’s medical practice dating back to the 1970s.

The student, and many others who came forward after, claimed that Anderson sexually molested them during physical examinations, which were required by their various athletic programs at the school.

The New York Times reported that many of the physicals, however, were completely unnecessary. In one specific case, a woman reporting to the athletic doctor for a sore throat was told that he would have to perform a pelvic exam.

Legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, who was accused by his own son, Matt, of ignoring sexual abuse claims against Dr. Robert Anderson
A statue of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, who was accused by his own son, Matt, of ignoring sexual abuse claims against Dr. Robert Anderson. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The case received significant attention at the university in June 2021, when Matt Schembechler, son of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, announced that he was also a victim of Dr. Anderson’s abuse. He also revealed that the sexual abuse, which occurred in 1969, was ignored by his father at the time.

“I felt betrayed,” Schembechler, 62, stated last June, speaking about when he told his father that he was molested by the university doctor at just 10 years old. “I felt unprotected by someone I thought had taken on the job of protecting me in situations like this.”

The University of Michigan later concluded that Robert Anderson “engaged in sexual misconduct with patients on countless occasions,” and began negotiations for settlement.

Jon Vaughn, a former All-Big Ten running back in the 1990s for Michigan, also led protests against the school’s handling of the case, where he was often joined by movements of other university doctor sexual abuse victims.

“If I have to fight the rest of my life to expose this s— at Michigan,” he told HBO’s Real Sports reporter Kavitha Davidson, “then that’s what I’m going to do.”

In the past three years, Ohio State University paid $41 million to former athletes who claimed that they were assaulted by Dr. Richard H. Strauss, who worked at the school for over two decades. Likewise, the University of Southern California settled with sexual abuse victims of gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall for over $1.1 billion this past March.

The University of Michigan settlement also comes after a landmark ruling for over 300 victims of Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics doctor who was accused of sexual abuse by gold-medal winning gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman. The gymnasts reached a settlement for $380 million.

Larry Nassar’s victims also received a massive settlement from Michigan State University, totaling $425 million. An additional $75 million was also put into a trust fund for “any future claimants alleging sexual abuse by Larry Nassar,” according to the university.

Jordan Acker, chairman of the Board of Regents at University of Michigan, stated on Wednesday that he hoped the settlement would “begin the healing process for survivors.”