University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman’s speech during her halftime speech Saturday was slurred because of microphone feedback, not because she was drunk.
Deadspin posted a portion of her speech, in which she praises the school’s athletic program. Her words were repetitive and it often sounded like she was yelling into the microphone. When she says “Michigan,” it sounds as if she’s slurring her words. All that lead the site to suggest that she may have been drunk.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told MLive.com that Coleman was not drunk and there were no health issues. Fitzgerald said that she had been at fundraising events and met with alumni before the speech and she was not served alcohol in the luxury box.
“She was on the the top of her game all weekend,” the spokesman said. “She was the Mary Sue Coleman we know and love entirely. There's no health issue. There was absolutely no drinking.”
Fitzgerald said that Coleman used a wireless microphone, which she wasn’t comfortable with.
U-M athletic director Dave Brandon added, “We rarely use live wireless microphones at Michigan Stadium because of the way that sound is distributed; it travels from the north scoreboard across the field to the south.” Brandon blamed “significant wind that caused the sound to be delayed and distorted and created feedback during President Coleman’s speech.”
“She struggled with the feedback and tried to adjust to the sound delay and the reverberation by slowing down her words,” Fitzgerald added.
The AP notes that Brandon sent another statement, in which he said that he was with Coleman the entire time and that any speculation that she was drunk or has any health issues is incorrect.
“I have sincerely apologized to President Coleman for the failures in our sound system and the difficult situation this has caused for her,” he said.