Was Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman drunk during her halftime speech?

At halftime during the Michigan-Nebraska game on Saturday, University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman was being honored for her 12 years of service at the school.

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In an impromptu speech on a wireless microphone at Michigan Stadium, Coleman clearly sounded intoxicated. Of course, if I was forced to watch the Wolverines play football, I’d be hammered, too.

Below is a video snippet of the speech. Below that, University of Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald offers an explanation.



From University Spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald:

The awkward audio of University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman’s remarks during the halftime of the Saturday’s football game resulted when she attempted to slow her speech to deal with significant feedback from the stadium public address system.

She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol. I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way.

All day long Saturday, President Coleman was attending events related to the launch of the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign. No alcohol was served at those events.

At the stadium President Coleman hosted a non-alcoholic reception for alumni and donors in the president’s box in the stadium.

Her recognition at halftime was unexpected and the wireless microphone she was using is not one with which she had any prior experience. There was significant wind, feedback and, even under the best conditions, the sound is distorted in the stadium when a wireless mic is used.

She struggled with the feedback and tried to adjust to the sound delay and the reverberation by slowing down her words.

She had hoped to communicate her gratitude for the recognition and her enthusiasm for Michigan.

It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the audio distortion.

Yeah, right.