University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman delivered a curious halftime speech during Saturday's football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Nebraska Cornhuskers that has some wondering if the college administrator was drunk -- an allegation the university is flatly denying.
"I thank you soooo much. And one of the things that makes me soooo proud is the tradition of Michigan, the great coaches that we have at Michigan," Coleman can be heard in a short YouTube clip from the speech.
In addition to elongating words, the university president also issued some awkward pauses in the middle of her speech. Watch a portion of it below:
While some are claiming that Coleman "sounds hammered" (saying that because she was being honored on the field and could have been celebrating beforehand), it's entirely possible that there were other issues at play -- a discussion that's being played out on sports blogs and sites like Reddit.
One of the more interesting possible explanations has to do with the sound system.
"I want to say that she got thrown off by hearing the feedback from that live microphone. That thing is a b**ch. Or a stroke," wrote Reddit user cotw2012.
Rick Fitzgerald, a university spokesperson, acknowledged that the audio is "awkward" in a statement issued to The Michigan Daily student newspaper on Monday, but did in fact blame the sound stystem.
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman (Credit: University of Michigan)
"She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol," Fitzgerald said in a written statement. "I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way."
The spokesperson went on to say that that Coleman was not familiar with the wireless microphone she was using and that she had spent the day in fundraising events where no alcohol was served.
Detroit Free Press sports writer Mark Snyder tweeted about Coleman's appearance on the field on Saturday. While he didn't mention her curious speech, Snyder noted that Coleman was honored with a No. 12 jersey commemorating her 12 years as university president; Coleman is planning to retire in 2014.