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Brenda Tracy picked as honorary captain for Michigan versus WMU

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The sexual assault survivor met with the football team in early August to offer her inspiring message.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh selected Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor who travels the country to bolster awareness of violence against women, as the honorary captain for this Saturday’s home opener against Western Michigan.

Members of the Oregon State football team sexually assaulted her in 1998, during Mike Riley’s tenure. When Riley fronted the Nebraska program, he invited her to Lincoln to tell her story of survival.

Now she tours the nation with her #SetTheExpectation message, which according to her website means:

“We are dedicated to combatting sexual and physical violence by supporting coaches, young men and boys to become part of the solution through direct outreach and engagement in high school and collegiate athletic programs.”

Tracy visited the Wolverines during fall camp, which sparked several players sharing the message on social media.

“Coach Harbaugh text me after my visit with the team,” she said exclusively to our own David Noe, “I was impressed with the interest that Coach Harbaugh took in my campaign and my ideas. He spent time with me and asked questions. Some of the staff did this as well. That meant a lot to me.

“I was really happy with the enthusiasm the players showed. They have a good understanding of the power of their platform as football players and they’re eager to make a difference.”

Tracy told Maize n Brew that she is kickstarting a GoFundMe campaign this week for the SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor. The organization serves sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.

She will walk with the captains to midfield right before a noon kickoff against the Broncos.