EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo has made it clear he does not condone or condone the roles played by Michigan State football players in an altercation with two Michigan football players in the tunnel at Michigan Stadium.
But the Hall of Fame basketball coach adamantly disapproved of the Big Ten’s decision to slap MSU with the largest fine in conference history on Monday.
“Yeah, I’m completely distraught,” Izzo said shortly after the conference released a statement about the Oct. 29 football incident. “I think getting a $100,000 fine – suspending a player is fine, but getting a fine like that and then the other school gets reprimanded, what does that mean? ” reprimand “?”
BIG TEN ACTS:Michigan State fined $100,000 by Big Ten for tunnel fight; Michigan reprimanded
THE FOLLOWING :Michigan State Reinstates Suspended Player; the accused still prohibited
Nearly a month after the altercation that led to charges last week for seven MSU football players, the Big Ten has broken its silence on the situation. That included the $100,000 fine that topped the $40,000 sentence imposed on UM basketball coach Juwan Howard for punching a Wisconsin assistant coach in February.
In its statement, the league said it concluded UM “did not meet the standards of the Big Ten Conference Football Game Management Handbook Policy” in allowing Wolverines Gemon Green and Ja ‘Den McBurrows entering Michigan Stadium’s Lloyd Carr Tunnel at the same time as the Spartans. left the field after a 29-7 loss.
“The policy requires that the conference member institution game host provide adequate protection to home and visiting team personnel when entering and exiting playing arenas,” the statement read. Big Ten.
Video from reporters and ABC showed MSU players brawling with the two UM players, although no video has surfaced of what started the altercation. Lawyers for two of the Spartans told the Free Press that the two Wolverines began the physical altercations on opposite sides of the Michigan Stadium tunnel. Another video showed a fan touching MSU football coach Mel Tucker on the head, and The Associated Press reported that person was identified and kicked out.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel in a statement late Monday said the Big Ten’s reprimand was about the fan who made contact with Michigan State coach Mel Tucker’s head while the coach was entering the tunnel that night. Manuel said the person was ejected.
Manuel said the school accepts the findings of the conference, “[i]n addition, to reduce the possibility of future incidents, we proactively implemented changes ahead of our last home game by increasing staff security in the areas around the playing surface. The review of security and procedures will remain a constant focal point of future event planning and reviews.”
Tucker suspended eight players in the days following the incident, and they all missed the Spartans’ last four games. Seven of the eight were reinstated. Neither Green nor McBurrows were punished by the conference or charged by the Washtenaw County District Attorney’s office.
That’s one of the issues for Izzo, who was on the court at Michigan Stadium before the game with his son, Steven. He expressed concern that the punishment was not shared equally, also pointing to two previous incidents in the stadium tunnel – last year against Ohio State and this season against Penn State, which occurred two weeks before the MSU game and caused Nittany Lions coach James Franklin to predict that a worse situation would arise if something was not done with tunnel management.
“I’m completely upset with what our players did, as Mel was. I think administratively they should be upset and how the tunnel was handled and how those players got in,” Izzo said on Monday ahead of the publication of Manuel’s statement “And as I said before, what starts out bad ends badly. And so if they were reprimanded enough, they must have found something wrong….. Well, if it was handled well, there wouldn’t have been a second part. I haven’t spoken to anyone here, to the DA, to the president. I haven’t spoken to the Big Ten office. It’s none of my business It disgusts me that this happened so make sure you don’t change your little treats But it also really disgusts me that it wasn’t handled better in the first place, since they have had a problem with Ohio State a year ago, Penn State this year. And then we get a $100,000 fine and there’s a reprimand. Well, what the hell s signifies a reprimand, what does that mean?
“I’m disappointed. And again, I’m going to keep saying this: don’t read that I’m validating everything that happened. I’m not validating the two players who ran in there, I’m not validating the guy rubbing his head (by Mel Tucker). I’m not confirming that the adults had a chance to make sure this thing was secure. The adults. The kids are going to act differently. And maybe my own administration I’ll be mad at me for saying that. But I’m not happy about it. I just found out. But it doesn’t surprise me.”
Izzo also pointed to the Oct. 30, 2018 game at Spartan Stadium, after which the Big Ten fined MSU but not UM for a pre-game incident involving former Wolverines player Devin Bush during warm-ups.
That year, the Big Ten determined that MSU violated the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy by crossing the field with their arms tied, something Mark Dantonio’s program had done for years without incident. Bush and a few other Wolverines were already on the field warming up before the Spartans arrived that day, and the conference said the MSU line of players “reached contact with several team members from the Michigan who were legitimately on the field during pre-game warm-ups”. MSU was fined $10,000 and Dantonio was reprimanded “for failing to take action to mitigate a foreseeable conflict”.
The league reprimanded Bush for his conduct, which included repeatedly grinding his cleats into the midfielder’s logo and yelling at MSU players, and UM coach Jim Harbaugh also received a reprimanded for his comments made on the incident, Dantonio and the Spartans during press conferences after the game and in the following days.
A source with knowledge of the Big Ten’s ongoing investigation told the Free Press Monday that the 2018 sanction was issued directly by former conference commissioner Jim Delany and did not follow conference sanctioning protocol.
Izzo said he didn’t think either school should have been fined for this year’s incident, and he pointed out how this 2018 situation was handled as a sign of his belief that Monday’s punishment was unjust.
“I’ve been here for many years, been through a lot,” Izzo said. “I saw it happen to (Mark) Dantonio, when they attacked our Spartan head. I have others (for) the book I will write after my death.
“And maybe there are things I don’t know. I hope. … I think it should be a lot more equal, like I thought the other one at Spartan Stadium should have been.
“You know what, I’m a fuckin’ Michigan State guy. And I don’t condone anything that our student-athletes do wrong, and there are things that have been done wrong. But I’m also Held accountable for any mistakes I make — or even those I don’t make, I’m held accountable. A reprimand? What does that mean? Can we make each other? What changes? …
“So a sensitive point. And a sore point because I love this place. I think everything should be treated the same. And I think when adults have the opportunity to deal with a problem that was once a problem and it’s not dealt with, what begins, the bad ends.
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Izzo said he hasn’t spoken about his feelings to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, MSU athletic director Alan Haller or acting university president Teresa K. Woodruff. He met with reporters less than two hours after the conference issued its first statement on the situation.
“Yeah, it sticks in my throat. You are right, he said. “Because I’m a Mel Tucker fan, I’m a Mark Dantonio fan, I’m a Michigan State fan. I’m not backing down on that. I don’t care if it’s the commissioner or whatever. whatever else. I don’t think that’s fair. So my apologies to my president, my DA, if it bothers them.
“It’s totally Tom Izzo. But Tom Izzo’s been through a lot more than my AD and my president too. And I, I don’t know. I should just let it go. I don’t feel like letting go.”
Contact Chris Solari:email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.
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