Another week, another fight at La Grande Maison.
Following Michigan’s 29-7 victory over rival Michigan State on Saturday night, an incident occurred in the split tunnel between the visitors and the home team in which Spartan football players threw kicks punched and kicked Wolverine defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows. Another Michigan player who has not yet been identified received a blow from a swinging helmet as he was accosted by several members of the MSU team. Jim Harbaugh later indicated that at least one player potentially suffered a nose injury.
Pictures of the fight pic.twitter.com/cipLWi5RBS
– Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) October 30, 2022
The 2nd Jumping harbaugh referred to
Just throw them all or suspend them pic.twitter.com/SWooBiVTLo
— GBP (@GoBluePoole) October 30, 2022
Prior to the fight, McBurrows could be seen on film jumping past his teammates to enter the tunnel while pushing his way through a group of Michigan State players and kicking at least one fan in the stands.
The fight in the tunnel was unacceptable and I expect our players to be held accountable. But the No.1 is clearly jumping into the locker room dabbing fans looking for trouble pic.twitter.com/LzJuH7k7Xf
— Dot (@PlayboiSparty) October 30, 2022
Although Mel Tucker said after the match that he was unaware of the details of the altercation, Tucker himself was involved in an incident heading into the tunnel in which he pushed a fan of the Michigan holding out her arm before reaching out to him. the pits again before the available images are cut.
Don’t Touch Mel Tuckers Head pic.twitter.com/QvGueMHCue
— Unneced Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) October 30, 2022
MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. called the actions of the Spartan student-athletes “unacceptable behavior,” while Tucker released his own statement Sunday morning on Twitter condemning his players for the treatment of their opponent.
As Spartans, our program has a responsibility to maintain the highest level of sportsmanship. While emotions were running high at the end of our rivalry game at Michigan Stadium, there is no excuse for behavior that puts our team or our opponents at risk.
—Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) October 30, 2022
Harbaugh called the altercation an assault and called the overall incident “completely and utterly unacceptable.” We’ll let the Big Ten and law enforcement deal with it, but that’s not what a rivalry should be. ESPN reported that Harbaugh appeared “visibly distraught” after the match to deal with the consequences of the conflict.
Michigan President Warde Manuel further stated that “what happened after the game is totally unacceptable. I’ve spoken to (Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren), he’s looking into it. The police are also looking into the matter, as they have seen the video and are dealing with it. We’ll leave that in their hands, but that’s not how we should interact after a game.
It is now the third instance in Michigan’s last seven home games in which clashes and scuffles between host and visiting teams have occurred. Two weeks ago, Penn State football players found themselves in a halftime screaming game with the Wolverines. Although there were no explicit reports of violence, Michigan defensive back RJ Moten went on to claim that someone from the Nittany Lions threw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his face.
A few halftime tunnel shenanigans occur. pic.twitter.com/FwxgXdO7jj
—Isaiah Hole (@isaiahhole) October 15, 2022
After that game, James Franklin noted, “We’re not the first team to have problems like this…under the current structure, we won’t be the last.” He also offered a simple solution to the tunnel’s recurring conflicts by offering “a two-minute or one-minute buffer between the two teams” entering the tunnel while everyone heads to their respective locker rooms.
Harbaugh exonerated Michigan of any responsibility the following Monday while blaming the Franklin and Penn State team entirely for the incident. He said “pretty clearly that (Penn State players) have come to a complete stop. They wouldn’t let us up the tunnel, and it felt like such a sophomoric ploy to try to keep us out of our changing rooms. And (Franklin) seemed like the ringleader of it all.
Of course, Ohio State fans will remember another incident from last year’s visit to Ann Arbor when the Wolverines chased the Buckeyes down the stadium tunnel during halftime of the game.
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 27, 2021
Chaos in the tunnel between Ohio State & Michigan pic.twitter.com/HedljphBq1
— Josh Pate (@LateKickJosh) November 27, 2021
In the days leading up to The Game, Ryan Day noted “there’s a lot of that stuff in the tunnel”. Shortly after the shouting, an on-field fight between the teams nearly broke out during the third quarter when Ohio State defensive back Cameron Brown ripped off Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson’s helmet near the goal line after Wilson grabbed Brown’s ankle.
Regarding the most recent incident at The Big House split tunnel, the Big Ten noted in its statement on the matter that the conference is “currently collecting information, will thoroughly review the facts and take appropriate action.” .
Tucker announced Sunday night that he had suspended four players indefinitely for their role in the altercation, and Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller also released a statement describing their behavior as “both unusual for our football program is unacceptable”.
Statement from Michigan State Vice President and Athletic Director Alan Haller pic.twitter.com/0ZjScxrh6A
— Michigan State Athletics (@MSU_Athletics) October 31, 2022