Multiple players were involved in a post-game altercation in the locker room tunnel following No. 4 Michigan’s 29-7 win over Michigan State. Video captured by the Detroit News showed one of two alleged incidents between the teams, with an unidentified Michigan player being shoved and kicked by Michigan State players as they left the field.
“Two of our players were assaulted,” Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters. “I saw the one video, it’s 10-on-1. Pretty bad. I’m going to let our athletic director, Warde Manuel, address it with the authorities.”
Manuel was seen after the game speaking with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, as well as local authorities.
“What happened after the game was completely unacceptable,” Manuel said. “I talked to the commissioner and he’s looking into it. The police are also looking into it. We’ll leave it in their hands but this is not how we should interact after the game. That’s not the way another team should grab a player and do what they did. It’s completely and utterly unacceptable. We will let the Big Ten and law enforcement handle it, but this is not what a rivalry should be about. It’s not how it should be remembered.”
Harbaugh said one player has a nasal injury from the altercation, but did not name anyone involved. Michigan State coach Mel Tucker was unsure of exactly what happened after the game. “I know it was a heated game,” said Tucker. “Things were heated. We’re trying to get our guys in the locker room. We’re gonna have to figure out what happened.”
This is Michigan’s second tunnel tussle in as many games. At halftime of a 41-17 win over Penn State, players from both teams got into a heated exchange, which led to a protracted tiff in the media between Harbaugh and Penn State coach James Franklin.
“All you got to do is walk into their locker room,” Harbaughon Monday. “Like, you saw pretty clearly that they completely stopped. They weren’t letting us get up the tunnel. And it just seemed like a sophomoric ploy to keep us out the locker rooms.”
Michigan Stadium, which was opened in 1927, only has one exit from the field to both locker rooms. Typically, the visiting team heads up the tunnel first with Michigan following. During the fight on Saturday, the unidentified Michigan player appeared to be in the tunnel while the rest of his teammates were still celebrating on the field.
“There really should be a policy that the first team that goes in, there is a buffer,” Franklin said after the initial altercation. “If not, this team starts talking to this team, they start jawing back and forth, and something bad is going to happen.”