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 on Saturday in Ann Arbor. As the programs and Big Ten Conference continue an ongoing investigation into the matter, Michigan State has suspended four players — linebacker Tank Brown, cornerback Khary Crump, safety Angelo Grose and defensive end Zion Young — after MSU coach Mel Tucker reviewed what he called “disturbing electronic evidence.”
The players will be suspended indefinitely until the investigation comes to a conclusion.
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. A second video shows an even more violent part of the incident with helmets apparently being swung in the direction of a Wolverines player.
“Two of our players were assaulted,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters after the game. “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.”
Harbaugh said one player has a nasal injury from the altercation but did not name anyone involved or provide further specifics at the time. Defensive backs Ja’Den McBurrows and Gemon Green have been identified as at least two of the Michigan players involved, according to multiple reports.
Manuel was seen after the game speaking with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and local authorities. University of Michigan Police are in the process of investigating alongside Michigan State University Police, the former said in a statement Saturday night.
“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.”
Michigan State president Samuel Stanley called the actions by Spartans football players “unacceptable” and promised those involved would be held responsible.
“I’m extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior depicted by members of our football program,” Stanley said in a statement. “On behalf of Michigan State University, my heartfelt apology to the University of Michigan and the student athletes who were injured. There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we are seeing on the videos. Rivalries can be intense but should never be violent.”
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,” Harbaughlast 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.”