ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State President Samuel Stanley called actions by Spartans football players involved in a postgame melee with members of rivalry Michigan’s team “unacceptable” and said Sunday those involved would be held responsible by coach Mel Tucker.
“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.”
The scuffle broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel out after the fourth-ranked Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7 Saturday night. Social media posts showed at least three Michigan State players pushing, punching and kicking Michigan’s Ja’Den McBurrows in and near a hallway that does not lead to either locker room.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Saturday that a second player, who he did not identify, was also attacked and that one player was injured and might have a broken nose.
“Two of our players were assaulted,” Harbaugh said. “I saw on the one video. 10 on one. It was pretty bad. It needs to be investigated.”
Tucker said in a tweet Sunday that his program will cooperate with law enforcement and the Big Ten in any investigation.
“As Spartans, our program has a responsibility to uphold the highest level of sportsmanship. While emotions were very high at the conclusion of our rivalry game at Michigan Stadium, there is no excuse for behavior that puts our team or our opponents at risk,” Tucker said. “In complete cooperation with law enforcement, the Big Ten Conference and MSU and UM leadership, we will evaluate the events in Ann Arbor and take swift and appropriate action.”
University of Michigan Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said an investigation is underway in partnership with the Michigan State Police, and Michigan’s athletic department and football program.
“Coach Tucker will be holding the players involved responsible, and our football team and university will be cooperating with all related investigations by law enforcement and the Big Ten Conference,” Stanley said.
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