ANN ARBOR, MI. – Michigan State President Samuel Stanley called the actions of Spartans football players involved in a postgame fight with members of the rival Michigan team “unacceptable” and said coach Mel Tucker will hold those involved accountable Sunday.
“I am deeply saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior of members of our football program,” Stanley said in a statement. “On behalf of Michigan State University, I offer my sincere apologies to the University of Michigan and the student-athletes who were injured.
“There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we see in the video. Rivalry can be intense, but it should never be brutal.”
A fight broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel after the fourth-ranked Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7 on Saturday night. Posts on social media showed at least three Michigan State players pushing, punching and kicking Michigan’s Ja’Dan McBurroughs 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 assaulted and that one player was injured and may have a broken nose.
“Two of our players were attacked,” Harbaugh said. “I saw on one video. 10 for one. It was pretty bad. It should be investigated.”
Tucker said on Twitter on Sunday that his program would cooperate with law enforcement and the Big Ten in any investigation.
“As Spartans, our program has a responsibility to maintain the highest level of sportsmanship. While emotions were very 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,” Tucker said. “In full cooperation with law enforcement, the Big Ten Conference and MSU and UM administration, we will assess the events in Ann Arbor and take swift and appropriate action.”
University of Michigan Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said the investigation is being conducted in partnership with Michigan State Police, the athletic department and the Michigan State football program.
“Coach Tucker will be responsible for the involvement of these players, and our football team and university will cooperate with all appropriate investigations by law enforcement and the Big Ten Conference,” Stanley said.
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