Things turned ugly in the aftermath of Michigan’s 29-7 win over Michigan State.
After the game, video surfaced of an altercation in the tunnel involving multiple Michigan State players and a Michigan player. The video appeared to show a group of MSU players surrounding a Michigan defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows.
Punches and kicks were thrown in the videos, which were posted on social media by multiple media members. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters that two Michigan players “were assaulted,” and that one has a nasal injury that could be a broken nose.
Footage of the scuffling pic.twitter.com/cipLWi5RBS
— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) October 30, 2022
The Michigan player appeared to be defensive back Ja'Den McBurrows, who was on the ground in the middle of several Michigan State players. When McBurrows got to his feet, Michigan State linebacker Itayvion Brown grabbed him and tossed him through an open doorway at the end of the tunnel. A Michigan State Police officer then is seen grabbing Brown’s jersey to hold him back. At least two other Michigan State players, safety Angelo Grose and defensive end Zion Young, were seen by a News reporter throwing punches at McBurrows.
Warde Manuel, Michigan’s athletic director, said he had been in contact with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren as well as local authorities. Warren attended Saturday’s game in Ann Arbor.
“What happened after the game was completely unacceptable. I talked to the commissioner. He is looking into it. We have the police also looking into it because they've seen the video. And so they’re addressing it. We will leave it in their hands, but this is not how we should interact after a game,” Manuel said.
“This is 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. We won on the field. This man [Jim Harbaugh] and his team, those players, went out there and won. And for that to happen is unacceptable. That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll leave it to Kevin and law enforcement to handle from here on out.”
University of Michigan police will launch an investigation, according to the Associated Press.
U-M Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said an investigation is underway, looking into the tunnel fracas, in partnership with MSU Police, UM's athletic department & football program.“Situations like these, and the safety of the community, are taken very seriously," Overton said.
— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) October 30, 2022
After the game, Michigan State coach Mel Tucker was asked about the incident but said was not aware of what transpired.
“I know it was a heated game. Things were heated. We’re trying to get our guys in the locker room. We’ll have to figure out what happened,” Tucker said.
Michigan Stadium has just one tunnel that leads to both the home and visitors’ locker rooms. Earlier this season, there was an incident at halftime of Michigan’s game with Penn State. After that game, Penn State coach James Franklin said he believed there needed to be an adjustment to how the tunnel was used in an effort to avoid confrontations.
"All there has to be is a two-minute or minute buffer in between the two teams," Franklin said Oct. 15. "This team is in before that team gets close and however we want to do it. But we're not the first team that's had issues like that. To me, under the current structure, we won’t be the last.”
Asked about Franklin’s comments earlier this week, Harbaugh was dismissive and said that PSU’s players weren’t letting the Michigan team get up the tunnel and into the locker room.
“It just seemed like a sophomoric ploy to try to keep us out of our locker rooms. And [Franklin] looked like he was the ringleader of the whole thing,” Harbaugh said.