The Michigan Wolverines’ one-tunnel situation came up as an issue during their Oct. 15 game against Penn State, when the two teams were stuck and shouting at each other at halftime. Sandwiches were supposedly thrown. This past Saturday’s game against Michigan State produced an uglier result.
Roughly two weeks after Penn State head coach James Franklin suggested a buffer to allow the teams to go in separately—an idea which rankled Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh—a fight broke out between Michigan and Michigan State players in the aftermath of the Wolverines’ 29-7 win. The two squads bumped against each other on the field, as seen in the below video by ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, but nothing serious happened until players were in the tunnel. You can see Michigan defensive backs Gemon Green (No. 22) and Ja’Den McBurrows (No. 1) file in with Michigan State’s players, while the rest of the team is held behind.
Green and McBurrows weren’t taunting anyone in VanHaaren’s clip, and it’s unclear what prompted the fight, but the two suffered the worst of it in the tunnel. A couple of clips from reporters present showed a group of Spartans attacking McBurrows, who wasn’t wearing his helmet. Another clip showed a Michigan player being hit over the head with an object, which would track with the report that Green was struck with a helmet.
On Sunday night, Michigan State announced the suspensions of four players for their involvement in the fight: Tank Brown, Khary Crump, Angelo Grose, and Zion Young. They will remain suspended pending the results of the school’s investigation. That probably won’t be the end of it. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Monday that he’d expect criminal charges to be filed, and VanHaaren reported that Green’s father planned to take legal action.
Harbaugh wouldn’t elaborate on what started the fight, although he did say that “Gemon was punched, and then Ja’Den was trying to help.” The coach added that ABC provided footage from a camera set up in the tunnel that showed the whole incident from a clearer vantage point, but the network hasn’t released that footage publicly. The Wolverines won’t play again at Michigan Stadium until Nov. 12 against Nebraska. Everybody has two weeks to figure out a better logistical plan to get two college football teams in and out of their locker rooms without incident.