You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Top Stories

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio still playing the blame game over pregame incident

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 10/22/2018 Teddy Greenstein

UP NEXT
UP NEXT
Video by CBS Sports

It's the stroll that will never end.

Or, as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh called it Monday, "an orchestrated stormtrooper march."

Harbaugh opted to revisit the ugly pregame incident at Spartan Stadium. Hours later, Michigan State responded with a statement.

To summarize: Roughly two hours before kickoff Saturday, Michigan State players followed their tradition of walking the field arm in arm. Some Michigan players were warming up on the field. Harbaugh said one player got "clotheslined" and another had his headphones ripped off. He called it "total bush league."

Harbaugh also contended that Spartans coach Mark Dantonio stood nearby, smiling. Dantonio called that accusation "B.S."

"It's the opposite of B.S.," Harbaugh said Monday. "Coach said that was B.S. - it's not. That's fact. It's something the two athletic directors should talk about.

"When you host a team, each team shares the field. Each has a sideline, each has half of the field to warm up on. Michigan State locked arms and used every inch of the field in their walk in attempt of going through or over our guys in a physical manner. To call that unsportsmanlike or call that bush league is putting it mildly. That could've been a real unfortunate incident. ... I'm proud of our guys for keeping their cool and waiting for the game to (settle it)."

But that overlooks what linebacker Devin Bush Jr. did. He used his cleats to dig up dirt on the Spartan logo at midfield, prompting Michigan State staff to come out with white spray paint.

"I don't blame Devin," Harbaugh said. "I like the way our guys handled it."

Michigan State responded with this statement: "Regarding last Saturday's pregame timeline, both teams were distributed pregame timing sheets and were in communication earlier in the week about Michigan State's pregame tradition of walking the field upon arrival to Spartan Stadium. There has never been an on-field issue with this tradition in the 12 years under head coach Mark Dantonio. The timing of Saturday's pregame tradition did not change from previous games, nor did the communication change between both schools. MSU was scheduled to leave the Kellogg Center for its walk to the stadium at 9:45 a.m. and left at 9:47 a.m. The team was scheduled to arrive at Spartan Stadium at approximately 10 a.m. and walked the field at approximately 10:02 a.m.

"As a courtesy, Michigan was granted field access before MSU's arrival with the understanding from both sides that the U of M student-athletes would leave the field during this tradition. Michigan was on the field prior to 10 a.m. as previously agreed upon, but when multiple MSU staff members asked both U of M student-athletes and staff members to please move off the field for the pregame field walk, this did not occur."

Harbaugh disputed that timeline, saying: "We were aware they did a traditional walk and we contacted them. They send us a book, pregame operations, the most detailed and finest I've ever seen. Has everything in it in writing. But that part was not. So we called them and said: 'What time are you guys doing your walk? We don't want to put our players out until you do your traditional walk.'

"They gave us a time: 'It'll be at 9:45.' Said, 'OK, great.' Then, 'Well, it might be 9:55 ... now it is going to be 9:55,' a day later. That walk happened another 10 minutes after that. At no point was there any kind of heads up or, 'Hey, could you guys please leave the field?'

"Their strength coaches were out there leading it, their assistant coaches were out there. Coach Dantonio was right behind it. That had all the earmarkings and evidence of an orchestrated stormtrooper march. But I think that's (something Michigan athletic director) Warde (Manuel) will address."

tgreenstein@chicagotribune.com

Related slideshow: College football season (provided by photo services)

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon