Michigan’s Howard suspended 5 games for Wisconsin scrimmage
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard has been suspended from the final five games of the regular season and fined $40,000 for hit a Wisconsin assistant in the head, sparking a post-match melee.
The Big Ten also on Monday suspended three players one game for the altercation after the Badgers’ 77-63 win at No. 15 on Sunday: Michigan’s Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams II, and Wisconsin’s Jahcobi Neath.
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard was fined $10,000 for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy, but was not suspended. Howard is expected to be back for the Big Ten tournament, which begins March 9 in Indianapolis.
“Big Ten conference coaches and student-athletes are expected to demonstrate the highest standard of athletic conduct,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “I am grateful for the partnership with Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel and Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh. We expect yesterday’s incident to provide our coaches and student-athletes with an opportunity to reflect, learn and move forward in a way that demonstrates decorum and leadership on and off the court. .
Phil Martelli will be Michigan’s interim coach in Howard’s absence.
Howard was upset after Gard called a timeout with 15 seconds left and his team leading by 15 on Sunday.
The altercation began in the postgame handshake line, when Gard grabbed Howard by the arm in an attempt to explain why he called time out. Howard shouted “Don’t (expletive) touch me!” and put his right index finger in Gard’s face as the two began to argue.
“At that moment, I felt it was time to protect myself,” said Howard, a former NBA player and Associated Press Men’s Coach of the Year.
After the two coaches were separated, Howard swung his right hand and hit Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft on the left side of the head with an open hand.
“Somebody touched me and I think it was totally unjustified for them to touch me, because we were talking and communicating with each other,” Howard said. “That’s what made the situation worse.”
Players from either side got involved in the skirmish, and video emerged to show Diabate and Neath throwing punches.
Gard said he took the time out because his substitute players had four seconds to get the ball across the half court and he wanted to reset the clock to 10 seconds.
“Maybe he doesn’t know the rule, that you get the 10-second reset,” Gard said. “I wasn’t going to put my players in that kind of situation, having to break a press in four seconds coming off the bench cold. I wouldn’t do that for a regular group. I can take a timeout. It gives my players the best chance of success. That’s where it all started. He said: “I will remember that. I’ll remember that.” I said, ‘Hey, let me tell you why I did it.’ He didn’t want to do anything with it.
Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said he quickly contacted Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren about the situation after the game, adding that the Badgers had staff members who had been “assigned and injured” during the altercation.
“There’s no room, no space for conduct like that in any competition, let alone a Big Ten competition,” McIntosh said. “The Big Ten prides itself on sportsmanship. The Big Ten pride themselves on acting with class. That didn’t happen today.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel released a statement saying he apologized to McIntosh and that Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman contacted Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank “to apologize. totally unacceptable behavior.
“There is no excuse for any of our employees or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others, regardless of the factors that prompted it,” Manuel said.
This isn’t Howard’s first high-profile incident with another Big Ten coach.
Last season, Howard got into an argument with then-Maryland coach Mark Turgeon and had to be subdued during the conference tournament. Howard drew two technical fouls and was ejected from a game that Michigan ended up winning 79-66.
The Wolverines (14-11, 8-7) started the season with aspirations to challenge for the national championship and closed it out trying to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
Howard is in his third season as Michigan coach after being part of Michigan’s Fab Five teams three decades ago. Last season, he helped the Wolverines win the Big Ten title, 23 games and reach the NCAA Tournament Regional Finals.
AP sportswriters John Marshall in Phoenix and Steve Megargee in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
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