U-M police: Michigan-MSU investigation done, sent to Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office
The University of Michigan Police Department has completed its criminal investigation into the Oct. 29 “incident in the Michigan Stadium tunnel” between the football teams of Michigan football and Michigan State football.
In a statement released 45 minutes after the Wolverines’ 34-3 win over Nebraska on Saturday in Ann Arbor, UMPD Deputy Chief of Police Melissa Overton said the case is now in the hands of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for review. She added that her department “collaboration with our law enforcement partners and Michigan State University” and “thoroughly investigated what occurred.”
“We understand and appreciate your interest in this unfortunate and unusual incident,” Overton wrote in the statement. “Consistent with our commitment to transparency and due process, we will not share further information pending the prosecutor’s office review.”
It is unclear if any of the participants in the postgame altercation from either team will be charged or when Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit or his staff will respond to the report. The Big Ten also has not issued a statement or punishment on the matter two weeks after it occurred.
The announcement of the completion of UMPD’s investigation came nearly four hours after the Spartans’ 27-21 win over Rutgers in East Lansing, where MSU played for the second straight week without eight players who were suspended indefinitely in the three days after the event: linebacker/defensive end Jacoby Windmon, defensive back Angelo Grose, defensive end Zion Young, defensive end Itayvion “Tank” Brown, defensive end Brandon Wright, defensive back Khary Crump, defensive back Justin White and defensive back Malcom Jones.
MSU coach Mel Tucker and athletic director Alan Haller issued the suspensions Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Asked Saturday if they would revisit those decisions prior to UMPD issuing its statement on the investigation, Tucker said the school would wait for the findings.
“Those guys will be suspended until the investigation has taken place. And then at that point, we will regroup,” Tucker said. “We're just taking one day at a time ... based upon the information that we have, and that's what we're doing. It is what it is.”
U-M coach Jim Harbaugh did not address the altercation Saturday during his postgame news conference after the Nebraska game.
Following the Wolverines’ 29-7 win last month, U-M players Gemon Green and Ja’Den McBurrows ran around security into the Spartans’ line as they walked up the Michigan Stadium tunnel. Both players were involved in altercations with multiple MSU players, with a portion of the two incidents captured on video by reporters and ABC from different angles.
Those videos are unclear as to how the fighting began or which team started the altercations, but they show one Spartan swinging a helmet at Green and others punching and kicking McBurrows on the opposite side of the tunnel. An attorney representing one of the MSU players in the criminal complaint alleged Thursday that at least one of the physical altercations was started by U-M player.
Green has been in uniform for the past two games since the incident, not getting into last week’s win at Rutgers but playing Saturday against Nebraska. McBurrows did not dress for either game and has not played this season.
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It was the third confrontation since last season involving the Wolverines and an opponent inside the Michigan Stadium tunnel to the teams’ locker rooms. Two weeks before the MSU game, U-M and Penn State got into an apparent verbal altercation in the tunnel at halftime of their game. The Wolverines and Ohio State had a similar situation in the same spot during their game at the end of last season.
As a result, U-M issued a statement Friday that it altered Michigan Stadium tunnel protocols for Saturday’s game against the Cornhuskers.
“We remain focused on providing the safest possible gameday environment for all participants and attendees and have reviewed everything from operations to access thresholds in partnership with (U-M’s Division of Public Safety and Security),” the athletic department said in a statement. “The most recognizable adjustment will be an increase in security staffing in areas bordering the tunnel opening to the field so that we can better monitor crowd and participant interactions. In addition, there will be a more pronounced gap between the visiting and home teams accessing the tunnel areas at halftime and postgame.”
Free Press reporter Tony Garcia contributed to this report.