Juwan Howard, the head coach of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team, was suspended for the rest of the regular season for his part in a postgame fracas in which he appeared to strike a University of Wisconsin assistant coach in the head.
Big Ten Conference officials ruled that Howard was in “clear violation” of the league’s sportsmanship policy. He also was fined $40,000, the conference said in a statement.
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was also found to have violated the sportsmanship policy and was fined $10,000.
On Monday, Howard offered an apology:
“After taking time to reflect on all that happened, I realize how unacceptable both my actions and words were, and how they affected so many. I am truly sorry,” he said in a statement.
“I am offering my sincerest apology to my players and their families, my staff, my family and the Michigan fans around the world. I would like to personally apologize to Wisconsin’s Assistant Coach Joe Krabbenhoft and his family, too.”
“Lastly, I speak a lot about being a Michigan man and representing the University of Michigan with class and pride, I did not do that, nor did I set the right example in the right way for my student-athletes. I will learn from my mistake and this mistake will never happen again. No excuses!”
Big Ten officials described the incident Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin, as a “postgame physical altercation between the Michigan Wolverines and Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball teams.”
Michigan forwards Terrance Williams II and Moussa Diabate and Wisconsin guard Jahcobi Neath also violated the sportsmanship policy, the officials said. Each was suspended for one game.
“Big Ten Conference coaches and student-athletes are expected to display the highest level of sportsmanship conduct,” Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement.
“Our expectation is that the incident yesterday will provide our coaches and student-athletes with the opportunity to reflect, learn and move forward in a manner that demonstrates decorum and leadership on and off of the court.”
Chris McIntosh, director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin, praised the Badger team and staff who tried to “de-escalate” the situation and said the university would pay the financial penalty assessed on Gard.
“I consider the $10,000 fine from the Big Ten to be a ‘Wisconsin fine’ and not a’ Greg Gard fine,'” McIntosh’s statement said.
In the incident, captured in a video Sunday that went viral, Gard seems to grab Howard when he doesn’t offer a handshake, and the two appear to have a heated exchange.
Players and coaches for each team begin to step in to separate the head coaches when Howard squeezes his way back into the center of the crowd and throws a punch, which appears to connect with the head of Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft. A fracas ensues.
After the incident, Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel said, “There is no excuse for any of our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors.”
Kalhan Rosenblatt contributed.