Tom Izzo slams Big Ten’s move to only reprimand Michigan after tunnel incident: ‘I’m completely upset’

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo is “completely upset” about the Big Ten conference’s punishment it handed down on Monday following the postgame tunnel altercation at the Michigan State-Michigan football game in Ann Arbor on Oct. 29.

The conference officially fined Michigan State $100,000 and suspended eight players for their role in the tunnel fight. Michigan, on the other hand, was hit with a public reprimand.

It’s that second part, Izzo said Monday, that doesn’t make sense to him.

“What the hell does reprimanded mean? I’ve told you guys I’m completely upset by what our players did, as [football coach] Mel [Tucker] was,” Izzo said, via MLive’s Kyle Austin. “I would think that administratively, they should be upset on how the tunnel was handled and how those players ran in there. As I said before, what starts bad, ends bad. And so if they were reprimanded enough, they must have found something wrong. If it was managed right, there would have been no second part.”

Seven Michigan State players were charged for their roles in the incident that followed Michigan’s 29-7 win on Oct. 29. The Big Ten determined that the seven players “participated in the hitting, kicking or using of their helmet” to hit Michigan players in the tunnel. One of those players, Khary Crump, was seen swinging his helmet at a Michigan player. He was charged with felony assault.

Izzo said repeatedly that he doesn’t condone the actions of the Michigan State players that day. But this issue, he believes, is one that “grown-ups” should have seen coming and fixed a long time ago.

After all, this isn’t the first issue that’s come up when two teams share the same tunnel.

“It really disgusts me too that it wasn’t handled on the front end since they had a problem with Ohio State a year ago, Penn State this year, and then we get a $100,000 fine and there’s a reprimand,” Izzo said. “Well, what the hell does a reprimand mean? What does it stand for?

“I’m disappointed and again, I’m going to keep saying it. Do not read in that I validate anything that happened. I don’t validate the two players that ran in there, I don’t validate the guy rubbing his head. I don’t validate that grown-ups had a chance to make sure that [tunnel] was secure.

“Grown-ups. I’m not happy with it.”

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
Michigan State was fined $100,000 for its role in the tunnel incident in Ann Arbor last month. The “grown-ups,” Tom Izzo said, aren’t being blamed enough. (AP/Darron Cummings)