Michigan Wolverines-Michigan State Spartans pregame football spat spills into this week
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR — The pregame spat between Michigan and Michigan State is showing no signs of going away.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday the athletic directors for both schools should probably talk about what happened on Saturday before the game at Michigan State.
The Spartans walked from one end zone to the other with their arms locked, as they do before each game, but it happened while some of the Wolverines were stretching near the middle of the field.
Contact was made, words were exchanged and Michigan went on to beat Michigan State 21-7.
Harbaugh called it “bush league” after the game and clearly wanted to talk more about it Monday. He said the Spartans were on the field for their traditional walk later than scheduled and were led by the strength staff onto the field with coach Mark Dantonio just behind the sideline-to-sideline string of players.
“That had all the earmarkings and evidence of an orchestrated Stormtroopers march,” Harbaugh said. He later said in a text message he was referring to the “Star Wars” film series.
Dantonio called the incident “B.S.” after the game and readdressed the situation Sunday.
“The whole thing to me was sort of juvenile,” Dantonio said. “Things are going to happen in rivalry games.”
MSU said Monday the two schools were communicating about the school’s pregame ritual and said it has not been a problem in Dantonio’s 12 years.
“The team … walked the field at approximately 10:02 a.m.” Michigan State spokesman Ben Phlegar said. “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.”
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said he talked with MSU athletic director Bill Beekman after the incident.
“My preference is to keep that conversation and any further discussions between us,” Manuel said. “I will work with our staff and the conference to see how this situation can be prevented from happening in the future.”