Michigan-Michigan State investigation completed, sent to prosecutor

The University of Michigan Police Department has completed its criminal investigation into the Oct. 29 “Michigan Stadium Tunnel Incident” between the Michigan and Michigan State football teams.

In a statement released 45 minutes after the Wolverines’ 34-3 win over Nebraska on Saturday in Ann Arbor, UMPD Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said the case is now in the hands of the Washtenaw County District Attorney’s Office for review . She added that her department worked “with our law enforcement partners and Michigan State University” and “thoroughly investigated what happened.”

“We understand and appreciate your concern about this unfortunate and unusual incident,” Overton wrote in the statement. “In keeping with our commitment to transparency and due process, we will not release any further information pending the prosecution’s review.”

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It’s unclear if anyone involved in the postgame brawl from either team will be charged or when Washtenaw County District Attorney 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 conclusion of the UMPD 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 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 Kary Crump, defensive back Justin White and defensive back Malcom Jones.

MSU coach Mel Tucker and athletic director Alan Haller issued the suspensions on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Asked Saturday if they would review those decisions before UMPD releases its statement about the investigation, Tucker said the school will await the findings.

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“These children will be suspended pending an investigation. And then at that point, we’ll regroup,” Tucker said. “We’re just taking it one day at a time … based on the information we have, and that’s what we’re doing. It is what it is.”

UM coach Jim Harbaugh did not address the altercation Saturday during his postgame press conference following the Nebraska game.

After the Wolverines’ 29-7 win last month, UM linebackers Gemon Green and Ja’Den McBurrows ran around a safety on the Spartans’ line as they made their way up the Michigan Stadium tunnel. Both players were involved in altercations with multiple MSU players, with parts of both incidents captured on video by reporters and ABC from different angles.

Those videos are unclear as to how the fight started or which team started the brawl, but they show one Spartan swinging a helmet at Green and others punching and kicking McBarrows across the tunnel. An attorney representing one of the MSU players in the criminal complaint claimed Thursday that at least one of the physical fights was started by the UM player.

Green has been in uniform for the last two games since the incident, sitting out last week’s win at Rutgers but playing Saturday against Nebraska. McBurrows did not dress in either game and has not played this season.

It was the third matchup since last season involving the Wolverines and an opponent inside the Michigan Stadium locker room tunnel. Two weeks before the MSU game, UM and Penn State had an apparent verbal altercation in the tunnel at halftime of their game. The Wolverines and Ohio State had a similar situation at the same point during their matchup at the end of last season.

As a result, UM issued a statement Friday that it has changed its Michigan Stadium tunnel protocols for Saturday’s game against the Cornhuskers.

“We remain committed to providing the safest possible game environment for all participants and attendees and have reviewed everything from operations to access limits in collaboration with (UM’s Department of Public Safety and Security),” the athletic department said in a statement. statement. “The most recognizable adjustment will be the increase in security personnel in areas bordering the tunnel opening to the field so we can better monitor crowd and participant interactions. In addition, there will be a sharper gap between the away and home team who will have access to the tunnel areas at half-time and after the match.”

Free Press reporter Tony Garcia contributed to this report.

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.

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