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The talk around the college basketball world over the last few days has centered around the the postgame altercation that took place between Juwan Howard, the head coach of the Michigan men’s basketball team, and the coaches of the University of Wisconsin. After the Michigan/Wisconsin game — which Wisconsin won 77-63 — ended in Madison on Sunday, Howard swung an open hand and hit a Wisconsin assistant coach, causing an uproar around the basketball community.
Questions have been asked about whether the handshake line should continue after this incident, which is crazy to think about, but the question is being asked nonetheless. Now, many coaches around the country have expressed their disappointment in the situation, including Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
On Jalen & Jacoby, the Tigers coach had this to say about the incident:
“First thing was unfortunate for the kids. That it’s unfortunate for the kids. You know, when you guys dap each other in those lines — players — a lot of times there’s hugs, and there’s daps and there’s respect. When you go up against another warrior and you’re doing battle and you’re competing, but when the contest is over — it’s over. It’s over. Show respect. And both — neither coach showed the respect that the game requires. I’m not about getting rid of the handshake. I’m not about that. Look, it’s part of the tradition of college basketball. Show a brother some love and get onto the next one. Everybody was at fault. It’s not a good look for college basketball, but we’re going to move on.”
The Michigan head coach was suspended for the rest of the regular season and fined $40,000. Moussa Diabate and Terrence Williams of Michigan were both suspended one game, as was Jahcobi Neath of Wisconsin. The Badgers head coach Greg Gard was fined $10,000 for the incident, though the university said it would pay it.
Later on in the interview, Bruce Pearl was asked whether he agreed with the penalties that were levied as a result of the incident.
“I’m not in position to be judge and jury on this one,” Pearl said. “Everyone has been accountable for the mistakes. It’s a bad look. It takes two to tango. When Coach Howard threw the first punch — that’s obviously took it to a different level. So look, everybody is accountable. We all make mistakes, but we’re all competitors. You deal with the punishment and you learn from it and you move on. You just move on. I suppose it was appropriate. It didn’t require any more than it’s gotten. It’s been adjudicated properly.”
The conversation will continue, but coaches around the country will continue to be asked the question as well. Getting rid of a handshake line goes too far, but overreacting seems to be the answer to everything these days.