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Michigan head coach Juwan Howard will indeed pay a price for his role in the altercation following the Wolverines’ 77-63 loss to Wisconsin Sunday.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports reports that the university will be suspending Howard for the remaining five games of the regular season without pay. Howard will receive a $40,000 fine, the largest in Big Ten history. An official announcement is expected to come Monday night.
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard won’t be suspended, but will be fined $10,000. Three players will be suspended for one game, per Stadium’s Jeff Goodman: Michigan freshman forward Moussa Diabaté, sophomore forward Terrance Williams II and Wisconsin junior guard Jahcobi Neath.
After the loss, Howard and Gard exchanged words during the handshake line. As players from both teams ran in to attempt to separate the coaches, Howard reached across to slap Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the face.
In the closing moments of the game, Michigan appeared to employ a full-court press defense as Wisconsin was ready to inbound the ball with four seconds remaining. Gard opted to call a timeout and said after the game he called it to get his team reorganized.
“I was not going to put them in a position, when the ball had already been knocked out of bounds, to have to break a press in four seconds when they’re coming in cold off the bench,” Gard said. “So I took a timeout, which I’m allowed to do, and brought them over to get them organized.”
Howard denied after the game that the Wolverines were playing press and said he felt the timeout wasn’t fair to his team with the result no longer in doubt. Howard then revealed what he told Gard during their confrontation and why he struck Krabbenhoft.
“I addressed with the head coach that I will remember that, because of that timeout.” Howard said. “I think that was very uncalled for for him to touch me as we were communicating with one another. That is what escalated it… At that point I felt it was time to protect myself.”
Howard issued a statement through Michigan athletics Monday night, taking responsibility for his actions.
“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,” Howard said. “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!”
Michigan (14-11, 8-7 Big Ten), will move forward without Howard to finish its disappointing season. Wisconsin (21-5, 12-4 Big Ten), will continue its battle with Purdue (23-4, 12-4 Big Ten) and Illinois (19-7, 12-4 Big Ten), for first place in the conference.
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