Sports

Michigan’s Juwan Howard suspended after hitting Wisconsin assistant

Michigan Wisconsin Basketball
Posted at 6:57 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 23:44:22-05

(AP MODIFIED)  — After hitting Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft following Sunday's game, Michigan coach Juwan Howard has been suspended for the rest of the regular season, the Big Ten Conference announced Monday.

The Wolverines have five games remaining in their season. Howard was also issued a $40,000 fine.

In addition, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was issued a $10,000 fine. Players from each side got involved in the skirmish, and video appeared to show Michigan’s Moussa Diabate and Wisconsin’s Jahcobi Neath throwing punches.

Michigan's Terrance Williams II and Diabate as well as Neath were all suspended one game each, Big Ten announced.

The penalties are being jointly imposed by the Big Ten, the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin.

“Big Ten Conference coaches and student-athletes are expected to display the highest level of sportsmanship conduct,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “I am grateful for the partnership with Michigan Athletics Director, Warde Manuel and Wisconsin Athletics Director, Chris McIntosh. Our expectation is that the incident yesterday will provide our coaches and student-athletes with the opportunity to reflect, learn and move forward in a manner that demonstrates decorum and leadership on and off of the court.”

- Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren

Following the Big Ten's decision, Howard and Manuel released statements:

"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."

"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 Joel 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 men's head basketball coach Juwan Howard
"Today's disciplinary actions underscore the seriousness with which we take the incident that unfolded on Sunday. Simply put, there is no room at U-M for the behavior we saw. We will learn from this incident as a department, work to improve ourselves while operating under a spotlight, and move forward in a positive light."

- Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel

Angry about Wisconsin calling a late timeout, Howard began arguing in the postgame handshake line. Moments later, he hit the Badgers assistant in the head, and mayhem followed.

The Wolverines’ inability to boost their NCAA Tournament credentials was the least of their concerns after a 77-63 loss Sunday at No. 15 Wisconsin.

Howard struck Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft after jawing with Gard during the handshake line.

During his postgame news conference, Howard said he didn’t like Wisconsin calling for a timeout with 15 seconds left and the Badgers leading by 15.

“I thought it was not necessary at the moment, especially being a large lead,” Howard said.

Gard said he called the timeout because his reserves were in the game and only had four seconds to get the ball past midcourt. A timeout gives them 10 seconds.

“I was not going to put them in position, where the ball had already gotten knocked out of bounds, to have to break a press in four seconds,” Gard said.

After the game, Howard pointed a finger at Gard while complaining about the late move. Later on, Howard reached through a crowd to get to Krabbenhoft — replays showed Howard had his hand open as he struck Krabbenhoft on the left side of the head.

Howard said he reacted after someone from Wisconsin put hands on him. He said that “at that point, I felt it was time to protect myself.”

Video showed Gard had his hands touching Howard’s arm or wrist area while trying to explain why he called the timeout.

“Someone touched me, and I think it was very uncalled for, for them to touch me, as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another,” Howard said. “That’s what escalated it.”

This isn’t Howard’s first high-profile incident with another Big Ten coach.

Last season, Howard got into a shouting match with then-Maryland coach Mark Turgeon during the conference tournament. Howard had to be restrained. He drew two technical fouls and was ejected from a game Michigan ended up winning 79-66.