Michigan coach suspended for rest of regular season after brawl in Madison
The Big Ten has suspended Howard for Michigan's final five games and fined him $40,000. Wisconsin coach Greg Gard has received a $10,000 fine but no suspension. Three players involved in the brawl, including UW's Jahcobi Neath, have been given one-game suspensions effective immediately.
In the moments following the end of Sunday's game in Madison, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard and Howard met near the scorer's table between the team's benches. Howard was unhappy with a time out Gard had called in the closing seconds of the game with Wisconsin leading by 15 points. Tensions escalated and Howard struck Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft, starting a fight on the court that involved players and coaches from both teams.
Howard also expressed after the game that he was unhappy Gard touched him during the conversation that led to the fight. Gard says he called the time out to help out his players on the court, who were not the team's usual starters and were struggling against defensive pressure being applied by Michigan's starters.
Almost immediately after the fight, Badgers fans on social media were calling for Howard to be punished.
At Leff's Lucky Town in Wauwatosa, fan John Washcovick said at first, "My reaction is he's done for the season. He's going to get suspended by whomever. He will not coach the rest of the season."
As Howard's suspension was announced, Washcovick said, "I was just glad nobody got hurt bad. My thought was these are big men throwing punches and somebody could get hurt bad."
That was echoed by a lot of fans, like Benjamin Davis, who said, "I think it's sad to see that in sports, I'm glad no one was hurt more so than a couple bumps and bruises."
Konner Szohr said, "I don't think there's a place in college basketball for that."
Szohr wasn't watching the game live, but couldn't believe it when friends told him about it. Now he says some pundits have suggested the post-game handshake line should be done away with to avoid the situation in the future. He disagreed, saying, "If you take it away it takes away a piece of the game that is the respectable part."
Most fans felt Howard's five-game suspension was appropriate, while also providing an opportunity for coaches and athletes to grow. Davis said, "I think it's a moment where he can go forward and show 'I made a mistake, this is how I correct it.'"