On Sunday Afternoon in Madison Wisconsin, Juwan Howard found himself in an ugly situation. He blew by coach Greg Gard who did not take kindly to it. All of a sudden, both coaches got in each other’s faces, leading to Howard slapping assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft. The brawl expanded to players and the situation very quickly got dangerous. Whoever’s fault this is is irrelevant, but both certainly deserve blame. And in this writer’s opinion, Juwan Howard should be suspended for multiple games. In fact, I wouldn’t rule out a suspension for the entire season.

Sportsmanship is one of the core ideals of sport. And it is especially at the core of college basketball. Juwan Howard is normally one of the most respected coaches in the NCAA. His time at Michigan has been one of winning and excellence. However, if there has been a blemish on his resume, it has been his altercations with other coaches. Howard got in a scuffle with the Maryland coaching staff this time last year. And now that there’s another instance, it’s starting to look like an issue. Greg Gard should not have grabbed Juwan Howard. One could argue the timeout wasn’t necessary, but no physical altercation was necessary. And most importantly, there’s no place in the game for Juwan Howard’s punch.

Juwan Howard failed his players yesterday

The Michigan Wolverines program has a standard. And the standard is set by coach Juwan Howard. The job of a college coach differs from the professionals in the way that you are developing young men first. And any situation that you put your players in harms way is a failure from leadership. The worst example one can set for their young men is getting in any altercation. And nothing put that on display more clearly than when Michigan and Wisconsin players started throwing punches. And although I would not fire anyone involved, this certainly should be a warning. The Michigan Wolverines have a proud history, and this is not a part of that tradition.

The question is not about if punishment is justified, but rather how long the suspension should be. Players are normally the ones who are blamed for upholding character. But when it is the coach that has this type of display, let alone throwing the punch. There will be people calling for Howard’s job, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s being discussed. However, the Wolverines do need to consider the incident before this as well. They need to assess if Howard will be able to refrain from doing this again. This is currently a bad blemish on the Michigan Wolverines basketball program.

Greg Gard should be suspended too

Greg Gard of the Wisconsin Badgers does deserve to be suspended as well. The role that he played with Juwan Howard at the end of the game caused the altercation to get out of hand. Gard could’ve just let Howard walk past, and he could keep his hands to himself. The timeout he did call at the end of the game was unnecessary and he did overreact when Howard tried to blow past him. He should’ve let Howard say his peace, and if he truly wanted to explain his actions, he could’ve done so in a manner that was not during the heat of competition. However, Juwan Howard has a responsibility to carry himself as an adult. And if you can’t handle that type of interaction consistently, then your job should perhaps come into question.

Yesterday was an ugly day for college basketball. It was an especially ugly day for Michigan Basketball. The Michigan Wolverines uphold a standard of sportsmanship and leadership. And yesterday, at the very least, Juwan Howard failed at that. He swung at the assistant coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, and because of his actions, players then followed and punches were thrown. I hope that Howard can apologize and overcome this. But what is clear, is that he needs some space away from the program. He needs to take some accountability, and should be forced to go through counseling and training. This cannot happen again. And if it does happen again, Howard’s job should certainly be in question. For right now, I hope he is only suspended. But I wouldn’t mind if it was for the rest of the season.

Follow Sean on Twitter at seanhalfcourt and on YouTube

Featured Image Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

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