Jim Harbaugh is not.
Harbaugh doubled down Monday on calling the Spartans' actions before Michigan's 21-7 victory "bush league." He said he believes the athletic directors from both schools should discuss what Michigan has deemed a game-management issue.
"To call that unsportsmanlike or to call that bush league is putting it mildly," Harbaugh told reporters.
The genesis of Harbaugh's ire started two hours before kickoff Saturday when Michigan State entered its home stadium a few minutes late for its regular ritual of walking with locked arms from end zone to end zone in a straight line that spans the width of the field. Some of Michigan's players were already on the field when the Spartans arrived for what Harbaugh has deemed their "orchestrated stormtrooper march," which led to a slow-motion game of chicken and posturing between the rival players.
"Both teams were distributed pregame timing sheets and were in communication earlier in the week about Michigan State's pregame tradition of walking the field upon arrival to Spartan Stadium," Michigan State said in a statement Monday. "There has never been an on-field issue with this tradition in the 12 years under head coach Mark Dantonio. The timing of Saturday's pregame tradition did not change from previous games, nor did the communication change between both schools.
"MSU was scheduled to leave the Kellogg Center for its walk to the stadium at 9:45 a.m. and left at 9:47 a.m. The team was scheduled to arrive at Spartan Stadium at approximately 10 a.m. and walked the field at approximately 10:02 a.m. As a courtesy, Michigan was granted field access before MSU's arrival with the understanding from both sides that the U of M student-athletes would leave the field during this tradition. Michigan was on the field prior to 10 a.m. as previously agreed upon, but when multiple MSU staff members asked both of U of M student-athletes and staff members to please move off the field for the pregame field walk, this did not occur."
Michigan State's players say a member of their staff asked the Wolverines to head to the sideline temporarily before they took the field. Harbaugh said that didn't happen. He was not on the field at the time, but learned about the incident from other Michigan staff members. Wolverines spokesman Dave Ablauf said a Michigan player was "clotheslined" during the pregame walk and another had a pair of headphones ripped from his head. Harbaugh said Dantonio was walking "five yards behind it all smiling."
Dantonio called those claims "B.S." minutes after Harbaugh took issue with him in their respective postgame news conferences. Dantonio said Sunday night on his weekly teleconference call that he wasn't going to respond in detail and that he thought the whole ordeal was "juvenile."
Harbaugh took exception with the word "juvenile" Monday, saying that was an attempt to brush the situation under the carpet. He also brought a piece of paper to his Monday news conference with an old quote from Dantonio.
"I'll go one step further and use Coach Dantonio's words from a few years back," Harbaugh said. "'It's not a product of the team, but their program.' Again, that's using his words. That could've been an unfortunate deal. I'm proud of our guys for keeping their cool."
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush responded to the pregame altercation by kicking a series of divots into Michigan State's midfield logo with his cleats. Bush said after the game that he was acting on "pure emotion" and that he can't take his actions back, so "it is what it is." Harbaugh said Monday that he didn't blame Bush for his reaction.
This year's pregame exchange joins a long list of off-the-field animosities in the history of the rivalry. Michigan's players drove a stake into the Spartan Stadium turf before losing to Michigan State in 2014. The most well-known jab came from former Wolverines running back Mike Hart, who called the Spartans their "little brother" after a win in 2007. Dantonio responded to that comment by telling reporters, "Pride comes before the fall." Michigan State then won eight of the next 11 games in the annual series. The visiting team has won the past four games.
Michigan senior defensive end Chase Winovich referenced that Hart quote in a postgame interview with Fox Sports on the field Saturday.
"Sometimes your little brother starts acting up, and you've got to put them in place," Winovich said.
Dantonio said in the week leading up to Saturday's meeting that the games with Michigan since Harbaugh's arrival had been respectful and sportsmanlike because both coaches "respected the game of football," and that trickled down to their players. Harbaugh said Saturday that the tenor between the two programs changed to something less cordial.