EAST LANSING - Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis acknowledged in a written statement today that the Big Ten has notified the university of "a possible sportslike conduct violation," stemming from the Spartans' 28-14 victory over Michigan on Saturday.
Michigan State officials confirmed that the punch thrown by Spartan defensive end William Gholston at Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan during the second half of Saturday's game is the act that is being reviewed and investigated.
Media were informed that Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio will not comment on the incident until the investigation is complete. Dantonio did not speak directly about the incident during Tuesday's weekly press conference.
Hollis released the following written statement to media following Dantonio's press conference:
"The Big Ten has notified Michigan State of a possible sportslike conduct violation. We are in the process of completing our internal review of the matter. We are thoroughly reviewing the entire game and utilizing all of the the available resources: coaches' video from midfield and end zone cameras, TV copy as well as still photographs. Once the internal review is completed, we will forward a written report onto the Big Ten. The conference office won't discuss a timeline for this process and neither will we.
"We will follow the proper protocol for filing our complete report and not do it in a piecemeal manner through the media.
"As an institution, we work hard at promoting good sportsmanship and I'm sure many of you are familiar with our 'Raise Your Shield' campaign, encouraging our fans to honor and respect our opponents. I also know that Coach Dantonio and his staff work hard at promoting good sportsmanship. This is an isolated incident and Coach D and his staff will continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining one's composure during the heat of the moment.
"As an AD, I take sportsmanship seriously, but it's equally important for me to evaluate this game and the particular play in its totality."
Gholston is listed as the first-string defensive end on Michigan State's official roster this week. Neither Michigan State nor the Big Ten office has issued a statement on the possibility of a suspension.
The Spartans were flagged for six personal foul penalties during Saturday's victory over Michigan. In addition to Gholston being flagged for the punch, he was also flagged for a late hit along the sideline and/or pulling the facemask of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson while on the bottom of the pile.
During Dantonio's press conference, he was asked if he felt he had "a dirty team."
"You have to take into context how we have played here for the past 50-plus games," Dantonio said. "That's how I would respond to that.
"We are just playing the game as hard as we can play it. This is a physical game. This is a game of reaction. We are talking about tenths of seconds to react. This is a game of collision. Anybody who does not understand that hasn't been out there.
"The key to this game is composure as well. I talk to our players that the key to playing winning football is being energetic, enthusiastic throughout the game and then executing and being under control.
"The lack of composure is frustrating, obviously. But we aren't coaching that, and I don't think that has ever been evident in this program."