Jim Harbaugh calls out James Franklin as ‘ringleader’ of ‘sophomoric’ Michigan-Penn State tunnel tussle

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The now-infamous “tunnel tussel” between Michigan and Penn State just won’t die down. Though the Wolverines’ 41-17 win over the NIttany Lions came on Oct. 15, coaches Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin keep trading barbs after their teams got into a halftime scuffle in the locker room tunnel underneath Michigan Stadium, with coaches and members of security team doing their best to separate the players.

Emotions from the incident have spilled over, and on Monday, Harbaugh put Franklin on blast for (in his view) instigating the exchange by standing in the tunnel instead of heading into the visiting locker room.

“Really got bigger fish to fry than Franklin’s opinion on the halftime tunnel from a game ago,” Harbaugh told reporters. “All you got to do is walk into their locker room. Like, you saw pretty clearly that they completely stopped. They weren’t letting us get up the tunnel. And it just seemed like a sophomoric ploy to keep us out of the locker rooms. [Franklin] looked like he was the ringleader of the whole thing. I got bigger fish to fry than worry about that kind of whining.”

Contributing to the issue was the fact that Michigan’s stadium has only one tunnel for both teams to get to their respective locker rooms, which typically results in the visiting team heading in before the Wolverines. In Franklin’s view, not enough time was allowed between the teams as they made their way into the tunnel at the half.

“There really should be a policy that the first team that goes in, there is a buffer,” said Franklin last week. “If not, this team starts talking to this team, they start jawing back and forth, and something bad is going to happen. All there has to be [is] a two minute or minute buffer in between the two teams.”

Penn State declined comment when asked about Harbaugh’s remarks by CBS Sports. Here’s video of the incident. Judge for yourself.

The two teams won’t play again until next year, but if they get paired up at a charity event or make the rounds at Big Ten Media Days on the same day next summer, it’ll be fascinating to hear the conversation between the two .

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