Mississippi State’s Mike Leach ‘should be embarrassed’ over postgame melee, ESPN star says

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Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was taking the brunt of the criticism over a fight involving his football players and Tulsa Golden Hurricane players at the end of the Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday.

Leach’s postgame interview and his comments on the brawl weren’t enough for ESPN’s longtime college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who said the coach should be “embarrassed.”

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“Mike Leach should be embarrassed,” Herbstreit said Friday. “His postgame interview and what he said, ‘Hey, it’s football. Hey, it’s physical. It’s going to happen.’ Are you kidding me, Mike? You should be embarrassed about your program and what it did.”

“This is a black eye for the sport. Maybe you don’t care about the sport, dude. It’s as bad as it could be watching that for people that are sitting around watching college football and that breaks out. It’s another black eye for college football.”

Herbstreit added that the discipline coming from the NCAA should be harsh.

“We’ve all been around the game. There are fights in football. But to this level — where the police are coming in and people need to be arrested — there needs to be consequences to send a message, not just to these coaches and to these players, but to the entire country that this will not be tolerated. I don’t know who that would be. I hope the powers that be will drop some serious fines on the coaches and drop some suspensions on some of these players,” he added.

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MISSISSIPPI STATE, TULSA END ARMED FORCES BOWL WITH MAJOR BRAWL

Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen also released a statement on the fight.

“While I’m proud of the representation of our football student-athletes in our previous 10 SEC games and applaud the effort of our team during the Armed Forces Bowl, I’m deeply concerned about the actions of some student-athletes. No matter what led to the situation, fighting is inexcusable and does not represent Mississippi State University’s core values. Our administration and coach Leach are working diligently with the SEC office to review yesterday’s events and will address the situation in an appropriate manner,” the statement read.

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It’s unclear what kicked off the brawl after Mississippi State’s 28-26 victory. Tulsa was trying for a late onside kick to make a comeback. But the team was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which may have fueled the hot tempers.

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