The Big Ten Conference on Monday suspended Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs for one game for getting involved in a scuffle with Penn State players before Saturday’s 20-19 Terrapins victory. The conference also publicly reprimanded Coach Randy Edsall for failing to “control his team prior to the game” and fined the school $10,000.
Diggs will be forced to sit out from Maryland’s next game, which comes against Michigan State on Nov. 15.
The scuffle broke out as the Maryland and Penn State teams emerged onto the field before the start of Saturday’s game in State College, Pa. In the melee, Diggs was seen making physical contact with a game official trying to separate the two teams.
While the Big Ten did not mention the incident in handing down its punishment, Diggs was the only player from either team to be suspended.
Diggs was also one of three Maryland team captains who refused to shake hands with Penn State players at midfield during the pregame coin toss. The other Maryland captains are Sean Davis and P.J. Gallo; neither was reprimanded by the conference Monday.
The Big Ten said of the non-handshake, which received enormous attention on social media over the weekend: “The decision by Maryland team captains to not shake hands with Penn State team captains during the pregame coin toss ceremony was exceptionally regrettable.”
Edsall and Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson apologized following Saturday’s win. “We are extremely disappointed in the actions of our captains involved in today’s coin toss prior to today’s kickoff against Penn State,” Anderson said shortly after the game.
Monday’s sanctions cast an embarrassing shadow over what Edsall had called the biggest win of his time at Maryland, and they came during Maryland’s inaugural season in the Big Ten. Saturday’s victory marked the first time Maryland had won in State College in 23 tries, and it was the football team’s first win over the Nittany Lions since 1961.
Diggs, a junior who is considered the team’s biggest offensive threat, had six catches for 53 yards against Penn State. He is also an electrifying kick returner, and now the Terrapins must prepare to fill the void on offense and special teams in his absence ahead of Michigan State.
“I sincerely apologize for my conduct prior to kickoff this weekend. I let my emotions get the best of me and did not properly represent myself as student-athlete and leader of the University of Maryland football team,” Diggs said in a statement released by the team. “My behavior towards the officiating crew and the Penn State football team were unacceptable..”
The Big Ten also reprimanded Edsall, declaring that he failed to control his team during the scuffle. The $10,000 fine was handed down as part of the violation.
“I accept the penalties handed down by the Big Ten Conference and take full responsibility of our actions this past Saturday at Penn State. Our football program did not live up to the standards that we set for ourselves,” Edsall said in a statement. “Moving forward, we will use better judgment and remain composed so that we better represent the University of Maryland. We have learned from this experience and will take the necessary steps to make sure this does not happen again.”
Monday’s punishment marked the second time this fall the Big Ten has levied sanctions against Maryland for a violation of the conference’s Sportsmanship Policy. Maryland men’s soccer Coach Sasho Cirovski was suspended for one game and the school was fined $10,000 after Cirovski verbally berated game officials following the Terrapins’ 3-2 overtime loss to Northwestern on Oct. 5.