Both the Pac-12 Conference and the University of California's athletic director said that it was unacceptable for Bears men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery to shove star guard Allen Crabbe during Sunday's game against Southern California, but neither announced plans for a fine or suspension.
During a timeout called by Montgomery in the second half, the Bears coach shoved Crabbe in the chest with two hands as the team entered the huddle.
In a statement Monday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said, "While emotions can run high in competitive environments, Pac-12 coaches are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will reflect credit on their institutions and the conference. Each Pac-12 coach must be aware that they are an example to student-athletes and other students, and consistent with this influence and visibility, must meet a particularly high standard."
Cal AD Sandy Barbour said in a statement, "Sunday's game was an emotional one for everyone who cares deeply about our men's basketball program, and the Bears certainly showed tremendous resolve coming back to earn a win over USC. However, it is unacceptable for our coaches to have physical contact with student-athletes regardless of the circumstances. The second-half incident was certainly out of character for Mike Montgomery, and I am confident that something like this will not happen again."
Crabbe, the leading scorer in the Pac-12 at 19.8 points per game, didn't take kindly to the shove and began making his way to the team's locker room, but he returned to the court before the end of the timeout.
Crabbe returned in a big way, scoring 10 points in the final five minutes as the Bears closed the game on a 25-7 run. Crabbe finished with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds as Cal beat USC 76-68.
Montgomery said after the game that it was a motivational ploy.
"Worked, didn't it?" Montgomery said. "Allen had come down twice, went to the wrong side of the court and his guy shot two 3s. I was trying to get him going. Probably overdid it a little bit but Allen's my guy. We can't win if he is not ready to play."
Montgomery later apologized in a statement released by the school.
"I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment," he said. "While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions."
Crabbe downplayed the incident after the game.
"Everything's fine," he said. "It's under the bridge. He's my coach, no hard feelings. We're just going to keep moving on."