Editorial: Hands off: End the handshake ritual

University of Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard will serve a five-game suspension after throwing a punch at Wisconsin’s assistant coach, Joe Krabbenhoft.

Nearly a week ago, the Wolverines lost to the Badgers 77-63, but the main headline is not about the game of basketball.

After the game, both teams lined up to shake one another’s hand, leading to an argument between both head coaches during the handshake. This argument set off a confrontation between both teams, which ultimately led to a brawl.

After all is said and done, Howard will have spent $40,000 in fines and will be sitting at home until after the Wolverines play arch-rival Ohio State Buckeyes on March 6. 

Moreover, why is it that teams still participate in this long-standing tradition of shaking hands after a game?

When I played sports at a young age (recreational soccer at age 5), it made sense to shake hands and say “good game” to each opposing player. After this, the parents would all run under a hand-made tunnel leading us to a refreshment cooler with Capri Sun and peanut butter crackers.

The scenario I described is entirely different from a Big Ten matchup featuring premier college basketball teams in the nation.

It makes no sense to shake another team’s hand after a heated battle. Sure, it shows good sportsmanship, but at what cost? Had Michigan walked off the court without shaking hands, their team would still have its head coach going into the last week of the regular season, and the Wolverines could continue their run to the post-season tournament.

This tradition should be done away with after this latest incident because it gives players and coaches a chance to make a rash decision that can ultimately have a lingering effect on a team and its coaches moving forward.

Michigan has yet to say if this will impact Howard’s tenure moving forward, but that is still up for discussion. The fact is that teams should stop shaking hands after they leave high school. Professional athletes only talk to other players on their terms. Collegiate athletes should follow this protocol to help mitigate these instances from happening in the future.

It makes zero sense for teams to shake hands after an intense competition. Players should not shake hands unless they choose to do so, plain and simple.

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