- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten has suspended Michigan State defensive end William Gholston for Saturday's game against Wisconsin (No. 6 BCS, No. 4 AP) for violating the league's "sportslike conduct agreement" in last week's win against Michigan.
Gholston received the suspension for punching Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan following the final play of the third quarter of the Spartans' 28-14 win. Gholston was flagged for a personal foul, one of two he received in the game.
The Big Ten determined Gholston violated agreement 10.01.1.A.1, which prohibits "striking or attempting to strike or otherwise physically abusing an official, opposing coach, spectator or athlete."
Michigan State (No. 16 BCS, No. 15 AP) announced Tuesday it had been notified by the Big Ten of a potential violation and was investigating the matter internally. Big Ten rules require the school to submit its report, which would include any potential penalties, to the league by Wednesday.
A Big Ten official confirmed that Gholston's suspension came from the conference, not Michigan State. Gholston also received a public reprimand from the Big Ten.
"Make no mistake; there is no place for a thrown punch in a football game," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said in a prepared statement. "At the same time, it was important to get beyond the two-second video clip. It is critical that we strive to reduce and eliminate the sporadic incidents that detract from the game. In order to do that, we all must understand, be accountable and manage the environment to reduce these types of reactions.
"We wanted the Big Ten to understand the totality of the situation and that this act does not reflect the culture and values of Spartan Football and Michigan State University. We are accountable for the incident and accept the prescribed penalty."
Gholston, a sophomore and a starter, said in a statement that although he was provoked to react, his response was "inappropriate."
"I deeply regret momentarily losing my composure," Gholston said in his statement. " ... Coach [Mark] Dantonio regularly reminds us that actions have consequences, and I will be better prepared to handle these circumstances in the future. I look forward to my reinstatement."
Gholston leads Michigan State with seven tackles for loss and has 1½ sacks and 20 total tackles this season. Sophomore Denzel Drone likely will take his place in the starting lineup against Wisconsin.
Gholston will return for Michigan State's game Oct. 29 at No. 13 Nebraska.
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.