LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan State University trustee and former NFL player has been charged with assault following a dispute over a referee’s calls during a girls’ basketball tournament.
The Lansing State Journal reported Friday that Mitch Lyons was coaching one of the teams when he allegedly pushed a referee after a December game. Lyons faces a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.
His attorney says Lyons, who has been a university trustee since 2011, denies the allegations.
The referee told police that he had to make a couple calls that caused one team to lose, then issued two technical fouls following a verbal dispute that followed. The ref said coach confronted him after the game and twice pushed him in the chest with his hands.
Lyons played football from 1988 to 1992 at Michigan State before spending seven years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons.
The charge comes amid other troubles for Lyons, as some have called for all MSU trustees to resign on accusations the university ignored or mishandled reports of abuse by then campus sport doctor Larry Nassar.
Lyons made headlines last week as the first board member calling for the ouster of MSU president Lou Anna Simon, who has since resigned.
A court hearing in Lyons’ assault case is set for Feb. 12.
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