The NCAA postseason college basketball tournament is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, as people take of work, watch the games on their office computers and even enter into inter-office pools.
Southern Mississippi reached the tourney for the first time since 1991 last week and some of their band members got a little too excited as a result of their team's achievement.
5 members of Southern Miss' marching band had their scholarships revoked and were kicked out of the band for leading derogatory chants against a Puerto Rican player in the teams first round loss to Kansas State last Thursday, according to CNN.
In a statement issued Tuesday the school noted that the 5 "have been forthcoming, cooperative, contrite and sincerely remorseful."
"They acted rashly and inappropriately, and now see the gravity of their words and actions," said Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Paul. "This is a teachable moment, not only for these students but for our entire student body and those who work with them."
Further, as part of their punishment the students are required to complete a 2-hour training course on cultural sensitivity, the school said. The school declined to identify the students by name.
TV cameras captured the incident during the Southern Miss Kansas State game at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Thursday.
While Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez stood camped at the free throw line, the chant echoed, "where's your green card."
Southern Mississippi University's president apologized to Rodriguez, saying the chant wasn't indicative of University's beliefs.
"I heard it. I don't pay attention to that nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers," Rodriguez said.
"Their athletic director and personnel from their school came to apologize, and I accepted it," he said.
Further, Rodriguez observed that there are "ignorant people, and I know that is not how they want to represent their university."
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn approved of Southern Miss' swift action noting that officials "responded in a timely and appropriate fashion to address the matter."
"Any determination of championship misconduct is the purview of the men's basketball committee and will be addressed following the tournament," she said.
The 8th-seeded Kansas State Wildcats beat the 9th-seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles 70-64, sending them home packing. Kansas State advanced to the next round, but lost to Syracuse.
This issue seems to be have been resolved in-house and as a result Southern Miss should be free of further NCAA disciplinary action.
It is shocking to me that these band members would lead a chant like this when considering the technological advances pervasive in society today. If the TV had not caught them then it is likely that someone else would have captured the chant on their phone and potentially posted it on YouTube or some other social media website.
It is unclear whether the band members will ever have the opportunity to have their scholarships or band team member status' reinstated. Needless to say, if reinstatement is a legitimate possibility it will be wise if the school waits a little while before making the decision to offer it up.
What do you think?
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