NCAA Tournament

Southern Miss president apologizes for chant during K-State game

The president of the University of Southern Mississippi has apologized for a derogatory chant made by members of the Golden Eagles’ pep band during a NCAA Tournament game against Kansas State on Thursday.

The phrase “Where’s your green card?” could be heard being chanted two times from the crowd before Wildcats freshman Angel Rodriguez, who was born in Puerto Rico and is a U.S. citizen, shot two free throws. The game was broadcast nationally on truTV and clips of the telecast in which the chant could be heard were posted to YouTube.

“We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today’s game,” Southern Miss president Martha Saunders said in a news release published on the school’s website. “The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriguez and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident.”

According to the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American, interim Southern Miss athletic director Jeff Hammond said the band director put a stop to the chant.

The newspaper also said Hammond met with K-State athletic director John Currie after the game, which was at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, and planned to take the band director to meet with Rodriguez and possibly K-State coach Frank Martin.

“This does not represent the state or university,” Hammond told the paper. “This is not acceptable.”