Oregon State University will exclude a fan accused of making derogatory statements directed at an opposing player during a women’s basketball game from the next two home Oregon State women’s basketball games.
The decision follows an investigation conducted by the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Access of fan comments made during OSU’s game against the University of Southern California on Feb. 18.
“We took very seriously reports that any of our fans had directed inappropriate and racially derogatory taunts at a USC player,” said Steve Clark, Oregon State’s vice president for university relations and marketing.
The university’s investigation included interviews with USC student-athletes, who reported hearing unacceptable taunts; the accused fan; and numerous other fans seated in the area in which derogatory comments were heard, Clark said. As well, Oregon State conducted interviews with coaches and athletics administrators from USC and OSU, along with a complete review of the PAC-12 Conference audio tape of the game.
“The investigation findings acknowledge the very serious concerns reported by USC players,” Clark said. “The investigation did not discover the location of any fans using racially derogatory statements directed at USC student-athletes or the team. However, the investigation did find that during the game a fan continuously directed taunts and personally derogatory statements at one USC player.
“We apologize once more to this USC player for what she heard. We also apologize to her teammates, coaches and the University of Southern California. We greatly regret this incident and our finding that a fan targeted a USC player with taunts. The behavior does not represent this university’s values for inclusivity, success and safety for all, nor does it represent OSU’s longstanding athletics history of fair play and great competition.”
Clark emphasized that such behavior is “totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Oregon State University athletic events.”
Scott Barnes, vice president and director of OSU athletics, reported the conclusions of the university’s investigation and the ensuing fan sanction on Saturday morning to the Pac-12 Conference and USC officials. Barnes also sent a communication Monday to all Oregon State ticket holders and athletics stakeholders.
In his fan communication, Barnes said: “The university’s investigation found that the comments made by this particular fan were not of a racially derogatory nature. Yet, this individual's conduct during the game and comments taunting a specific opposing player are inconsistent with the standards of appropriate behavior that we expect and require from our fans in providing a great homecourt advantage for our teams, while also respecting our opponents and game officials.”
The OSU women’s basketball team concluded its 2018 regular season with a game Sunday at Arizona State University. Following the Pac-12 Conference tournament, OSU hopes to host a first-round game of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at Gill Coliseum in March.
Source: Oregon State University