CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University fan accused of making racially derogatory comments toward an opposing player will not be allowed to attend the next two home games.
Oregon State University said their investigation determined the fan made derogatory comments but they were not of a racial nature. The comments were made during OSU's game against the University of Southern California on Sunday, Feb. 18th.
"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. Oregon State also interviewed coaches and administrators from both universities and reviewed 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 continued.
Scott Barnes, vice president and director of OSU athletics, reported the results of the investigation to the Pac-12 Conference and USC officials.
Barnes also sent an email Monday to all Oregon State ticket holders and athletics stakeholders. In it, 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 home court advantage for our teams, while also respecting our opponents and game officials."
The OSU women's basketball team's regular season is over but the team will play in the Pac-12 Conference tournament in Seattle starting Friday, March 2. OSU hopes to host a first-round game of the NCAA women's basketball tournament at Gill Coliseum in March.