Mar 20, 2012

(USA TODAY) --- The University of Southern Mississippi revoked scholarships and dismissed five members of its pep band for taking part in a racially-insensitive chant directed at a Kansas State University player during last week's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in Pittsburgh.

In a statement, the university said the five had their pep band scholarships revoked, were removed from the band and will be required to complete a two-hour cultural sensitivity training course this week.

The names of the students were not released.

"The students have been forthcoming, cooperative, contrite and sincerely remorseful," USM Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Paul said in a statement. "They acted rashly and inappropriately, and now see the gravity of their words and actions."

A university investigation determined that the five were ones chanting, 'Where's your green card," while KSU point guard Angel Rodriguez shot free throws late in USM's 70-64 loss to the Wildcats in a first-round game.

USM President Martha Saunders issued a public apology from the school to Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico who attended high school in Florida.

Interim athletic director Jeff Hammond went to the player's hotel after the game to apologize.

Paul said the entire university should learn from the incident.

"This is a teachable moment, not only for these students, but for our entire student body and those who work with them," Paul said in the statement.


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