The first day of March Madness had surprisingly little in the way of intriguing storylines. Whereas there were two monster upsets of No. 2 seeds on the second day of action, the lone major story coming out of the first day was related to an unfortunate, racist incident that occurred during Kansas State’s eventual win over Southern Miss.
As we noted last week when it first occurred, several members of the Southern Miss band weirdly opted to chant “Where’s your green card?” at K-State’s Angel Rodriguez at various points throughout the day. The taunts did little to shake the talented point guard, but they did shine a very negative light on the first day of college basketball’s most watched series of games.
On Tuesday morning, the hammer came down on the folks involved with that whole mess. As reported by the Associated Press (via The Big Lead), five members of the Southern Miss band had their scholarships yanked because of what transpired.
Via the report:
Five members of the University of Southern Mississippi pep band no longer have scholarships after taking part in the heckling of a Kansas State basketball player at last Thursday's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament game.
The school announced Tuesday that the five students also were removed from the band and will take sensitivity training. The students have not been identified.
The inevitable debate that will come as a result of this ruling will be whether the punishment was too harsh. On one hand, swiftly punishing youngsters for stupidity is the best way to teach a lesson. On the other hand, forcing 20-somethings to pay their way through college because they said something dumb is a really, really tough punishment.
It is worth noting that there are multiple examples of student athletes committing far more egregious errors in judgment than saying something ignorant and yet not having to suffer a consequence even remotely as harsh. Again, this is a very hardcore punishment.
That’s not to say that racist speech doesn’t deserve to be punished – it would just be nice if everyone played by the same rules.
(Kudos to The Big Lead for the find)