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Revoking Southern Miss. Students’ Scholarships for Racist Chants: Too Harsh?

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By HVsports on March 20, 2012

Shit just got real for several students in the University of Southern Mississippi pep band, who were caught yelling “Where’s your green card” at Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez during the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Rodriguez responded graciously, telling USA Today, “There’s ignorant people and I know that’s not how they want to represent their university.” He says he doesn’t listen to that “nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don’t need no type of papers.”

SCHOOLED. But even though Rodriguez Southern Miss apologized, according to the Associated Press, “five students have had their pep band scholarships revoked, have been removed from the band and will be required to complete a two-hour cultural sensitivity training course this week.”

Cue every sports fan asking the all-important question: Is this too severe? We’ve all yelled some not-so-nice words at players from the opposing team. For a student to lose his scholarship (granted, it’s not widely known that pep band scholarships even exist) is a huge deal, one that could directly influence whether or not he completes his degree.

But like most headlines that end in a question, this one — too harsh? — ought to be answered with a big, resounding nahhhh. These students are only in the band and at the game BECAUSE of that scholarship. They perform as sponsored representatives of their school, and yelling ethnic jabs made them terrible representatives.

BUT the administrators deserve to be fined too. Students are idiots. Students in large groups at sports games are bigger idiots. Faculty and administration know this. So some responsibility rests on the band leaders and even the athletic department to tell their idiotic students NOT TO YELL RACIST SHIT AT SPORTS GAMES. It’s not their fault their kids are racist, but it is their fault for not foreseeing the occurrence of this sad-but-obvious extension of everyday heckling and doing the bare minimum to cover their asses.

Which is what it’s really about. The bare minimum — in this case, making an effort to heckle like a decent human being — may have been the difference between a four-year education and a transfer or dropout.

(via The Big Lead)


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