Southern Miss apologizes for chant

Updated: March 17, 2012, 12:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Southern Mississippi's first NCAA tournament appearance in 21 years ended with a loss to Kansas State and an apology from the school's president about chants by members of the school's pep band Thursday.

Several members chanted "where's your green card" at Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez while he was at the free-throw line during the first half. Rodriguez, who is from Puerto Rico, had 13 points and four assists in Kansas State's 70-64 victory.

Rodriguez said Friday he had accepted Southern Mississippi's apology.

The freshman said he heard the chants and that the school's athletic director and "personnel from their school" came to the team hotel to apologize.

Rodriguez said he accepted the apology because "there's ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university."

Rodriguez added a civics lesson, saying he doesn't pay attention to that "nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers."

University president Martha Saunders said in a statement Thursday that the school "deeply regrets" the remarks and apologized to Rodriguez.

Saunders says the remarks "do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university" and the school will take "quick and appropriate disciplinary action."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.