GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford College students are facing disciplinary action after “heckling” and “unsportsmanlike” comments during a women’s soccer game against Virginia State University.
Guilford College President Kyle Farmbry on Sept. 27 issued an apology to Virginia State University over allegations that racial slurs were yelled at VSU players during the Sept. 26 game.
“During the game, the opposing team’s fans reportedly yelled the N-word and made monkey noises aimed at our student-athletes,” according to a statement released by VSU on Tuesday. “While there have been direct apologies to our administration, VSU says that our student-athletes also deserve a personal apology.”
In a follow-up statement released Oct. 3, the college described the comments as “disrespectful,” “unacceptable” and “very unsportsmanlike,” but added that an investigation found that there was no evidence of racist remarks directed at VSU players.
According to the college, Farmbry directed Athletic Director Bill Foti and Dean of Students Steve
Mencarini to investigate the incident. During the course of the investigation, the college says they interviewed “more than 30 Guilford athletics staff members, non-athletics staff members, students and parents who were at the soccer match” and reviewed audio and video.
Guilford College says the heckling is connected to a group of 14 people. Three students are facing student conduct disciplinary action for heckling, and one student was held out of an athletic contest for violation of the athletic code of conduct.
“The investigation did not discover any evidence that racist remarks were directed by Guilford fans toward VSU players,” the college said. “However, the fact that VSU supporters found the environment to be extremely unwelcoming for their players is of deep concern to the College and resulted in action that has been taken.”
The college’s full statement is included below.
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, disrespectful comments were made by Guilford College fans toward the Virginia State University women’s soccer team during the second half of a contest against Guilford on Guilford’s campus.
The following morning President Kyle Farmbry in an email and a website post told students, alumni and friends of the College that “behavior of the type displayed by our spectators last night is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
President Farmbry directed Athletics Director Bill Foti and Dean of Students Steve Mencarini to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. He called Virginia State President Makola M. Abdullah to apologize for the behavior of Guilford fans and to notify him of the investigation.
Interviews were conducted with more than 30 Guilford athletics staff members, non-athletics staff members, students and parents who were at the soccer match within 24 hours of the investigation commencing on Wednesday, Sept. 27. Based on those conversations and a review of available audio and video, Guilford’s investigation found the heckling of the Virginia State team originated from a group of 14 individuals.
The investigation concluded that the comments directed by fans toward VSU players was very unsportsmanlike. Three students were brought up on student conduct disciplinary action for heckling and one student was held out of an athletic contest for violation of the College’s athletic code of conduct.
The investigation did not discover any evidence that racist remarks were directed by Guilford fans toward VSU players. However, the fact that VSU supporters found the environment to be extremely unwelcoming for their players is of deep concern to the College and resulted in action that has been taken.
The investigation was completed Sunday and submitted to President Farmbry. He has shared the report with the Virginia State President. The College is committed to ensuring that visiting teams and their fans feel welcomed and respected and that sportsmanship is maintained on and off the field.