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National group finishes investigation into allegations of racist chants at Arkansas college game

By Rachel Herzog

This article was published March 7, 2018 at 12:21 p.m.

A national association's investigation into allegations of racist chants at an Arkansas community college's basketball games determined that any problems have been addressed appropriately.

The National Junior College Athletic Association was asked to look into North Arkansas College in January, after a southeast Kansas newspaper reported that game footage showed North Arkansas fans making racially charged taunts, including monkey noises and crow caws, at black players on an opposing team.

After interviews with staff, coaches and student-athletes from North Arkansas College and community colleges in Kansas that traveled to play at the Harrison school, the NJCAA made two notes in a March 1 letter.

One observation was that one local fan would often make noises during free throws considered disrespectful, which was reportedly directly addressed with that fan.

A spectator who made crow caws was previously identified by the Harrison Daily Times as an 88-year-old longtime fan who said he had no racial intent.

The NJCAA letter also noted that some student-athletes at North Arkansas College would sit directly behind the guest team's bench, which the organization said the college would prevent from happening in the future.

Otherwise, the group said, the college had a respectful environment.

North Arkansas College President Randy Esters, who said he requested the association's involvement in January, thanked investigators in a statement Tuesday.

"We believe we have learned from this situation," Esters said. "I'm confident visitors, coaches, students and fans will have a positive and enjoyable sports experience when they visit us in Pioneer country."


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