Utah women's basketball team forced to change hotels after 'racial hate crimes'


Mar 23, 2024; Spokane, WA, USA; Utah Utes head coach Lynn Roberts at a press conference after the game against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 23, 2024; Spokane, WA, USA; Utah Utes head coach Lynn Roberts at a press conference after the game against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts said that her team changed NCAA tournament hotels for safety concerns last Friday after experiencing a series of “racial hate crimes” the previous night.

Utah’s original team hotel was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, more than 30 miles east of the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. The NCAA and host school Gonzaga helped the Utes relocate to a different hotel for the rest of their stay.

Roberts revealed what happened Monday night after the fifth-seeded Utes’ 77-66 second-round loss to fourth-seeded Gonzaga. The Utah coach described the incidents as “shocking” and said “no one knew how to handle it.”

“It was really upsetting,” Roberts said. “For our players and staff to not feel safe in an NCAA tournament environment, it’s messed up, and so we moved hotels.”

While Roberts did not go into detail about what her team endured, Utah deputy athletics director Charmelle Greene shared specifics with KSL.com on Monday night. Greene said that while the basketball team was walking to a restaurant to have dinner, the driver of a white truck pulled up, revved his engine and yelled the N-word in the direction of the team before speeding off.

“We all just were in shock, and we looked at each other like, did we just hear that?” Green told KSL.com

The team had dinner, only to face a similar situation as it left the restaurant. This time, Greene told KSL.com, the drivers of two trucks were revving their engine in an intimidating way, while again yelling the N-word in the direction of the team.

An NCAA spokesman did not immediately respond to a message from Yahoo Sports seeking comment. Gonzaga after Roberts revealed what happened, saying that the first priority is the safety and welfare of participants in the NCAA tournament.

“We are frustrated and deeply saddened to know what should always be an amazing visitor and championship experience was in any way compromised by this situation,” Gonzaga’s statement said.

The Utah women’s team originally had to stay in Coeur d’Alene because Spokane had a limited number of available hotel rooms. Several years earlier, Spokane was announced as one of the host cities for the first and second rounds of the men’s NCAA tournament last weekend.

The limited number of hotels in Spokane makes it difficult for the city to house all eight teams when Gonzaga hosts an NCAA tournament

Roberts acknowledged that what her team endured made it difficult for Utah players to focus on their games against South Dakota State and Gonzaga.

“It was a distraction and upsetting and unfortunate,” she said.





Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top