College Athletes Flee After Multiple Racist Attacks

An NCAA March Madness tournament opening night in Idaho was marred by many “racial hate crimes” perpetrated against the University of Utah women’s basketball team.

Athletes of many races and ethnicities were given lodgings at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, about 30 miles away from Spokane, Washington. On Thursday, as they made their way to dinner, a white vehicle drove by them, revved its engines, and the driver swore and drove off. About two hours later, an identical occurrence involving two trucks happened while the party was leaving the eatery.

Head coach Lynne Roberts said that her Utah squad had a rough night after getting to the Spokane area for the tournament, where they played Gonzaga University following Monday night’s 77-66 defeat. Due to a shortage of hotel rooms in the Spokane area—where Gonzaga is located—three teams, including Utah, opted to stay in Idaho instead of Washington. Utah athletic director Mark Harlan expressed his displeasure with the arrangement.

After the team’s first night in Coeur d’Alene, Gonzaga University and the NCAA collaborated to find a new hotel for the squad. Idaho did not fall within the purview of the team’s police escort, headquartered in Washington. The party members escorted each other to the accommodation. Gonzaga released a statement conveying the school’s “frustrated and deeply saddened” feelings about the compromise of their experience and its emphasis on safety.

Gonzaga University and the NCAA collaborated to ensure the team was safe until they could go to a new hotel.

While the Utah squad was making some of the most unforgettable moments of their life and preparing to play on the biggest platform in the world, the NCAA was disappointed with their experience.

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond contacted the school and apologized for the “malicious treatment” of the athletes during a press conference when local authorities discussed the event.