Columbia, Mo - UPDATE 3:07 p.m. - Regarding South Carolina AD Ray Tanner asking Jim Sterk to retract his comments - A Mizzou spokesman tells me, "At this moment, I don't believe Jim is planning to say anything additional, however, if that changes, I'll make sure you get whatever is sent."
ORIGINAL: It is still unclear whether or not South Carolina fans spit on and made derogatory remarks toward Mizzou women's basketball players after Sunday night's game.
Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk expressed his concerns on local radio affiliate KTGR on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy if you will,” Sterk told “The Big Show”. “We had players spit on and called the N-word and things like that. It was not a good environment. And unfortunately, I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it’s unfortunate that she felt she had to do that.”
Mizzou women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton did not get into specifics on what happened, but she did make this statement during her regularly scheduled media availability Tuesday when asked if her players were spit on.
“I was really disappointed with some things that transpired. There’s no place in our game for that. Fans got to be better all around. Our side, their side, everybody’s side. Fans got to be better. These are daughters playing a game they love to play. There were certainly some things that were really unfortunate that transpired, not only verbally and some other things you alluded to. It’s really unfortunate. But you’ve got two fan bases that are passionate and just got to clean it up a little bit.”
South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner released this statement Tuesday night regarding fan behavior at Sunday's women's basketball game:
“The commitment to a secure environment for everyone at our home games, including fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff from the home and visiting teams is of the utmost importance. In anticipation of this rivalry game, the athletics department provided security for the Missouri basketball team, above its standard operating procedure. Upon hearing the accusations regarding our crowd’s behavior towards the Missouri team, the athletics department conducted a review of our operations from the game, including interviews with staff and security personnel. In this review, we received no confirmation of the alleged behavior directed at the visiting team by fans at the game.”
On Wednesday, South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley addressed the situation during her regularly scheduled media availability. According to ABC Columbia Sports Director Mike Gillespie, Staley told reporters, "The allegations are false and they will be handled as such. That’s all I’m going to say about it."
South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner spoke to the media on Wednesday as well. According to Gillespie, Tanner believes it's necessary for Jim Sterk to retract his statements.
Tanner said, "I was very confused that Coach Staley was addressed from Jim Sterk's comments. I still don't quite understand exactly what the intent was. He and I have spoken yesterday and we've spoken today."
Staley said, "I stand by our fans. I stand by what they represent. I stand by how they cheer. I stand by every single thing that they bring to the building."
Former Mizzou women's basketball player Sierra Michaelis originally brought the issue to light on Twitter after Sunday's game.
A Mizzou spokesman tells ABC 17 News the team has filed a complaint to the SEC to express its concerns.
The No. 15 Mizzou women's basketball team is back in action on Thursday at home against No. 2 Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m.