North Arkansas Community College cleared in investigation over fan conduct

HARRISON, Ark. -- The National Junior College Athletic Association has cleared North Arkansas Community College in an investigation over fan conduct.

Labette Community College's men's and women's basketball teams traveled to Harrison to play North Arkansas earlier in the season. During the games, LCC players experienced a continuous distraction of what could have been interpreted as inappropriate, racially-toned noises during the games. Coaches and players believed the noises came from college-aged individuals and other spectators. That led to an investigation.

“We formally requested NJCAA’s involvement because we knew they would perform an independent and comprehensive investigation," said North Ark President Dr. Randy Esters. "We extend our thanks to the NJCAA for a job well done.”

After interviews, the report says the student-athletes and athletic environment from the NorthArk perspective was found to be respectful, but with two concerns. The school says it is addressing the fan who made noises during free throws. The school also is addressing student-athletes from the school sitting behind the opposing team's bench.

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

North Ark reassured the NJCAA the college as a whole is committed to supporting all aspects of the student experience and protect anyone from inappropriate treatment in any form. The NJCAA says it looks forward to the continued success of the Women’s D2 National Championship at North Arkansas this month.

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