Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith issued a statement late Tuesday night after a Michigan State hockey player alleged a Buckeyes player directed a racial slur at him multiple times during a game earlier this month.
Spartans player Jagger Joshua, who is Black, shared his experience on social media from the Nov. 11 game at home in which the Spartans defeated the Buckeyes 4-3.
Joshua said an official in the game heard what the opposing player said and gave him a game misconduct penalty. The box score that day shows Ohio State senior forward Kamil Sadlocha was the only player given a game misconduct.
After reviewing the situation, Smith publicly apologized on behalf of Ohio State and announced that Sadlocha is not currently with the team.
“I want to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology to Jagger Joshua. On behalf of Ohio State University, I am so sorry,” Smith wrote. “No student or student-athlete should experience hatred or racism, and everyone should feel welcome. I have spoken with Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller, and I’m thankful Jagger is getting the support he needs.
“Over the last week, the department of athletics has worked through this on-ice incident and spoken with Kamil Sadlocha and the rest of the team, and Kamil is returning home and will not practice or compete at this time.
“I have met with the men’s hockey team and will be meeting with them again soon to discuss our values. The team will complete education on racial sensitivity, diversity, equity, inclusion and the use of respectful dialog. The department and I will support them through this important process.”
The Big Ten collected and evaluated information from the conference’s officiating crew, both schools and video footage, and it supported the in-game penalty on the Buckeyes, but it decided against further punishment.
“Due to the absence of indisputable evidence presented to the conference, the conference has not imposed further disciplinary action,” the Big Ten said in a statement.
Joshua said he was motivated to publicly share his version of the events because racism in the sport will get worse if it is not acknowledged.
“Acts of racism do not belong in hockey, as they can discourage African Americans and minorities like myself from playing and loving the game,” Joshua wrote in his post. “Inaction in the face of racist comments and actions allow these behaviors to continue.
“The inaction has left me feeling confused and pessimistic about the movement of diversity within hockey culture.”
Prior to Smith’s statement, Ohio State said its athletic department and hockey program worked with the Big Ten to come to a resolution.
“Ohio State is focused on providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all,” the school said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.