Kentucky AD: There Will Be Consequences for Fan Ashley Lyles Using Racial Slur

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 23:  The Kentucky Wildcats logo on a pair of shorts during the Second Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Wofford Terriers at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on March 23 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

University of Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced Wednesday that Kentucky fan Ashley Lyles will face consequences for using a racial slur to refer to a Tennessee fan during the Volunteers' 81-73 win over the Wildcats at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday:

Mitch Barnhart @UKMitchBarnhart

An incident like the one that took place last night at Rupp Arena has no place at the University of Kentucky. There will be consequences for this unacceptable behavior and they will be announced once communicated to the offending party.

Mitch Barnhart @UKMitchBarnhart

We also have reached out to the patron who was the victim of this abusive and inexcusable language to apologize personally. That’s not who we are as an athletics department.

After video of the incident circulated across the internet and went viral, Lyles identified herself and apologized in the following statement to LEX 18:

"My reaction after the game was unacceptable, period. It was against all values of the University and state of Kentucky. I humbly apologize to the individuals at which my words were directed. My words were hurtful and hateful and have no place in this world. I apologize to the University and state of Kentucky for the embarrassment I have caused. I want my apology not just to be in words, but in actions moving forward."

Video of Lyles using a racial slur was posted by Tennessee fan Ethan Williams, who was the subject of her abusive language. Williams explained the decision to post the video to TMZ Sports:

"There is no excuse for her actions. There were plenty of Kentucky fans around before her that said good game and headed out, but she made a conscious effort to make the comments that she made. I felt like it needed to be shared and that the university needed to be made aware of the incident, because it's 2020 and competitions should be able to be enjoyed by all fans."

Lyles is the founder of Sparkle Bright, which is a nonprofit that supports brain cancer patients. The website states that Lyles started the foundation after surviving an aggressive form of brain cancer.

In 2017, Tyler Thompson of Kentucky Sports Radio reported how Kentucky basketball inspired Lyles to start Sparkle Bright.

While Lyles has deep ties to Kentucky basketball, Barnhart's comments suggest the university will punish her in some capacity.

The Wildcats have no home games remaining this season before closing out their regular-season slate on the road against Florida on Saturday.

After that, the SEC regular-season champions will be the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament and then go on to partake in the NCAA tournament.