Colorado State apologizes after students chant 'Russia' at Ukrainian Utah State player

HONOLULU, HI - DECEMBER 22: Max Shulga #11 of the Utah State Aggies throws in a reverse layup during the first half the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic game against the Seattle Redhawks at SimpliFi Arena on December 22, 2022 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

The Colorado State athletic department apologized Saturday after a group of students at a men's basketball game chanted "Russia" at a Ukrainian Utah State player.

The Utah State player in question was junior guard Max Shulga, who was born in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv and has spoken about his concerns for his homeland in the past. Obviously, the Colorado State students were taunting Shulga about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians and even more soldiers.

The Rams insisted it was only a "small" contingent of its student section that did the chant, it said such behavior was unacceptable.

The chant started receiving attention on Twitter during the end of the game and after, reportedly starting when Shulga shot four free throws toward the end of an 88-79 Utah State win.

Shulga's teammate Steven Ashworth called out Colorado State after the game as "classless" and said its student section needed to be addressed.

Shulga is among Utah State's top players, averaging 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. The win boosted the Aggies' record to 19-5 and 8-3 In Mountain West play, keeping them in second place in the conference standings and one game behind San Diego State.