He had referred to the team, whose players are mostly African-American, as "nappy-headed hos" on Wednesday's program.
Imus and his crew were discussing the Tennessee's Lady Vols' 59-46 win over Rutgers' Scarlet Knights for the NCAA women's championship the night before.
The often-controversial talker went on to say that the players on Tennessee's team were "all cute girls." His producer, Bernard McGuirk, then referenced Spike Lee's film "School Daze" by comparing the two teams to the film's fictional college cliques divided by skin color known as "jigaboos" and "wannabes."
"(I) Want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team," Imus said Friday. "It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, so, and we're sorry."
MSNBC, which simulcasts the show, issued a statement Thursday saying they regretted that Imus' remarks were aired on the cable network, and apologized for "these offensive comments."
Imus told The New York Times on Thursday that people should "not worry about some idiot saying something meant to be amusing."
Officials at Rutgers were not amused and echoed Imus' quote to the paper in their statement, saying "We agree with Mr. Imus that this was, in his own words, an 'idiot comment.' We are very proud of the success of the Rutgers women's basketball team."
The National Association of Black Journalists also weighed in on their Web site.
"Has he lost his mind?" said NABJ President Bryan Monroe, vice president and editorial director for Ebony and Jet magazines in Chicago. "Those comments were beyond offensive. Imus needs to be fired. Today."
WFAN's programming department declined to comment on the matter to The Showbuzz other than confirming that Imus had apologized on the air Friday. The "Imus In The Morning" program is produced by WFAN, a CBS radio station in New York, and syndicated nationally.