However, Pew University Athletics said Friday that its investigation found no evidence of racial harassment.
“As a result of our investigations, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as having uttered racial insults during the match,” the university said in a statement. “We have not found any evidence that this person has engaged in such activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to this fan for any inconvenience caused by the ban.”
Rachel Richardson, a sophomore with Duke’s volleyball team, tweeted a statement on August 28 alleging that she and other black players had been racially harassed during a game days earlier. Richardson alleged that BYU officials failed to act even after they learned of the incident.
Duke University Vice President and Athletics Director Nina King issued a statement Friday following the BYU statement.
“The 18 members of the Duke University volleyball team are exceptionally strong women who represent themselves, their families, and Duke University with the utmost integrity,” King said. “We stand by them and support them unequivocally, especially when their character is questioned.”
While watching the match on TV at the Richardsons’ family home, Marvin Richardson said he had “no idea” what happened during the competition, but that his daughter detailed her experience to him afterwards.
“After the match, we [Rachel and I] I always talked and called, but this was a different call,” Marvin said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“She was crying, she was upset and Rachel wasn’t the one calling and crying about the loss, it’s just not who she is. So we knew something was wrong, and then she started telling us what was going on and what happened during the match first [we felt] Anger and anger and then just a real need to make sure that something was done to correct the things we came across.”
BYU said it reviewed the audio and video recordings, along with the university’s broadcast footage, and interviewed more than 50 people at the match as well as Duke and BYU athletes and student athletes.
“As previously stated, we will not tolerate any behavior that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. This is the reason for our immediate response and the thorough investigation we conducted,” the statement said.
“Although we were unable to find supporting evidence of racial slurs in numerous recordings and interviews, we hope that all participants understand our sincere efforts to ensure that all student-athletes competing at BYU feel safe,” BYU said.
South Carolina basketball coach still agrees to cancel matches
In the wake of the initial controversy, South Carolina women’s basketball manager Don Staley said her team has canceled games against BYU scheduled for this season and the following.
Staley said Friday that she has not changed her mind.
“I still stand by my position. After my personal research, I made a decision for the well-being of my team. I regret that my university and athletics director Ray Tanner and others were drawn to criticism of the choice,” Staley said in a statement from the university’s athletics department.
A group of South Carolina Republican lawmakers said the university “acted without regard or consideration for the truth” in backing off the Games.
The vice chair of the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, Republican Representative RJ May, told CNN in a phone call that Staley had no reasons for her decision.
“Instead of apologizing, she doubled down on her decision,” Mai said. “BYU deserves an apology.”
The statement comes two days after a group of lawmakers sent a letter to Tanner and Staley, saying the university “has been quick to appease the loudest left-wing voices by ‘abolishing’ BYU, both literally and figuratively.” Caucus members also requested records regarding school officials’ reactions to the alleged incident and discussions about scheduled games against BYU.
CNN’s Steve Almasi, Kevin Dotson, and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.