On Friday, however, BYU Athletics said its investigation found no evidence of racist heckling.
“As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who uttered racial slurs during the game,” the university said in a statement. “We have found no evidence that this individual was involved in any such activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to this fan for the trouble the ban has caused.”
Rachel Richardson, a sophomore on Duke’s volleyball team, tweeted a statement Aug. 28 alleging that she and other black players had faced racial harassment during a game days earlier. Richardson claimed BYU officials did not act even after being made aware of the incident.
Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke University Nina King released a statement Friday following BYU’s 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 clearly stand behind them and stand up for them, especially when their character is being questioned.”
CNN has reached Richardson’s father, who has said his daughter was “scared” and called him in tears after the game.
Watching the game on TV at the Richardson family home, Marvin Richardson said he had “no idea” what happened during the competition, but his daughter later explained her experience to him in detail.
“After the game we have [Rachel and I] always talking and she called but that was a different call,” Marvin told CNN’s New Day.
“She was crying, she was upset and Rachel isn’t the person to call and cry about a 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 had happened during the game first [we felt] Anger, outrage and then just a genuine need to make sure something is done to right what has happened to us.”
BYU said it reviewed audio, video and university broadcast recordings and interviewed more than 50 people at the game, as well as athletes and student athletes from Duke and BYU.
“As we have said before, we would not tolerate any behavior that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. This is the reason for our immediate response and thorough investigation,” the statement said.
“While we could not find any supporting evidence of racial slurs in the many recordings and interviews, we hope everyone involved understands our sincere efforts to ensure that all student-athletes participating in BYU feel safe,” BYU said .
South Carolina basketball coach still agrees to cancel games
After the initial controversy, South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley said her team would cancel games against BYU scheduled for this season and next.
Staley said Friday she hasn’t changed her mind.
“I continue to stand by my position. After my personal research, I made a decision for the benefit of my team. I regret that my university, my athletic director Ray Tanner and others have been drawn into criticism of a choice I made,” Staley said in a statement released by the university’s athletics department.
South Carolina is the NCAA Division I champion.
A group of Republican lawmakers in South Carolina says the university “acted without consideration or regard for the truth” in withdrawing from the Games.
South Carolina Freedom Caucus Vice Chair Republican Representative RJ May told CNN in a phone call that Staley had no reason for her decision.
“Instead of apologizing, she is doubling down on her decision,” May said. “BYU deserves an apology.”
The statement comes two days after the group of lawmakers sent a letter to Tanner and Staley saying the university had “rushed to mollify the loudest voices on the far left by literally and figuratively banning BYU.” ‘cancelled'”. Caucus members also requested recordings of school officials’ reactions to the alleged incident and discussions of scheduled games against BYU.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Kevin Dotson, and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.