South Carolina cancels women’s basketball series with BYU over alleged racial incident


In this file photo from March 27, 2022, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley speaks with an official during the first half of a college basketball game against Creighton in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament in Greensboro, NC (Gerry Broome, Associated Press)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO — In the aftermath of the alleged racist incident during last week’s BYU women’s volleyball game against Duke, an unfortunate victim fell on Friday afternoon.

South Carolina has canceled a home-and-home women’s basketball series with the Cougars, effective immediately, head coach Dawn Staley announced in a statement.

The Gamecocks were set to begin the two-game series against BYU — the home opener in Columbia, South Carolina — on Nov. 7 with a return trip to Provo, contracted during the 2023-24 season. A new opponent for the game has not yet been determined, the school said.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement from South Carolina. “The incident at BYU has prompted me to re-evaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t think it’s the right time for us to get involved in this series.”

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said he supported his coach’s decision.

“Dawn and I discussed her thoughts on the situation,” Tanner said in a statement. “I support Dawn and all our coaches in their right to plan games and opponents that are best for their teams.”

Staley mentioned the incident during BYU’s home volleyball game against Duke, where sophomore Rachel Richardson alleged that a fan had used racist remarks against her and other black teammates at Duke as a reason to call off the series. BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and other officials were quick to denounce racism as they launched an investigation, leading to a fan whom Duke said the slur was banned from athletic events on campus indefinitely.

“I ask everyone at all of our games that represent BYU that you have the courage to take a stand and take care of each other,” Holmoe told a smaller audience than the 5,700 who set a record attendance at the Smith Fieldhouse last year. Friday night, “and more importantly the guests, our guests that we invite to come and play here so that we can be disciples of Christ and show it in every way.”

BYU police revealed in an incident report that the department found no immediate evidence that the slur was said, and that the responding officer did not believe that the fan — who is not a BYU student but was sitting near the BYU student section or stood – the stain.

A day after the incident, Holmoe addressed BYU’s student body to urge them to respect their guests, especially athletes from other schools, on campus. BYU has already updated its fan code of conduct, which is read at every athletic event on campus, starting with Monday’s women’s soccer game and this week through the BYU Nike Invitational women’s volleyball tournament in Provo.

That tournament, like last Saturday’s game, will be played without a student section directly behind the servers on the south side of the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU says it’s undetermined how it will use that space in the future, but will reserve it for non-competitive teams to scout opponents during the invite.

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Sean Walker, a proud graduate of Syracuse University, has been covering BYU for since 2015, while also covering preparatory sports, education, and anything else his editors instruct him to do.

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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