South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley cancelled a home-and-home series with Brigham Young University earlier this month that was set to begin the 2022-23 season. The decision came after allegations of racism made against the Cougars’ fanbase from Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson.
Staley is standing by her decision to cancel the series despite the fact that BYU found no corroborating evidence to support Richardson’s claim.
Dawn Staley Stands By Her Decision Despite Lack Of Evidence
On Friday afternoon, BYU concluded its investigation. The university did not find evidence that its fans hurled racial slurs at Richardson. In response, it overturned the fan’s lifetime ban.
According to BYU’s investigation, the school “reached out to more than 50 individuals who attended the event: Duke athletic department personnel and student-athletes, BYU athletic department personnel and student-athletes, event security and management and fans who were in the arena that evening, including many of the fans in the on-court student section.”
Despite BYU’s finalized investigation and finding, Staley is keeping the school’s previously-scheduled series off of South Carolina’s schedule.
In a statement issued by Staley on Friday evening, she said that she stands behind her position after conducting “personal research.”
It’s unclear what Staley meant by “personal research” but it’s worth noting that the University of South Carolina’s campus is just over 2,000 miles away from BYU’s campus. Staley is confident that she was able to accrue enough information from two time zones away than BYU was able to gather from actually being there.
How Rachel Richardson’s Allegations Unraveled
Things started to disentangle when BYU’s student newspaper reported a different version of what happened during the match against Duke. A copy of the police report from that night was then obtained by OutKick and showed that the officer who was directed to monitor the section that Richardson pointed out did not hear any inappropriate comments.
Amidst the allegations and investigation, it was discovered that Richardson’s godmother — who was extremely outspoken about the alleged incident — has a troubling past with racist remarks. At the same time, BYU succumbed to public outcry and cancelled its student section.
One day later, Staley announced her decision.
South Carolina would not be traveling to Provo, Utah to face BYU. BYU would not be traveling to Columbia, South Carolina.
At the time, while the allegations remained unsubstantiated, the investigation was still ongoing. Meanwhile, the media gave Staley a pass for cancelling the series. Some even praised her decision.
South Carolina lawmakers, on the other hand, continued to question whether the incident ever happened. Their questions were ultimately valid.