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BYU Releases Statement Regarding Pacific Forfeit

Nov 7, 2022, 6:21 PM

Pacific forfeit BYU...

The University of the Pacific has forfeited a women's volleyball game against BYU. (Donovan Kelly/BYU Photo)

(Donovan Kelly/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of the Pacific forfeited a women’s volleyball match to BYU citing reports of racist comments during a match against Duke in August.

BYU released a statement calling the forfeit “unwarranted” and “deeply disappointing.”

The official forfeit was posted on both Pacific and BYU’s websites Monday morning. The match was slated to take place on November 10 at BYU.

Official Statement From BYU On Pacific Forfeit

“The University of the Pacific’s decision to forfeit this week’s women’s volleyball match is unwarranted and deeply disappointing. Following the Aug. 26 allegation, BYU conducted an extensive review and found no evidence to corroborate this allegation. As we have stated previously, BYU will not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe in our athletic environments. It is unfortunate that Pacific would make a decision that perpetuates the very challenge we are working to heal in our polarized society,” the statement began.

“BYU continues to provide one of the best environments in college volleyball. The most storied programs in volleyball, both women’s and men’s, have competed for decades on our campus and expressed appreciation for their experience at BYU. We have hosted the NCAA Women’s Tournament for the past seven years in a row.

“We recognize the real challenges of racism in our society, and we reiterate our strong belief that the solution is to work together in addressing these issues and not to separate from one another. We regret that Pacific elected not to work with us in addressing their concerns,” the statement finished.

Statement From Pacific Regarding BYU Forfeit

Pacific provided KSL Sports with the following statement regarding the decision to forfeit the volleyball match.

“The volleyball team has decided to not play the November 10 game at Brigham Young University. The team expressed concerns following reports of racist and hostile comments during an August 26 match. Pacific stands with our student-athlete,” the statement read.

RELATED: BYU Finds No Evidence Supporting Alleged Slur During Volleyball Game Against Duke

BYU’s Investigation Into Racial Slur Allegations

Back in early Fall, Brigham Young University investigated the incident and found no evidence that racial slurs were used against Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson on August 26, 2022.

From its two-week investigation, which BYU referred to as an “extensive review,” BYU stated they had not found any evidence to support the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.

BYU also announced that the fan, which the Duke players and administrators initially pointed out as committing the alleged slurs, is no longer banned.

Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said on September 1 to the Deseret News, “Let me be clear where BYU stands on this issue: racism is disgusting and unacceptable.”

Here’s the entire statement from BYU athletics.

BYU Athletics’ Statement On Investigation 

“As part of our commitment to take any claims of racism seriously, BYU has completed its investigation into the allegation that racial heckling and slurs took place at the Duke vs. BYU women’s volleyball match on August 26. We reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match, with broadcasting audio removed (to ensure that the noise from the stands could be heard more clearly). We also 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.

“From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event. As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation.

“As a result of our investigation, we have lifted the ban on the fan who was identified as having uttered racial slurs during the match. We have not found any evidence that that individual engaged in such an activity. BYU sincerely apologizes to that fan for any hardship the ban has caused.

“Our fight is against racism, not against any individual or any institution. Each person impacted has strong feelings and experiences, which we honor, and we encourage others to show similar civility and respect. We remain committed to rooting out racism wherever it is found. We hope we can all join together in that important fight.

“There will be some who assume we are being selective in our review. To the contrary, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation, and we renew our invitation for anyone with evidence contrary to our findings to come forward and share it.

“Despite being unable to find supporting evidence of racial slurs in the many recordings and interviews, we hope that all those involved will understand our sincere efforts to ensure that all student-athletes competing at BYU feel safe. As stated by Athletics Director Tom Holmoe, BYU and BYU Athletics are committed to zero-tolerance of racism, and we strive to provide a positive experience for everyone who attends our athletic events, including student-athletes, coaches and fans, where they are valued and respected.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Releases Statement Regarding Pacific Forfeit