PROVO, Utah — The BYU women’s volleyball team played its first game since the school made changes to its fan policies after an opposing player claimed someone yelled racist slurs during a match last week.
Following the claim by Duke player Rachel Richardson, the fan has been banned from all events and the university faced nationwide criticism.
Before Thursday night’s game against Utah State, a video was shown inside Smith Fieldhouse where players read the BYU Fan Code of Conduct.
“If you are not willing to comply with our house rules, you’ll be asked to leave and other consequences may follow,” said a player.
Rows located below the student section and directly behind the opponent’s baseline are no longer open to students and fans. BYU said the Duke player told them the offensive language came from those rows, specifically.
“I understand why they made [the changes], I just hope they bring it back,” said BYU fan Ryan Cripps.
Cripps said he decided to attend Thursday night’s game after seeing the backlash the university received.
“There have been no evidence of this even happening, so I really think it was just quick to judgment,” he said.
BYU Associate Athletic Director Jon McBride told FOX 13 News on Wednesday that while Duke identified the person as using the slurs, "we have been unable to find any evidence of that person using slurs in the match."
“I love BYU, I love this school. I love our sports teams and I think they’re really good,” said student Grant Rasband. “But none of it means anything if you’re not a good person and if the people that you’re interacting with aren’t good people.”
Cougar fans hope the controversy won’t overshadow the athletes’ hard work.
“Just because one person does something that is bad doesn’t mean we have to be bad,” said student Emerson Johnson. “And doesn’t mean everyone else is bad and everything is done with malicious intent. I think we can move forward and just have fun and act like people are good just because they are.”
Because of the lack of evidence, the school is asking anyone who has photo or video of the man making racial slurs to let officials know and to assist in the investigation.