PROVO, Utah — The defending NCAA women's basketball champions have opted out of playing against Brigham Young University this upcoming season after a recent incident where a fan directed a racial slur toward a Black volleyball player from Duke during a game at BYU.
The University of South Carolina announced Friday that its women's basketball team is canceling its two-game series with BYU, according to a report from The State. The Cougars and Gamecocks were scheduled to face off Nov. 7 for the season opener, then again during the 2023-24 season.
“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said in a news release. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”
The announcement comes a week after a BYU fan was banned from all future athletic events for calling Duke volleyball team member Rachel Richardson the N-word. BYU has since drawn criticism for the way it handled the incident.
“Dawn and I have discussed her thoughts on the situation,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said, according to The State's report. “I support Dawn and all of our coaches in their right to schedule games and opponents that are best for their teams.”
South Carolina won the 2021-22 NCAA Women's Championship with a 64-49 victory over UConn.
BYU was not happy with USC's decision, tweeting a statement from the women's team's official account that read:
"We are extremely disappointed in South Carolina’s decision to cancel our series and ask for patience with the on-going investigation. We believe the solution is to work together to root out racism and not to separate from one another. #LoveOneAnother"