Dawn Staley gets media pass on decision to cancel BYU games

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley has decided to cancel a two-game series against BYU due to an alleged racist incident involving BYU volleyball that has been under investigation since the Aug. 26 game.

Staley’s cancellation was in response to the allegation that a BYU fan made continuous racial slurs directed at the Duke volleyball player. Rachel Richardson during that game at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. To date, there have been no corroborating witnesses or evidence that this has occurred.

Staley first announced his decision on Friday, as OutKick’s Ian Miller reported. She commented further on her decision on Sunday, appearing at Darlington Raceway as the honorary pace car driver for the 500 South, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.


“I slept in it a few nights; I woke up with the same feeling that I shouldn’t put our players in that situation,” Staley said.

Dawn Staley’s ‘selfish’ move

Staley admitted making the decision without input from his players, stating that it was a “selfish” decision made in the best interests of his team. The first game was scheduled for November and the second for the 2023 season.

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley at the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. (False images)

“I didn’t do it to condemn BYU. This was a selfish decision,” Staley added on Sunday.

“I was just thinking about South Carolina women’s basketball. I wanted to handle it on my own and not involve anyone else. I wanted to make sure our players didn’t have to put up with that.

“If something were to happen that way, I don’t have the words to comfort you. I would rather not just put ourselves in that situation.”

In addition to referencing support from South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner, Staley was ambiguous about who she spoke with to make her decision.

While details of the BYU investigation remain behind closed doors as of now, the media has apparently continued the narrative that the incident occurred as Richardson described it despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

The 19-year-old sophomore from Duke alleged racial slurs were yelled at a volume she could hear on the court during her services. BYU police have adamantly denied any evidence to support the claim after checking footage of the match. A conservative student newspaper detailed an unnamed source within BYU’s athletic department as saying the school doubts the incident occurred. Additionally, on-the-ground testimony provided by The Cougar Chronicle supports that no name-calling was heard. It was also verified that the person expelled from BYU after the event was not banned for racial slurs.

Apparently, when Staley explained his decision at Darlington Raceway, no one in the media asked him about the facts surrounding the allegations. ESPN offered none of this context in reporting on Staley’s decision.


Some details of BYU

BYU has remained silent on the identity of the person who was banned.

OutKick has contacted BYU for the stated reason behind the ban and has not received a response.

Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson.

Staley’s original statement on the canceled series read: “As head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and my staff. The incident at BYU has caused me to reevaluate our home and home, and I don’t feel like this is the right time for us to participate in this series.”

BYU Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe strongly condemned the alleged act, including the elimination of the ROC (“Roar of Cougars”) student section for the Nike Invitational hosted at Smith Fieldhouse last weekend.

After learning of Staley’s decision to cancel the two-game roster against BYU, Holmoe said the move was not conducive to eradicating racism.

“We are extremely disappointed in South Carolina’s decision to cancel our series and ask for your patience with the ongoing investigation,” Holmoe said. “We believe that the solution is to work together to eradicate racism and not separate ourselves from each other.”

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