On Friday evening, a volleyball match between the BYU Cougars and Duke Blue Devils turned ugly when racist chants from a fan were directed at Rachel Richardson, a black player on Duke’s team.
Richardson spoke out about the incident and the story instantly went viral on social media. Richardson has since had a conversation with BYU AD Tom Holmoe, and Holmoe addressed the crowd before Saturday’s match.
Holmoe also admitted the university “fell short” in of trying to stop fans from shouting racist comments to opposing players.
“This is an opportunity to dig deep into closed cultures which tolerate amoral racist acts, such as those exhibited Friday night, and change them for the better,” Richardson said. “It is not enough to indicate that you are not racist, instead you must demonstrate that you are anti-racist.”
WCC commissioner Gloria Nevarez released a lengthy statement on the matter Monday evening, saying they are “extremely disheartened” by what happened on Friday.
“The WCC is committed to fostering diverse and inclusive environments and promoting an atmosphere of respect for and sensitivity to the dignity of every person. We know that BYU shares these values and is working to take appropriate measures to create a safe environment for all student-athletes.”
A full transcript of the statement can be seen on Nevarez’s twitter account:
The WCC has put diversity and inclusion measures in place during Nevarez’s tenure, including the “Russell Rule” which requires member institutions to include a candidate from a traditionally underrepresented group in their final pool of candidates. It is named after former USF center Bill Russell, who passed away earlier this year.
Of course, BYU is in the final season as a member institution of the WCC, as they will be headed to the Big 12 starting in the 2023-24 academic and athletic season.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.