No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball’s Thursday match vs. Pacific declared a forfeit due to player concerns over fan behavior
In a statement released on Monday, the Pacific Tigers women’s volleyball team has elected to forfeit Thursday’s scheduled match versus No. 18 BYU women’s volleyball due to player concerns over fan behavior.
The statement from Mike Klocke, senior director of athletic communications for Pacific, cited players were especially concerned about “racial and hostile comments” following an August 26 incident at the Smith Fieldhouse involving Duke volleyball player Rachel Richardson.
“The volleyball team has decided to not play the Nov. 10 game at Brigham Young University. Pacific stands with our student-athletes,” Klocke stated.
The forfeit was first reported on the WCC’s website when the match was shown as such early Monday morning. No statements or reasons for the forfeit were immediately given at the time.
BYU athletics released a statement on the Tigers’ decision to forfeit, calling it “unwarranted and deeply disappointing”.
The statement from BYU also reiterated the thorough investigation the department conducted after Richardson’s initial allegations, which revealed no evidence of a racial slur being said, though it did not eliminate the possibility it occurred.
While the statement expressed disappointment, it reaffirmed the athletics department’s commitment to civil and respectful discussions to solve social justice issues.
“We regret that Pacific elected not to work with us in addressing these concerns,” the statement concluded.
It marks the second time this year a team has backed out of an athletic competition with BYU, following South Carolina’s controversial decision to cancel a two-game series with the women’s basketball team.
The WCC also released a statement on the forfeit, calling for “civility and respect for everyone involved or impacted with this decision”.
“The conference has had regular communication with each institution since becoming aware of this intention and understands the sensitivities with both programs,” the statement said.
The conference said officials will make no further comment on the situation.
The forfeit, which was scheduled to be the final meeting in the conference between Pacific and BYU, improves the Cougars’ record to 19-5 overall along with 12-2 in conference play.
BYU’s next scheduled match will be Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1:00 p.m. against Saint Mary’s at the Smith Fieldhouse.