South Carolina says it owes BYU no money for canceled women’s basketball games

Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

The University of South Carolina doesn’t believe it owes BYU any money after the Gamecocks canceled the teams’ two-game women’s basketball series.

The school is disputing a published report by a Utah TV station that says USC owes $100,000 in the matter.

“The story posted on KSL.com Tuesday night is inaccurate,” the school said in a statement provided to The State on Wednesday afternoon. “There was never a fully executed contract.”

Head coach Dawn Staley in early September opted to cancel the home-and-home series against BYU after alleged racist remarks were by made from fans at an Aug. 26 Cougars home volleyball game against Duke. USC’s decision to cancel the series was announced Sept. 2.

Documents obtained by The State through an open records request show there were two contracts drawn up for the USC-BYU series. The first was dated May 24, 2022 and shows a cancellation fee of $25,000. The second contract was dated May 27, 2022 and shows a cancellation fee of $100,000.

According to those documents provided by the University of South Carolina, only USC signed the May 24 contract, while BYU’s signature does not appear on either contract — thus supporting South Carolina’s position that the deal wasn’t “fully executed.”

The State has reached out to BYU for comment.

It wasn’t immediately known why there were two versions of the contract, though the second appears to be an amended version that included an elevated cancellation clause.

The Gamecocks instead will begin their regular season on Nov. 7 against East Tennessee State at Colonial Life Arena, it was announced earlier Wednesday. That game will tip at 8:30 p.m. on SEC Network.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said the Sept. 2 statement when the games were canceled. “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.”

BYU later said through an “extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.”

The entire ordeal sparked discussion over whether or not USC moved too fast to cancel their games against the Cougars.

Staley released another statement Sept. 2, one week after the decision to cancel the BYU series.

“I continue to stand by my position,” Staley said in that statement. “After my personal research, I made a decision for the well-being of my team. I regret that my university, my athletics director Ray Tanner and others got drawn into the criticism of a choice that I made.”