BYU athletics says the school did a thorough investigation into claims a fan hurled racial slurs at a Duke volleyball player last month ... and after checking hours of footage and interviewing dozens of spectators, it was determined there was no evidence to back the allegations.
Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson made the claims following a match on Aug. 26 ... saying a man in the stands was yelling racist comments toward her and several black teammates throughout the entire competition.
The fan in question -- who happened to be a Utah Valley University student -- was quickly handed a permanent ban, despite police and others in the stands being unable to support Richardson's account.
On Friday, the school announced the results of its investigation ... saying it has lifted the fan's punishment after determining he never said what he was accused of.
"From our 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," BYU said. "As we stated earlier, we would not tolerate any conduct that would make a student-athlete feel unsafe. That is the reason for our immediate response and our thorough investigation."
The school added ... "There will be some who assume we are being selective in our review. To the contrary, we have tried to be as thorough as possible in our investigation, and we renew our invitation for anyone with evidence contrary to our findings to come forward and share it."
Duke responded to the results of the investigation ... saying, "The 18 members of the Duke University volleyball team are exceptionally strong women who represent themselves, their families, and Duke University with the utmost integrity."
"We unequivocally stand with and champion them, especially when their character is called into question. Duke Athletics believes in respect, equality and inclusiveness, and we do not tolerate hate and bias. #HateWontLiveHere."