According to ESPN, a player from Alabama's Talladega College received a "racially motivated picture" through a feature that allows nearby cell phones to transfer data at the Southern States Athletic Conference's volleyball awards banquet in Montgomery last week.
Officials declined to offer details on the image, but the conference described the racist abuse as "vile and vicious."
"It's just a very unfortunate thing. We wish it hadn't happened," commissioner Mike Hall said in an interview on Wednesday (November 16).
The Talladega College volleyball team left the banquet following the incident and withdrew from the tournament, the school said in a statement.
"We commend the women's volleyball team. We celebrate them for their bravery. We honor them for their commitment to the founding principles of Talladega College as well as the tenants of diversity, equity, and inclusion," the statement reads in part.
Hall said the 11-school conference, which is made up of smaller schools around Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, is still investigating the situation.
"The SSAC will not condone this type of behavior. We are very supportive of all of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff from our 11 institutions. We sincerely regret that this occurrence happened," the conference statement said.