BYU is no longer Holier Than Thou

That is correct! BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall has stated he does not recruit athletes who are on Mormon missionaries, “We will not recruit players while they are on their missions. That’s not our policy.”. The story is getting somewhat clearer as the days past, there has been talks that it was Riley Nelson’s father who started up talks and then there is the other side where BYU coaches contacted Nelson’s high school coach Mike Favero.

For those who do not know BYU is a religious institute in Provo, UT that is affiliated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or commonly known as Mormons. Most go on two year missions when they turn 19 or a few years after. Many football players who go to BYU either go straight on their mission or go to the school and most redshirt and some play.

Players who go on missions can transfer schools and not have to follow the penalties that go along if someone where to transfer, ie sit out a year before they can play. Technically, a player who signs and then goes straight to their mission their letter of intent is really a verbal because of the time they are gone and can ‘transfer’ or be recruited without penalty.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall has stated multiple times that he does not recruit players who are on their LDS Mission. Nationally ranked QB prospect Ben Olsen came to BYU for one year went on a mission and then transferred to UCLA and BYU fans were furious. Now that the show is on the other foot Cougar fans see no problem with this at all, even though their coach stated they would not do this. Listening to the talk in shows Cougar fans bring up other instances where BYU players transferred to Utah or other schools and try to rationalize that, but the good hosts bring it back about saying their school was above doing the practice of recruiting Missionary athletes.

Riley Nelson was lightly recruited by BYU and was offered to walk on or was offered a scholarship to play Safety. This could be a scenario where BYU missed on their QB as current backup Brendan Gaskins who is not likely to start ahead of Max Hall, or the fact that BYU did not recruit a QB this year.

This does not happen all the time it usually flies under the radar and pops up every few years when big name player changes schools. The NCAA should look into something with this rule that if players go on church missions they can be recruited again after a certain time, and thus is similar to high school recruiting. Perhaps keeping the same rules now that if you transfer you have to sit out a year, and if you transfer within a conference you lose a year of eligibility. The NCAA can make these rule changes that at times can provide an unfair advantage. Just look at the recent rule that allowed players who graduated in four years to transfer without penalty if they wish to pursue a graduate degree that their current school did not offer. Lon Kruger transferred from Arizona State to UNLV for basketball and I a former Ute football player transferred to Florida for football under this rule, and the NCAA quickly changed that after one or two years.

Making the signed player follow the same rules would limit this practice. Getting back to this case with Riley Nelson their is a reason that there are barriers and procedures on how Missionaries can be contacted and spoken to and the levels are quite extensive in regarding this situation. To me it is clear that the BYU coach inquired with the Nelson’s high school coach to contact the family to gauge the kids interest. Seems like a lot of steps to speak to a player.

So, congratulations BYU you are just like everyone else in college football and no longer can say you have these standards that put you above the rest, because your coach went against ‘We do not recruit athletes why they are on LDS misssions.

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25 Responses

  1. Seems like a lot of assumptions on your part…Quite an article and statement to make about a program for some pretty shady facts you’ve dug up. Why don’t you find out the facts and specifics about a story before making a declaration that a program is hypocritical and liars?

  2. The facts are there, Bronco stated that he would never recruit an athlete who is on a LDS mission and that is what happened. The Des News and Trib have stated that, Ok so Bronco may not have initiated contact himself, but he is the Head Coach and represents the program so it all falls back on him.

  3. The facts are that Bronco has in the past recruited athletes who were on LDS missions. To expect him to do otherwise when a Parade All-American is interested is simply crazy.

  4. Thanks for proving my point then Harry, because it is on the record that he has stated he would not recruit athletes who are on missions.

  5. Show me one link that directly quotes Coach Mendenhall stating this. Until you can, you sound like a moron.

  6. His exact words:
    From the Deseret Morning News, February 2, 2006, by Jeff Call”

    “Mendenhall stressed that his program is careful in the way it deals with missionaries.

    “‘As they came to us, they came of their own regard,’ he said. ‘We will not recruit players while they’re on their missions. That’s not our policy. But when they do contact us, we’ll certainly listen.’

    Nelson has the right, now that he has been gone (out of school) for more than one year to inquire about what school he would like to attend. Mr. Mendenhall has the right, now that Mr. Nelson has been gone (out of school) for more than a year, to recruit Mr. Nelson to his football program.

    To those of you who think a rule, policy or law was broken you are wrong. It is also neither unethical nor immoral for Mr. Nelson to change his mind and transfer to another school.

    Nor is it unethical or immoral for Mr. Mendenhall to recruit this young man.

    Mendenhall kept his word, he did not contact Nelson while on his mission, Nelson father contact BYU about what interest they have in his son.

    THEN Bronco contacted the high school coach.

  7. Just to clarify, the magical quote that Bronco made is no where in print. But, Bronco has made comments on recruiting missionaries, namely that (quoting from Dick Harmon in this article: http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700229902,00.html

    “Asked about recruiting athletes who are on missions, Mendenhall said he’d be careful about such maneuvers, that he’d step lightly and only if the athlete’s family insisted there was interest.”

    The only person who has and who can make a statement is Nelson’s dad who stated what happened:

    “Keith Nelson said he was first contacted by a couple of BYU coaches in early April — after Riley had been out for a year.

    “’Initially, there was some conversation with (Logan head football) coach (Mike) Favero that BYU may have some interest in Riley,’ Keith Nelson said. ‘And through Mike, we came to know that BYU might be interested and were wondering if Riley would be interested.

    “’So that’s where mom and dad came into play — should we contact him about this potential option for him? Since it was about him and his decision, we felt like it would be appropriate, then we worked through his mission president.’

    “Needless to say, Riley was interested in becoming a Cougar.

    “’We gave Riley what information he felt like he needed and he contacted us a week or two afterward saying my stance is I’ve come to a decision that I need to continue with my mission work and make this decision and put that aside,’ Keith Nelson explained. ‘From there, he’s gone ahead and made his decision.’”
    (http://hjnews.townnews.com/articles/2008/05/27/breaking_news/breakingnews01.txt)

    So, BYU did initiate contact, but not with Riley himself. Instead, they went through his parents and former coach to see if he was interested in BYU and to express that BYU was interested. At his parents’ and mission president’s discretion. BYU simply made the option known that they were interested. Ultimately:

    “There was nothing illegal about the transfer. BYU didn’t recruit Nelson on his mission, which coach Bronco Mendenhall steadfastly insists he won’t do with any player. But once Nelson and his representatives initiated the contact, BYU was within its rights — and NCAA rules — to respond.” (http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700229625,00.html)

  8. Taking a quote completely out of context is poor form.

  9. You mention that the rules should be changed and state the following:

    “The NCAA should look into something with this rule that if players go on church missions they can be recruited again after a certain time, and thus is similar to high school recruiting. Perhaps keeping the same rules now that if you transfer you have to sit out a year, and if you transfer within a conference you lose a year of eligibility.”

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Are you advocating that an athlete would have to sit out a year after his mission? That would be crazy.

    We are really talking about to separate issues here. The first is what the NCAA rules state. Any athlete who transfers from a D-1A school to another D-1A school has to sit out a year (this is not the case if the athlete transfers down to a D-1AA). Now, if an athlete has already been out of school for more than a year, they are free game for recruiting and playing right away since they have already sat out a year. This applies to missions, military service, helping on the family farm, or for any other reason. It doesn’t make any sense (and it would probably invite a law suite) to have one rule for missionary service and a different one for military service or work, etc. In the currently reported story with BYU and Riley Nelson, all accounts are that no NCAA violations were committed. No contact was made until after the required 1 year.

    Now the second issue is more of a moral one I guess. Should BYU contact and recruit missionaries? From what I have read, their position seems pretty clear. They won’t recruit missionaries (initiate contact), but if they learn from a missionary or his family that the missionary is interested in transferring to BYU, then they’ll respond with “sure, we have a scholarship available,” or “you can walk on,” or “I’m sorry, there isn’t room on our team for you.” Which ever the case may be. This seems like a reasonable policy, and from all reports, BYU did not veer from this policy. No one from BYU contacted Riley or even had direct communication with him. The only borderline thing that may have happened is if one of the BYU coaches inquired of Riley’s old high school coach to see if he was interested in playing for BYU. According to reports, however, it was the high school coach that alerted the BYU coach that Riley was interested in transferring to BYU, so the issue wasn’t instigated by BYU.

    Another question would be if BYU and Coach Mendenhall decided to change its policy (if he changed his mind), would that constitute a moral flaw and qualify him for the “hypocrite” label? As long as he is public about this change of policy then no. If he continues to say he won’t pursue missionaries and decides to pursue missionaries at the same time, then yes. It’s okay to change your mind, it’s just not okay to say one thing while at the same time do the opposite.

  10. This one of the worst written blogs ever, try grammar check dude.

  11. Mr. Mendenhall has the right, now that Mr. Nelson has been gone! Anyway No article proof !

  12. Jonathan my idea was that a missionary would have to follow the norm for transferring that they have to sit out, not that they have to sit out if the go on a mission or as you pointed out for any other reason. Not sure if you can really do anything about this practice.

    Also, Jonathan the coach that covers the Cache Valley area contacted Nelson’s coach first, just check the link I included.

    I like how all the BYU fans are saying because Bronco himself or that someone from BYU did not contact Riley first, then it is not recruiting.

    For those that know there certain barriers to protect missionaries while they are gone with the means of contact.

    The fact is that this is not illegal what BYU did, a bit shady yes, but they did want Nelson by contacting his coach and then have the coach contact the family, and then have them contact Riley.

    That is a lot of work to just see if he is interested.

  13. What are football recruits doing ON mormon missionaries. I don’t know if it is appropriate for recruits to be ON mormon missionaries at all. There should be some type of NCAA investigation. I also don’t understsnd the title of BYU being holier THEN thou. Looks like Jeremy got a little too excited about this subject. and needs to have an editor.
    When will you wake up to the fact that Nelson is a big boy now and can make his own decisions. BYU didn’t send a man out in dark sunglasses and a black suit to force his decision to talk with BYU. Obviously he wanted to do it a long time ago. Personally I didn’t like the decision Ben Olson made a few years ago and I don’t like the one Nelson made either. Schools(not just BYU) make recruiting plans around players that decide to go on missions. However, schools don’t always live up to their own commitments(including BYU). This is the recruiting game. I would like to know the quote where Bronco stated EXACTLY how he deals with players/recruits on missions. That is because it doesn’t exist! There are too many dynamics at play and other schools involved. Coaches have been in contact with players on missions for a long time(yes, even back in the days of LaVell). I have personally witnessed it.
    This only gets press because there are people eager to jump on organizations that have high standards. This is particularly easy when you have no standards of your own. I don’t think Jeremy has been ‘f’ully invested’ in anything in his life.

  14. [...] BYU is no longer Holier Then Thou That is correct! BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall has stated multiple times that he does NOT recruit athletes who are on [...] [...]

  15. Jeremy wrote . . “So, congratulations BYU you are just like everyone else in college football and no longer can say you have these standards that put you above the rest, because your coach went against ‘We do not recruit athletes why they are on LDS misssions.”

    huh?

    “We do no recruit athletes why they are on LDS missions.” ? Who spell checked this? Ray Charles?

    NO, BYU, though not perfect, is still holier than thou.

    BYU will never be like other Division 1A colleges. why not? Standards. Players commit to live by those standards. Does it mean, rules wont be broken? no, of course not. And players are disciplined.

    Also, BYU never compares itself to other programs telling them how to run their program – -BYU sets the bar for itself, not others.

  16. You lose all credibility when your first grammatical error is in your title. It’s HOLIER THAN THOU, not HOLIER THEN THOU. Get it right and maybe I’ll think the rest of your article has validity.

  17. Jeez people, take a deep breath.

    It’s only a blog…

    …It’s only a blog…

  18. [...] BYU is no longer Holier Than Thou That is correct! BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall has stated multiple times that he does NOT recruit athletes who are on [...] [...]

  19. Here it is folks

    “We will not recruit players while they are on their missions. That’s not our policy.”

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700230281,00.html?pg=2

    Its in the last 2 paragraphs

  20. Jeremy,

    You are a dishonest slimeball. Here is the quote in its proper context: “As they came to us, they came of their own regard. We will not recruit players while they are on their missions. That’s not our policy. But when they do contact us, we’ll certainly listen.”

    If you haven’t yet realized it, you seem to be the only person you have been able to convince so far, and that is only because of your childish bias to the U that has removed all ability for you to be rational.

    Enjoy this free forum because it is as far as your intellectual dishonesty and second grade grammar will ever get you.

  21. I understand that BYU said if they come to us while on a mission the school will contact. In the Nelson case a BYU coach contacted his high school coach, which is recruiting. Which goes against not contacting while on a mission.

  22. Jeremy -

    Who contacted who first is pure speculation at this point and always will be. There are just as many sources saying the opposite of your claim. One thing we do know is Nelson always had interest in BYU. In fact, he very well may have attended BYU but they did not have a scholarship left for him when he finished High School.

    So, as usual, rather than providing a balanced report and providing a legitimate source for the claims you make, you rely completely on speculation, hearsay, gossip, your grandma’s quilting club (and often absolutely no source at all) to push your own bias and launch an unfounded attack on a coach and a program that just so happen to be your biggest rivals.

    I think it is time for you to recant your ridiculous accusations, apologize for your mockery of the English language, and ride off into the sunset.

  23. Jeremy, you wrote in response to my post:

    “Jonathan my idea was that a missionary would have to follow the norm for transferring that they have to sit out, not that they have to sit out if the go on a mission or as you pointed out for any other reason. Not sure if you can really do anything about this practice.”

    Maybe I wasn’t clear in my original post because it seems we are talking about different things, unless I’m not understanding you. My point was that an athlete on a mission is already sitting out of football (sitting out of football for at least 2 years in the case of Mormon missionaries). So I don’t understand what you mean that they “would have to follow the norm for transferring that they have to sit out,” since they are already doing this, unless you mean that they should have to sit out a 3rd year of football after their 2-year mission is over (although many do take a redshirt year to get back into shape after a mission).

    My thought on this matter in my original post was that I don’t see how the NCAA could make someone who has already sat out of football for 2 years sit out a 3rd year because the athlete happened to be doing missionary work during the first 2 years that he sat out. Would it apply only to Mormon missionaries? Would it apply to the Peace Corps or other non-religious service organization? It seems like an impossible distinction to make. That’s how I have understood your thought. If I’m wrong in my understanding of your thought, let me know and explain it better.

    Thanks

  24. [...] home Aggies the recent announcement that Riley  Nelson the QB who started his career at Utah State transfered to BYU while on his church mission.  So, the fans may bring some extra noise for the visiting [...]

  25. [...] Aggies, depending on who you believe, were raided by BYU to get Parade All-American and Mr. Football in Utah during the 2005 [...]

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