BYU gets another recruit this week and it is another athlete that was on a church mission who then decided to change schools. Te’o who played high school football at American Fork High School, near BYU and then moved to Hawai’i with his family and finished his high school career.
At the time BYU did recruit him but they did not have any available scholarships in 2006, so he signed with UNLV. However, Te’o did not attend UNLV at all and left for his mission in February of 2007, one year later. One can speculate why he did not attend UNLV even though he could have played or redshirted for the 2006 season. There are most likely two reasons why he did not attend UNLV for the one semester, first Te’o did not want to waste any eligibility with the hope he could go to BYU when he came back or to keep full eligibility at UNLV when he came back, then there is the more likely reason is that he was living in Hawai’i and moving to Las Vegas for a few months would be cost prohibitive for him while he would need the money to help pay and save for his church mission.
The way he came to BYU is that Te’o while on a phone call from his mother wanted him to contact BYU coaches about the possibility their interest in him. This was only a few months after he was on his Mission, and according to NCAA rules a school can not contact a player on a mission until after he has been gone for 12 months, so the response from BYU took a few months.
This transfer could have another ripple effect for BYU in a huge way, because he happens to have a cousin of current 2008 BYU recruit Shiloah Te’o, and both are cousins of Manti Te’o who is the best high school LB in the country and 9th ranked prospect overall and the number one player on BYU’s board for 2009 recruits.
This is not saying that is the only reason BYU offered a scholarship to Malosi Te’o because he always wanted to go to BYU or the signing of 2008 recruit Shiloah Te’o to help in the recruiting of Manti Te’o. Who knows it may help BYU get Manti the top linebacker in the country.
This rare practice of LDS players transferring to BYU needs to be looked at by the NCAA. While players can transfer as they wish these players face no penalty such as a one year sitting out period or if they transfer in conference like this scenario they lose one year eligibility. This would be tough to implement, but players should still be bound to the school they signed with out of high school, which make sense. This rule could be put in place for people who signed and perhaps went into the military services and were away for a few years, rare yes but so is this of missionary transfers. Just a thought.