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BYU football: Unga leaves school due to honor code violation

Published: Friday, April 16 2010 9:15 p.m. MDT

BYU running back Harvey Unga is seen during spring football practice last month.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

PROVO — Harvey Unga, BYU's all-time leading rusher, has withdrawn from school, according to a press release from the school's football spokesman on Friday evening.

Unga and a member of BYU's women's basketball team, Keilani Moeaki, both withdrew from school at the same time, according to the press release, as a result of a violation of the BYU honor code.

Unga and Moeaki have dated the past three years and made the decision to withdraw together.

There is no word from BYU officials when and if either Unga or Moeaki will return to BYU. Unga had been slated to be a key cog on BYU's football team next season as the Cougars break in a new quarterback and tight ends with the loss of seniors Max Hall, Dennis Pitta and Andrew George.

Moeaki and Unga broke off an engagement and marriage plans a year ago, but Moeaki told the Deseret News two weeks ago the two had been dating.

In past situations dealing with honor code issues, some BYU students, including athletes, in connection with counsel from an LDS Bishop, have withdrawn from school before the university's honor code office officially deals with their case and makes a determination on their standing as a student. In this regard, if that person receives a required ecclesiastical endorsement after one or two semesters, they can return to school without a university ruling on a non-academic issue.

BYU operates on a three-semester system. Missing spring and summer sessions is equal to a full fall or winter semester.

Unga, a 6-foot, 237-pound running back, is the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,455 yards gained over his first three seasons in the Cougar backfield. He led the Mountain West Conference in rushing last year while garnering first-team All-MWC honors after a third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

"I fully support Harvey and his decision regarding his personal situation," BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "The possibility of not having Harvey on the field in the fall would certainly have an impact on our team, but my main concern right now is in supporting Harvey."

Moeaki, a 6-foot-2 forward, has started 67 of 91 games in three seasons. She averaged 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds while starting all 33 games this past season, helping BYU advance to the quarterfinals of the WNIT.

"Keilani has been a valuable contributor to our team the past three years," BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins said. "She has my support while she takes time to address some important personal matters."

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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