Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Given the overwhelming interest in last week's column, I felt it deserved a follow-up. So I called Utah athletic director Chris Hill about the issues I addressed last week regarding the Utes playing on Sundays and General Conference weekend. When he returned my call, Dr. Hill, whom I've never met, started the conversation by saying, "Vai, Rise and shout!" To which I chuckled and answered, "I'm a Utah man, I am."
We shared a few pleasantries and I made him aware that I had written a column last week wherein I hammered him but I hoped he would be willing to discuss the issues I raised. He was incredibly warm and accommodating.
Hill understood and respected my position and informed me that he's asked the Pac-12 if they would steer clear of Conference weekend next year but that it was too late to do anything about this year's schedule. However, the hierarchy of the Church worked with the university by arranging for the priesthood session to be tape delayed to the Institute so that those who chose to attend the game could still see it. He expressed gratitude that Church leaders did that.
The Sunday issue is a little different. "I'd rather we not play on Sundays but we're not in a position to dictate that to the league," Hill told me. "There's a lot that goes into scheduling — maintaining a competitive balance, school schedules, TV schedules, all kinds of things."
I asked if he'd consider approaching the league in future years regarding Sunday play when perhaps they weren't the newbies on the block. "We entered the Pac-12 as full-fledged members with all the privileges that membership affords," Hill said. "So, having winning programs or being in the Pac-12 a few more years won't give us any more of a voice than we have now. But no, I don't think we'll do that. I think the Pac-12 is very much aware that there's a culture in Utah and they respect that and may do their best to accommodate that, but that's up to them."
I thought it was fair and I came away liking Chris Hill a lot. I don't have to like his answer but I respect what he does and how he's doing it. He was cordial despite the fact I ripped him last week.
As for last week's column, I feel compelled to answer a few of the most reasonable posts, which I've done in the past and will do from time to time in the future.
From wtfhinutah in South Salt Lake: "Wow! I've always looked forward to Vai's Views but his point is totally lost on me here. This seems a little bit divisive and out of character for him."
Some of what I write is opinion-driven. I'm a columnist. I make observations and write about them. You may disagree depending on the subject matter, like many of you did regarding last week's column. I'm OK with and respect that.
I write about what interests me and what matters most to me. Sometimes it's about my personal experiences, sometimes it's sports related, and on occasion, it's spiritual in nature. It seems because I'm not afraid to share my personal experiences, even spiritual ones, that some are confused and even irritated when I express opinions on subjects they think I have no business discussing.
I've managed to offend Cougar Nation, Ute Nation and even some in the Polynesian community. I'm an equal-opportunity offender.
I don't intentionally look for things that will rub people the wrong way, but in the instances when I've offended it's because I've dared to opine about such things as Bronco Mendenhall's hiring practices and the issue of the Pac-12 scheduling games in Utah on General Conference weekend.
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