Jeff Benedict: Once in honor code trouble, Van Noy almost didn't come to BYU
The only reason the star is a Cougar is because he desperately wanted to be one
He went straight to Coach Mendenhall’s office. The door was ajar. He knocked and Mendenhall looked up and grinned. “C’mon in, Kyle. Why are you here?”
Van Noy looked away, biting his lip. The grin left Mendenhall’s face as he stood and walked toward him. Van Noy’s eyes welled up. So did Mendenhall’s. “Kyle, talk to me. Let me help you.” Van Noy took a seat. His voice shaking, he revealed every detail about the second run-in with the law. “I need help,” he said. Mendenhall recalled the opening lines to a favorite speech by BYU’s former president Jeffrey R. Holland: “It is the plain and very sobering truth that before great moments, certainly before great spiritual moments, there can come adversity, opposition, and darkness. Life has some of those moments for us, and occasionally they come just as we are approaching an important decision or a significant step in our life.”
He looked Van Noy in the eye and told him not to worry about the second incident. “That’s why I gave you the one-year plan,” he told Van Noy.
“There are no words to describe how bad I felt before I got to his office,” Van Noy said. “And no words to describe how good I felt when he accepted me.”
Mendenhall and Van Noy put their arms around each other.
After reaffirming his commitment to Van Noy, Mendenhall informed the athletic director and the dean of students. Both had reservations. But Mendenhall held his ground. “He never hides when his mistakes come,” Mendenhall said. “He has been honest from the minute our relationship started. I’m always the first to know when he makes a mistake.”
The dean had two simple questions: “Is this someone you believe needs to be at BYU?”
“He needs help,” Mendenhall told the dean and the AD. “He wants help. I want to help him. And I believe he can make it. He’s giving up a chance to go elsewhere.”
“Is this someone you believe will represent this institution and our faith?” the dean asked.
“Unlike so many people I deal with that will hide behind texts and e-mails and half-truths, he admitted what he did,” Mendenhall said. “Not only is he trying to do something about it, he’s already done something about it. He’s here.”
The dean and the AD signed off.
“Our administration knew the situation,” Holmoe said. “When you bring someone here who is high risk, you have to wonder. This is a different culture than Kyle was used to. But we trusted Bronco. And Kyle made a commitment to hang in there. That was Bronco’s risk, not mine.”
Excerpted from THE SYSTEM: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian Copyright © 2013 by Jeff Benedict & Associates, LLC, and Lights Out Productions, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. THE SYSTEM is available online at Amazon.com.
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