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BYU AD Tom Holmoe says school won't comment on honor code violations anymore

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 8:41 p.m. MST

Tom Holmoe, athletic director at Brigham Young University, speaks during a press conference announcing a new contract for coach Dave Rose Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

, Kylea Knecht, Kylea Knecht/BYU

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PROVO — In the wake of high-profile honor code cases in recent years involving Brandon Davies and Spencer Hadley, BYU is changing the way it handles such issues with the media and the public.

In the future, instead of responding to media inquiries about the honor code status of a student-athlete at BYU, the school spokeswoman, Carri Jenkins, will only address those questions if it is a matter of public record or if the student-athlete initiates a comment on the situation.

That big announcement by BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe came during a 45-minute question-and-answer session Tuesday with local media. Holmoe fielded questions on a variety of topics at Legends Grille.

An honor code violation by basketball star Davies in 2011 resulted in a season-ending suspension for the player at a time when the Cougars were ranked No. 3 in the country and poised to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The story made national, and international, headlines.

Last fall, Hadley, a linebacker on the football team, was suspended for a few games for what BYU initially called a violation of team rules. Later, the school confirmed that Hadley was under review by the school's Honor Code Office. Photos of him in Las Vegas hit the Internet, and Hadley's suspension received widespread attention.

Controversy also arose over the way BYU dealt with these honor code violations in the public arena. Some questioned why the school would compromise the privacy of a student-athlete.

In recent years, Holmoe, the Honor Code Office, and other campus officials have had discussions about changing the policy.

“It’s led to the point that, as of Jan. 1, when we receive inquiries from the media about honor code issues, we no longer will address them from a campus perspective,” Holmoe said. “There won’t be a campus spokesperson that addresses any honor code issues anymore. There are two exceptions to that. One, if there is something that is in public record. If that shows an honor code violation has occurred, then our spokesperson could talk about that. Or if one of our student-athletes chooses to come public, then we would. But we won’t discuss that anymore. So don’t ask.”

In the future, if a student-athlete violates the honor code and is unable to compete, coaches will likely refer to the situation as a “violation of team rules” and leave it at that, Holmoe said.

“It would just be what the coach determines. A coach could say a violation of team rules or something else, but that’s pretty generic. That’s what I would like to see happen.”

The decision was reached after many discussions about the policy, Holmoe said.

“In the course of a few years with social media and the amount of media, it’s changed. Everybody on campus was supportive of going through the process.”

Asked if he spearheaded the change in policy, Holmoe replied: “I didn’t spearhead it, but I was involved.”

Other subjects Holmoe tackled Tuesday:

SCHEDULING/BOWL GAMES

BYU officially released its 2014 football schedule Monday night, and Holmoe said he likes this schedule.

"Some people have said it's not as hard as last year, and that could be true,” Holmoe said.

Holmoe said that future schedules will be as strong as the 2013 schedule, “if not stronger," adding that, “We need to get stronger to be able to play that kind of schedule.”

BYU is contracted with several Pac-12 opponents over the next decade, with games against Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Stanford, California and Utah.

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