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Jeff Benedict: The making of a Sports Illustrated cover story: The investigation comes to Utah and Bingham High School

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  • BT1984 West Jordan, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    "You asked how I would handle the situation? Had Seni been on my team he would have been suspended for the year." - Asking how you would have handled the situation was a mistake on Jarka's part (no offense intended, Jarka).
    I, for one, don't care how you claim you would have handled it.
    "It baffles me that Coach Peck did not take this opportunity to teach this young man a life lesson." - You can remain baffled. For those of us who know and understand the situation no explanation is needed.
    For the rest of you, none is possible.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    March 17, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Jarka:

    You said it yourself; Seni was a D1 Recruit and an important part of the team. It baffles me that Coach Peck did not take this opportunity to teach this young man a life lesson. The crime he was accused of and eventually convicted of is very serious and rates far above playing football.

    Had Seni missed the whole year due to a suspention he still would have played College Football somewhere. Maybe not Utah maybe not BYU but he would have played. I can't even begin to tell you the opportunities for lessons in Perseverance, Accountability and Self Improvement Seni has missed with the scenario we are left with now.

    As far as dragging this young mans name through them mud, Seni's actions have done a pretty good job of doing that already. Having your name drug through the mud is an unfortunate consequence of stealing, lieing, holding someone against their will and threatening a life with a weapon.

    You asked how I would handle the situation? Had Seni been on my team he would have been suspended for the year.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2011 6:28 a.m.

    I am literally sickened by the status and pampered treatment talented athletes are awarded solely as a result of their prowess on the field or the court.

    Horrible choices should never be disregarded just because a young athlete has the ability to overpower an opponent on the playing field.

    There's not a heckava lot of difference in my mind in doing just that and in holding pointed gun, making outrageous demands, and backing them with threats of bodily harm!

    Such coddling of outstanding athletes, and excusing their unlawful behavior to "give them a better chance than they've had" for a good life is, as I have already said, SICKENING!

    without a doubt a mediocre athlete would hardly be so treated, no matter how much he "deserves a chance" at a better life.

  • Packrat South Jordan, UT
    March 9, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    @AZ Ute: Kesni Tausinga has been charged with no crime.. Did you read the story? The story is about a kid named Viliseni Fauonuku and he is going to Utah to play. Kesni Tausinga is a great kid and is going to play ball at BYU... He has not been charged with any crimes.. Get your facts straight before posting..

    @Lehi Coach: Kesni Tausinga leads the Haka, not Seni.. Again, facts people.. They can be helpful things..

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 6, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    re: jazzer | 10:54 a.m. March 3, 2011

    "But why are all you people judging Bingham High School? Coach Peck? Bingham is highly respected and has lots of good kids."

    Yet, it was okay to judge Skyline when the unethical behavior was not as bad as Bingham's??

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    March 6, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    re: PVD | 6:50 p.m. March 3, 2011

    "Football is the only thing that is going to help Seni move forward as a person."

    Is this the attitude people held towards Gladiators in Rome? Tools for our entertainment?

    Treating these kids as special because they have a "gift" is a mistake. Why? They get a false sense of entitlement.

    Hopefully, Football is not the only thing that will help Seni move forward. Rather, a vehicle to help him broaden his horizons and help him become a well-rounded and complete individual.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    March 4, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    sid6.7
    Nope you are the one sadly mistaken. You really think with the amount of D1 players Coach Peck had on this team that he really thought that even without Seni he would have lost to any team in their region? C'mon this team was loaded with talent and it would not have mattered if Seni had been suspended longer, he felt the punishment he gave out was fitting to what he knew of the crime, don't try to drag his name through the mud, just because you coached against him doesn't mean you have been in the locker room, like I have, on the team bus, like I have. Or been around him and the Bingham program every year, like I have. You said you consider every one of your players as family, so tell me how you would have acted in this case hmmmm. As if you wouldn't have "did everything he could to protect his player" and I know for a fact as well that Coach Peck considers every player he has coached like family as well.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 4, 2011 9:39 a.m.

    The kid should be in jail for his "stupid mistake"(to quote Peck), and the prosecutor, who most likely is a U alumnus, should be fired. Aggrevated Assault with a weapons enhancement is something that you don't plea bargan. It's a first degree felony.

  • PVD south jordan, utah
    March 3, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    That's a very broad stereotype. I know Seni. He's not a bad kid. He just made a mistake. We all do. It's our job to forgive and forget. What he did was wrong and he deserved hes punishment, but football is this kid's life. He needs it. I thind the judge saw that. Football is the only thing that is going to help Seni move forward as a person. Everyone should be forgiven, and everyone should forgive. He's not a bad kid, but it was indeed a bad choice. Nothing more.

  • AZ Ute Scottsdale, AZ
    March 3, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    As a U alum, I am bothered by the apparant discrepancies in how two different recruits are being handled. I can only conclude that I do not have all the facts and perhaps should not be comparing the two stories. But here it goes anyway, hoping someone can enlighten me. Didn't coach Whitt rightly postpone the Shreve kid's scholarship for a year to see how the QB prspect mended his ways after clocking his HS baseball coach? Was he ever charged with felony or misdemeanor assault? By comparison, is Kesni Tausinga coming to the U just one season after a crime that would have scared the crap out of anyone? Is that because it was technically not a crime because it was handled through the "juvie" court system? If so, seems as though the U is pulling a very "Un-Whitt-Like" fast one and ought to wait another year on that scholarship as well so they can monitor his behavior. And don't tell me they'll redshirt the kid a year. They always do that anyway. Especially linemen. Seems like KT's getting a sweeter deal than Shreve. Someone please help this occasional DN reader understand.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    March 3, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    @ jarka-rus:

    I have no doubt Coach Peck cares for each and every one of his players.

    I to have also associated with Coach Peck on several occasions and had the honor of coaching against him numerous times. If you think for one minute Coach Peck is not concerned with winning you are sadly mistaken. Fauonuku was a major part of the Bingham team and Coach Peck did everything he could to protect his player. Was he trying to prevent this players name from being drug through the mud? Yes I am sure of it. Did he also realize the negative impact it would have on his teams chances of securing another state championship by loosing him for the year? Of course he did. He wants to win, just like every other coach out there.

    Actions speak louder than words and if memory serves me correct Fauonuku was only suspended when the media broke the story to the public.

    And for the record I consider every one of the boys I coach to be a member of my family. It is my responsibility to guide them in the right direction not only on the field but in life

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    March 3, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    This story is old news but it is just as relevant today as when it first hit the air last year. Bingham, U of U athletics, the lawyers, etc. sold their collective souls to get this done fot this kid.

    Juvenile? Well it could have gone both ways. The kid was a 'gangbanger with a gun'. He should have lost the opportunity for the scholarship and gone to jail. There he could of rehabilitated himself and be set on whatever life's path he chose.

    With choices comes consequences. Choose to waive a gun and threaten people, you should suffer the consequences. The kid was old enough to know better. The system was manipulated for him.

    If it was my kid I would have been just fine with him going to jail. Back when I was a kid my dad would have beaten the crap out of me and then called the cops to have me taken to jail. Back then corporal punishment was acceptable and today I appreciate the fact I was disciplined. This kid is probably having a problem with respect.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 3, 2011 1:53 p.m.

    In the SI article it is stated that the juvenial records for 80% of the players were not available. Thus the vast majority of these criminal infractions had been accrued while in college or during the last year before starting college.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 3, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    With the rape followed in less then two weeks by a suicide by failure on the campus policie's part to give the information to the county prosecutor for over two months when the accused rapist was a Notre Dame Football player it appears that some universities try to cover up crimes by current football players.

    I would also say the Notre Dame case calls for a need to consider if the current status of campus police departments works. Here at Eastern Michigan University there was a rape and murder in the dorm I currently live in a few years ago. The administration and police lied to the girls family and said the death was from natural causes. When the truth came out when a charge of murder was brought the president was forced out while the head of police and the head of public relations were "allowed" to retire. I was not even a student here then, and I thought it was an outrage that the culprits were let off that easily. It seems that having criminal matters ultimately under the control of the university president creates too many conflicts of interest.

  • Becky T West Jordan, Utah
    March 3, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    SLC Mom: Get a grip. People make mistakes. It sounds like you have zero tolerance, and zero compassion, and a zero forgiveness policy. That's harsh. I know that armed robbery is a serious crime, and I don't think he should be allowed to skim over that fact. But, I do believe that he deserves a chance to prove himself. Nobody should be upset that he is being given a second chance. He is a talented athlete, and he shines on the field. He truly loves the sport, and his skills and abilities are giving him a chance at a great future. I truly believe that he will turn his life around. He has the love and support of his family, coaches, and friends, and he will go on to do great things. I am grateful that there are people in this world who are willing to take a chance on a kid that made some bad choices. This young man will do just fine.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    March 3, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    As far as i can tell Kesni Tausinga has not been accused of any crime, so it is even less clear that he even could have "remorse for the crimes committed".

    I have seen enough people make gang signs or pretend gang signs in moments of stupidity that I would say judging remorse for a crime on it is pretty flimsy assesment.

    There has been some gripping about the nature of DN articles on this subject. The problem is that Benedict created the main article on the clock as an employee of SI and it would be un-ethical for him to replicate the body of that work elsewhere. On the other hand he clearly cares about the matters here and has every reason to want to write about it, so he covers the Utah angle of the story, giving local context to the story for a Utah newspaper.

    My biggest takeaway from this is that admissions of students with criminal records should be informed decisions. I think in most cases refusal of admission would not be wise. On the other hand considering stress can be a trigger for violence needs to inform actions.

  • Deray Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    They are in High School, why are people jumping on them? Ask Brandon Davies, or Fotu if they would get away with this in College. They got a second chance, everyone deserves a second chance, they won't get another one.
    Let them prove what they are made of, it's not up to us to condemn them, and decide that for them. I'm glad they're able to get this chance, I can't wait to watch them in College.
    Keep your heads up, and stay strong

  • jazzer St. George, UT
    March 3, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    ATTENTION.... Yes Seni commited a crime and got his punishment. But why are all you people judging Bingham High School? Coach Peck? Bingham is highly respected and has lots of good kids. Just because one player on their team did something against the law makes it a bad school? As for coach Peck... what did you want him to do? kick a kid off the football team because of an alligation? he wasnt proven guilty and he did suspend him for the allegations. So all you people out there who think bingham did wrong or Coach Peck only cares about winning, what would you have done if you were coach Peck or the Principal of bingham High school?

  • apocalypse now Woods Cross, UT
    March 3, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    @hedgehog you can't possibly think that Sports Illustrated is doing a retribution piece to make Utah look bad. The two stories are coincidental.

    Do you really think the Church is behind this? I'm sure they having been sitting on this story just in case they needed to wag the dog.

  • hedgehog Ann Arbor, MI
    March 3, 2011 10:08 a.m.

    "A day after BYU suspends Brandon Davies for Honor Code violation, this story sticks out like a sore thumb and sticks in the craw like sand. One athlete is held to the standard that he voluntarily accepted. The other is rewarded for committing a violent felony."

    Ohhh, you don't think the corporation that owns the Dnews was licking thier chops when they got a hold of this story?

    Let's make Utah look worse then us....and let's send it in a "breaking news" email alert.

    typical.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Sweeping criminal records under the rug in the name of better collegiate football is certainly lowering the bar. Applying mercy should not depend on whether someone runs a 4.4 forty.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    March 3, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    VIDAR

    That logic would work fine if he was caught trespassing or jaywalking or speeding. But he waved a gun and threatened to murder someone. If I or any of my family members do that, then I agree with you and hope we get caught EVERY SINGLE TIME. This wasn't a juvenile prank gone awry or a moment of juvenile stupidity. This was a serious crime.

    I hope he does truly feel remorse and is able to repent and appreciate this amazingly generous gift he has been given. I also do not understand how his criminal juvenile record is now public record. Those records are sealed that kids are not defined by the stupid things they do. It seems odd to me.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    March 3, 2011 9:14 a.m.

    If everyone was caught and prosecuted, everytime they broke a law. We would be a much less judgemental society towards offenders.
    My wish, for those who would judge, is that everytime they break the law, they are caught.
    Also, that everytime their kid, or family member, breaks the law, that they are caught.

  • jarka-rus Layton, Utah
    March 3, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    sid 6.7 | 2:23 p.m. March 2, 2011 "Unbelievable a coach would allow his player to continue on with the season knowing he was guilty of a felony. I guess winning does mean everything at Bingham High. What little respect I had for Bingham and Peck is now gone. "
    I have known Coach Peck for years and years now, more than you for sure. So I am confident in saying that I don't think he cares one whit if you have lost respect for him. Neither do I. I know he doesn't care about winning or championships. He cares about young men and the kind of choices they make and does everything he can to help them. Having said that, he is not their parents nor even their guardians. He is their coach. His character is not defined by this one player or any other player for that matter. I do not question at all his decision in this matter, if he felt it was right to handle it the way he did, that's his decision. He is one of the finest football coaches I have been around.

  • goitalone w bountiful, ut
    March 3, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    A day after BYU suspends Brandon Davies for Honor Code violation, this story sticks out like a sore thumb and sticks in the craw like sand. One athlete is held to the standard that he voluntarily accepted. The other is rewarded for committing a violent felony.

    Different standards aside, Utah should show some fortitude here and refuse to scholarship this kid. I know I will take some heat from the "can't you just forgive" crowd, but when do we stop rewarding athletes for behaving badly?

    Repentence is fine, but one of the steps is restitution, meaning paying the consequence. Whom God chooses to forgive is not mine to judge, but a human society need not encourage violent offenders. Bingham ought to be embarrassed.

    That a judge would reduce the penalty because the kid has a potential scholarship is a slap in the face to actual scholars who would not be afforded such gratuity.

  • photographermom South Jordan, UT
    March 3, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    I have to be honest, this story disgusts me. That is great that a coach loves his player but this kid should never have been allowed back on the football field. What did he learn? My guess is nothing. It sounds like he has been nothing but rewarded for his behavior of holding people at gunpoint. And to be given a scholarship after the fact? You have got to be kidding me.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    March 3, 2011 4:54 a.m.

    I find it most telling that the victims still visibly shake in fear when talking about the incident. Can you imagine sending your child to school knowing that the perpetrator of this crime not only walked the halls but was celebrated as a hero? Hero's are allowed to do things that the rest of us are not. They are given a "Get out of Jail Free" card. Knowing this, do you think they will be on their best behavior? I fear that we enable more of the same by according these folks hero status even after they have done wrong. My own experience as an athlete in high school and d coach at the university level was that many coaches do look the other way (many do not) and are more than willing to make heros out of athletes who consider themselves to be almost Nietzschian supermen. When coaches, like myself, take a hard line against athletes who break rules/laws their judgment is often overturned by administration.

  • Football881 South Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    High school coaches are paid 2k a year to coach football not to investigate crimes and get to the bottom of every off the field issue. 99% of you don't even know the full situation. To come on here and start telling what you would have done or what should be done from a article that doesn't give all the details makes you look like idiots. Im sure Coach Peck tried to make the best decisions with the info that he had, and do whats best for the kids involved. Im pretty sure that they weren't playing him to win the state championship, cause his back up is just as good and has a full ride to the U as well.

  • Football881 South Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    If those are gang signs then I guess the "hang loose? sign is a gang sign

  • Football881 South Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    You think that is a gang sign?? You have never seen a gang sign then. I know both of these boys are neither are in a gang.

  • Slim Shady 801 Bluffdale, UT
    March 2, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    We should interview the kids that had a gun pointed at them. It is always ok to overlook a crime when it does not affect us personally. Ask the victims what they think.

  • grafxgal Ephraim, Utah
    March 2, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    I am astounded that the prosecutor would allow the scholarship to be a factor in how he was tried. That should have had nothing to do with it. It's a big disservice to this kid to let him off so easily. The message he is receiving is that he is untouchable and it's okay to go out and do whatever he pleases because, for him, there are no consequences. What kind of character is that building in him? And why weren't the victims told about the plea and the scholarship being a factor. How sad is it that they must continue to suffer the effects of what happened to them, when he gets to walk away with a slap on the hand? It's a sad statement on us as a people when we put the criminal ahead of the victim, simply because he can play a sport and give us a win. I have lost all respect for the U!

  • LifeIsGood Herriman, Utah
    March 2, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    I would first like to start by stating how often times we are quick to judge before we know the entire story... and NO just because it is posted in the news paper or even SI does not mean it is the entire story! Imagine if the most embarrassing thing you ever did in your teenage years was printed in the news paper... does that moment define you? I don't think so and unless you know Seni personally than you have no room to judge!

    As for the coaches at Bingham... they have done a great job and it is obvious they care about their players. Just because there player was the one that got a front page headline for getting in trouble doesn't mean the coaching staff did anything wrong nor the rest of the team is a bunch of criminals.

    If Seni has changed and become better than bravo to him for learning from his mistakes!

  • Unbelievable West Jordan, Utah
    March 2, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    What would have infuriated me as a Bingham parent is knowing that the administration knew of this kids crime and allowed him to walk the same halls as my child.

    A person that commits an aggravated assault-armed robbery shouldn't be in societies mainstream, but juvenille detention/jail.

  • Sahara sandy, ut
    March 2, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    Has this kid had any previous brushes with the law?

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 2, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    According to a BYU hater, you can't be a national power without excepting players like this. The honor code must go.

  • Still Jim Bountiful, UT
    March 2, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    It seems if they can play the game all is forgiven. Had it been non athletes the outcome would have been different.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    March 2, 2011 5:20 p.m.

    This is how it starts, the delinquent athlete that gets the red carpet treatment and a pass on his crimes because he can play defensive line for an all-state high school football team.

    The story made no mention of restitution for the stolen ATM card, fines and or other penalties attached to his sentence ? The piece did speak of some community service hours but it did not say what they consisted of.

    I am sad for this kid because he is being guided down the prim rose path of excusing and ignoring the reality of life and he will forever be in the margins of society. Lucky for all of use absorbing another social ill.

    Poly Nation

  • Amazed Bountiful, UT
    March 2, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    Why then as a society do we seal Juvenile Records? Not just athletic juvenile records, all juvenile criminal records. Why is there a different standard? I guess some time in the past, kids acting out was something that someone thought deserved to be handled in a manner distinct from the way mature adults are punished. All SI and the Jim Grey's of the sportsworld do is shoot fish in a barrel. Of course there are high school students with criminal records. Open the investigation into all scholarship receiving students - and then again, ask why records are sealed. Growing up is just that. Isn't the NCAA's pimping of college players an even bigger crime? Don't ask Oscar Robertson or Ed O'Bannon.

  • TheHailstorm South Weber, UT
    March 2, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    What were the victims doing in a place well known as a high school hang out and what actions were taken against the property owner? It's not like sensational journalism ever sold copy. What is the rest of the story ?

  • ST Layton, UT
    March 2, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    WIN baby WIN ... that's all there is to it. Everything else can be swept under the rug.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    March 2, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    I believe that they should take away his scholarship and make him walk on if he wants to play football. If football is the only way he could go to college, then maybe the hard work of making the team would help in finding a job and working his way through like the majority of students. Let these kids get away with things like this and it is no wonder why they do poorly in school and then, if they do make it to the pros, they all act like stupid idiots.

  • Dadof8 Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 2, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    As someone who works in the criminal justice system, I think people might be surprised at the potential outcomes for a situation such as this. Based on past history I could easily see this action pled down to a Class B Misdemeanor with court administered probation, a series of actions and consequences classes, a decent fine, and suspended jail time. There was probably more required out of him by the Juvenile Court than a District Court.

  • TheHailstorm South Weber, UT
    March 2, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    I am happy for SLC mom that no one in her family ever had a run in with the law or did something that was regrettable. Fortunately she has led a perfect life and has lived in a environment where no one in her family was held accountable for their actions as a youth under voting age. It is a good thing that there was never a need for forgiveness, reconciliation to individuals harmed, or to the society seeking accountability.
    As for Whittingham ? It should be noted that he DID revoke a scholarship to a projected starter on his team for not following the standards of the athletic departments stand on disobedience to the laws of the land. This was done swiftly after the player had been given a chance to reform his rough and rowdy ways.

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    March 2, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Unbelievable a coach would allow his player to continue on with the season knowing he was guilty of a felony. I guess winning does mean everything at Bingham High. What little respect I had for Bingham and Peck is now gone.

    Fauonuku knew what the repercussions were going to be when he committed this crime. With the discipline required to play football at that level he knew better.

    With that being said, the law is the law and he was a juvenile at the time so he should be judged as a juvenile. Hopefully he has paid society for his crimes and made good. This though does not negate the fact that he should have lost his Senior year of Football and potentially lost the ability to get a Scholarship. It only goes to show athletes and Stars, if you will, live on a completely different plane from the common person in this society. You cant tell me that if it were a common 17 year old who committed this crime he would have received the same treatment.

    Everyone deserves a second chance and I hope he is smart to take this one and run with it.

  • Magic Happens Kaysville, UT
    March 2, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    OK! Enough already. I have received from the D'News, email alerts of "Breaking News" about this story 5 times in the past 2 hours. Yes it is an interesting look into college athletics and the errors/mistakes/criminal acts (pick your term)of a few of the athletes. But really, is it necessary for the editors of this paper to continue to publish as "breaking news"? It's as if the editors are relieved to have something to shift the focus away from a basketball player and his challenges. Hopefully all these young men are able to correct their past mistakes and move on to more productive lives. But is it new news? Probably not, and certainly not worthy of so many announcements. Were it a certain other school in this state it wouldn't receive so much attention. It's time to move on!

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 2:07 p.m.

    @SLCMom: You are judging people you don't even know without having all of the facts. The world must seem pretty evil from your perfect perch, but as for me I am all for showing a bit of compassion and mercy. You never know when you are going to need some of it yourself.

  • InUtahButNotOfUtah South Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    I live within the boundaries of Bingham High School, and while I'm sure that there are good kids on the football team, I have have had only bad experiences with football players. Vandalism, trespassing, and lack of respect seem to be the norm. It's about time that someone called them out on this. Not that there will be any consequences, though. This kid that held up the others by gunpoint and then threatened their lives if they reported it is laughing his way to a scholarship at Utah.

    And to the person who said it's much worse in Texas and Florida -- do you have any first-hand experience with that? I have, and I can tell you that the kids in my former Texas town wouldn't have even thought about pulling garbage like this because they knew it would ruin their college careers. (College football, on the other hand, is another story.)

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 2, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    As a high school coach that competed against this young man, I must say it makes me sick. His remorse is turned off and on when the moment requires it. Before each game, Bingham does the Haka and when this young man would lead it the Haka included throat slashing gestures meant to intimidate and threaten. He should never have seen the field this year. I don't have that big of a problem with second chances but being rewarded with a scholarship at the U is beyond the pale. He should have had to sit for a year and see if he could behave himself before he ever entered school. So much for integrity. So much for my respect for the U.

  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    March 2, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    Maybe I'm alone, but I think this "ambitious journalism investigation" reveals little surprises. I actually think the ultimate percentages of student-athletes with criminal backgrounds is much lower than I anticipated. Also, so much effort to "get to the bottom" of the Fauonuku incident? Whatever. The only reason this report is getting attention is the "SI" connection to it. It uncovers very little!

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    March 2, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    I think this is a very valid and pertinent issue for SI to investigate. It is obvious they did so with integrity, showing all sides of the issue and interviewing from many different angles. The article sounds well worth reading and discussing with family and friends. The bottom line is that College Sports programs, with their multi-million-dollar engines, are ripe for corruption. Good for SI to shine some light on a very dark corner. Hopefully, this story will encourage meaningful discussion and revised school and law enforcement policies which promote ethical behavior and high standards. It is up to Coaches, Parents, law enforcement and schools to stand up and take responsibility sending a loud and clear message to our youth: IF YOU COMMIT A CRIME, YOU HAVE TO SERVE THE TIME AND PAY THE PRICE. BAD ACTIONS = BAD CONSEQUENCES. That's real life. Allowing athletes with criminal records to be continually rewarded with a free pass for their bad behavior is unconscionable. SHAME on my Alma mater U of U! Coach Wittingham, you've let your fans down, and you've cheapened the game by signing this young man and any others like him.

  • plyxply SLC, UT
    March 2, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    I thought this offered a little insight we didn't already have about the people involved in the incident and I am going to go read the article, sounds interesting.
    My favorite part of the story is that everyone owned up to thier parts and didn't duck the questions, kudos to Coach Peck.
    Whether or not it's fair that the scholarship is still intact, this is an interesting story that hopefully will have a happy ending.

  • Naptan Layton, Utah
    March 2, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    Pat Tillman had an incident during high school that was similar in that he could have lost his football scholarship. In his situation the sentence was such that it wasn't reported to Arizona State so he could keep his scholarship. If the judge didn't give him the opportunity for a second chance he would have never played in the NFL and never become the figure he was when he joined the military. Hopefully this kid makes the most of the second chance he has been given.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    I think this is really sad. Why is it okay to drag these young men through the mud? Maybe SI's next investigation should be looking into sports writers and media members to see how many of them have made mistakes in their lives.

    If the crimes are in the past, we are doing these young men a huge disservice by resurrecting it now. As long as they have paid their debt to society, let it go.

    People are saying that there is a double standard in sports and that when athletes commit crimes people look the other way. It actually goes both ways. Take what is going on with BYU's star center. His name is being dragged through the media right now, while another student at BYU, who might be guilty of breaking the honor code, is not publicly embarrassed. Just because someone is an athlete or in the public eye, does not give us the right to debase them.

  • TruthBTold SLC, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    You know what they say about "Glass Houses" Chris B.... (see his previous unflattering comments yesterday on BYU's dismissal of Brandon Davies).

    I am deeply saddened for ALL of the young men involved in both circustances. It places an uncomfortable spotlight on everyone involved... at Utah and BYU; and an unfortunate black eye on the state and it's athletes.

    I truly do not believe that Utah is any different than any other state (even per capita), in this area. Nor do I believe that ANY of these kids are "BAD"--they simply made stupid mistakes that they should have the chance to correct and move on.

    I will say that there is a huge, fundamental difference in how each University handles such issues though. Neither of them is right or wrong, just different, based upon the Motto, Structure and Purpose of each University.

    I say, STOP THROWING ROCKS at each others Glass Houses, because you never know when one of them is going to ricochet back and hit you in the head!

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    Somewhere there is a home with parents who have taught their son to have integrity, honesty and to work to earn his place. He has followed their advice, played with integrity, respect and sportsmanship. He has heeded the counsel of mentors, coaches and leaders. He has excelled to the point of being next on the list of candidates to get a scholarship. He has earned his place.

    However he being next isn't good enough. His athletic accomplishment is great, just not the best. He is not perfect but he has no faults of character either. It's not his only chance to go to college and be saved from his background. It's not his only dream.

    He will not get the scholarship from the preferred schools.

    The preferred schools want to win...whatever the cost.

    Other than Military schools, some faith based schools and a very few schools with high standards of conduct this young man(or woman) is told the world is not what he was taught.

    But lowering the gunwhale of your own boat never makes the ocean shallower. There is a place in the world for integrity, honor and character.

  • Silly Rabbit Magna, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:31 p.m.

    -Continued-

    High School football is the money maker for schools, so some administrators do turn their back on their football programs. If the stands are full then so are the coffers, yes I understand schools need the $$$ but at what cost. Integrity, class, good sportsmanship must win out at the high school level at all costs because our youth are being taught these lessons from these issues that are there in sports. But it seems that the lessons that they are learning is just the opposite.

    Hey we that are evolved and watch HS Athletics see what is going on, but what do we do?

  • SoUtBoy25 Cedar City, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    The big question here is balancing mercy with justice. Are other non-football playing kids getting breaks to get into college? If someone shows promise academically or in music, but makes a similar mistake do they get a lessor plea and a scholarship? Are we just pushing a problem down the road by sweeping it under the rug because someone can run, catch, tackle etc. On the other hand are we not allowing someone to turn their life around for making a mistake. Tough questions that are hopefully being brought out of the dark.

  • RED23 Layton, UT
    March 2, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    FYI, you can get the article online on the Sports Illustrated webpage.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    March 2, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Maybe I'm not up on the latest "peace signs", but are these two upstanding football scholarship recipients flashing gang signs in their picture, or is it the new "peace sign"?

    If gang signs, then was there really any remorse for the crime committed?

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    March 2, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    Sounds like an interesting article. I may just have to buy this one at the newsstand.