She has cancer, keeps an athletic scholarship, but BYU and Coach Judkins are
somehow bad on this one? Heavens, the anti-BYU bias is running deep tonight!
Judkins is under NO moral obligation to use this player. He is under
an ethical obligation to field the best players and give those players every
legitimate opportunity to win. He has an obligation to the rest of the team and
the school. This is college athletics, not Little League.
I once made a decision involving another person, that frankly made me look quite
bad to those not intimately familiar with the situation. I could have told the
entire story to others to make myself look better, but to do so would have
revealed unsavory details that the other person would surely not want
publicized. So, I decided to live with not looking very good myself and hope
that people would, over time, recognize their initial judgment of the situation
was likely unfounded. Given what people know of Coach Judkins' character,
I find myself wondering if he is making exactly the same choice to let people
possibly think badly of him, so that he can in fact protect Alexis as he makes a
decision that affects many others besides just her.
I'm not sure what the problem is. It was probably a blow when she heard she
was cut, and if they'd revoked her scholarship, that would've been
below the belt. But it seems they didn't, so what's the problem? You
fill your roster spots with the best players you can find; end of discussion.
It's not that complicated. She still gets a free education and can focus on
school and her health, and some young player hopefully gets a few more minutes
and improves. The mushy-hearted "shame on BYU" types really are a hoot
and a half. Send Kaufusi a "You're a winner!" pin and a juice box
if it makes you feel better.
If she's still on scholarship and will be able to complete her degree, I
don't see the big deal in her not being able to be a bench-warmer for an
entire season. Give her spot on the roster to somebody who can actually play.
Facts:Alexis K. battled back from cancer to rejoin the team. She
could've easily quit. She's now a senior. Judkins
doesn't see her as a contributor.Judkins is not going to win any more
games in 2012/13 season with a different player on the roster.What
should Judkins have done?He should've treated his
student-athlete with dignity and let her finish her career as a member of the
team. It's her final season - if she still had 2-3 years of eligibility, it
would be different.Judkin's move is an incredibly poor reflection on
him as a person and the athletic program in general.
She obviously was a detriment to the team. Do you think Coach Judkins is just
going to cut her for no reason
Sports Illustrated did a study many years ago and found one thing in common
among championship basketball teams: They all had a player or two who
couldn't play a lick, but who had so much fire it inspired and/or shamed
others into working their hardest and doing their best.Sometimes the
best team doesn't have all the best players, in fact often that is the
case. What they have is the combination of talent, togetherness, intelligence,
determination and in many cases, love, that creates a synergy where the whole is
greater than the sum of the parts. Personally, I'd be inspired by a
teammate who overcame cancer and was doing her best to get back to playing the
sport she loved.
Some things never change. This reminds me of the Roger Reid, "Cristmas
"NOTHING positive about byu........Shame on you!"I really
like the beautiful mountains that overlook both the BYU and Utah campuses. So
there is at least one positive thing.Every year both schools send
out at least one graduate who is very successful in life and contributes greatly
to society.Both the BYU and Utah women's basketball teams has
held spots in their programs for young ladies who have had serious injuries and
illnesses, in some cases for multiple seasons. Upon returning, their full
scholarships were honored even if they could not return to play or play to the
level on the 15th player on the team.So I am now up to three
positive things about BYU and Utah, and counting . . .
Disappointing . . . but not unusual at BYU.
Too bad for her but I am glad she has her school paid for. Hope she decides to
graduate and can move on.The other side is the player that gets on
the team with the newly released scholarship. One more girl gets a shot to make
I'm a BYU guy but I don't like this move. They couldn't let her
be the 15th player on the bench for one year, lame. Luckily I still don't
care about women's basketball so...
Reading between lines, it appears that Alexis isn't being honest with
herself and Coach Judkins may have done her a favor by giving her an opportunity
to refocus her priorities on completing her degree.Kaufusi said.
"We had a meeting after the season where he said a lot of things needed to
change in order for me to play."Conditioning and academics were
two of them.Alexis said she was in good standing with the university
and "BYU wasn't kicking me out for academics." Unfortunately, not getting kicked out for academics could also mean just
barely getting by and being on the verge of failing."I finally
feel like I'm healthy," she said. "I put in a lot of work.
I've been going to workouts everyday, and I was playing better than
I'd ever played."If Alexis was really healthy and playing
better than she'd ever played, why would Coach Judkins not want her on the
team?Sometimes athletes just aren't willing to accept the cold,
hard truth, that their bodies aren't capable of doing everything their
minds are telling them to do.Good luck Alexis, it's time to
The reality is none of these critics has ever had to sit on the hot seat of a
major college sports program and have their future careers depend on the
on-court/field performances of a bunch of teens and 20-somethings.Judkins did everything he could to be supportive of Alexis, allowing her to
remain on the team while she was battling cancer and giving her an opportunity
to return to being an active player, but at some point, hard decisions have to
be made, not only by the coach and the team, but also by the player herself,
having the courage to accept the reality that her major college playing days are
over, and it's time to move on.It's not fair to the other
players on the team to be forced to play short-handed for another season because
a teammate isn't physically able to contribute. And it isn't fair for
players who would like to join the team, and who could be productive, to be
denied a roster spot because a player who could no longer contribute wasn't
willing to voluntarily give up her spot on the roster.
UtahRef, xfert, Howard Beal, and others rushing to judgement about how Judkins
handled this situation, we are only getting half the story.You do
realize that Judkins kept her on the team during and after her diagnosis and
treatments, right? Does that show him to be "callous",
"classless", and "uncaring" like you claim? Alexis herself has
said the support she received from the team and coaches was phenomenal.Last season she was on the roster the entire season and only saw game action
in mop up time with the freshmen and walk-ons. Should Judkins have kept her on
the team merely as a symbol?She is still on scholarship which will
enable her to complete her education for free. She can also focus on continued
recovery from her illness.The only thing I found wanting in
Judkins' dismissal was the timing. He probably should have done it two
months ago to allow her more time to find another school (fyi, she has had her
redshirt, so would have to go D-II).For Ute fans complaining, please
see the rash of cuts in recent years form your mens team, and the Josh Hearlihy
incident this past April.
I feel sad for Alexis. She has been through so much. None of which was her
fault. Perhaps by using this time to study and get her degree while
concentrating on getting well is best right now. Coaching is always an option if
"the game" is the issue. I only wish the best for you Alexis. College
sports these days is "hard ball" but life is sometimes even harder.
Alexis, dwell on the future. Don't let this shake you. You have already
shown more courage and strength than most. Just shake it off, walk tall and move
forward with your precious life. God Bless
The reality is that BYU wants it both ways. They want to win games and taken
seriously on a national stage but also want to view athletic program as a beacon
of light onto others. Sometimes these two things don't go together. To
win more games it seems like Kaufusi was let go but it shows that BYU is just as
callous and heartless as any athletic institution in the country. Maybe
that's a good thing, the pretense that it is something else will be ended.
To RockOn (Spanish Fork)> You wrote, "[T]o spend so much time in the
article reporting one side of the story is irresponsible. I'd call it
unprofessional but this is typical of journalism today." Please go back and
read the story again, particularly the fourth paragraph. Amy Donaldson tried to
contact Judkins to get his side of the story; he declined to respond, other than
an email message in which he wrote that he "had nothing to say" about
the decision. Reporters can only invite sources to respond; when sources choose
not to respond, it's a little more difficult to represent their
perspective. Note, too, in the next paragraph that Donaldson went the extra mile
to get a coaching perspective into the story when she interviewed John Scott, a
former coach. Your assessment that Donaldson was irresponsible because she
reported only one side of the story is way off base. To paint the rest of
contemporary journalism with the same brush shows you don't know what
you're talking about. Sure, there's some reporting out there
that's garbage, but good journalism exists, if you know where to look for
it. Obviously, you don't.
To Phoenix (Gilbert, Ariz.)> I'm a BYU fan through and through -- a
true Blue Cougar. I could not care less about what happens up in the Utah
athletic department, so my concern was non-existent. Why do you assume that the
only people who might criticize this decision must be, by default, Utah fans?
Few people in the world are more ardent Cougar fans than I. I was a football
season-ticket holder for years, but I let my season tickets go in protest of the
way BYU handled certain situations that gave the university and the athletic
programs a black eye. Being a fan doesn't automatically require one to
"ooooh" and "ahhh" at the Emperor's new clothes; sometimes
it behooves us to point out that the Emperor is naked. This is one of those
cases. NOTHING in Amy Donaldson's story indicated that this player is
currently -- as you put it -- physically incapable of contributing to the team.
Perhaps her contribution would not be as great as it has been in the past, but
she deserves to be there. Cutting her at this point is a classless move, and
Juddy needs to fix it.
I love how, when a seriously bad move has been made by BYU (or far right members
of the Republican party for that matter) and it's pointed out--the response
of many is to "rush to justification," and not even consider the
possibility that one of their own could have done things the wrong way. This is
a sort of "kill the messenger type of response that is understandable in a
child, but sort of pathetic in an adult. I know that this article is asking that
BYU take a look at it's collective self in the mirror, but is that such a
bad thing? Many of the responses here are very similar to the
"running from LES" we saw last year by much of the Cougar fan base when
their boys were being drubbed by the Big Boys Up North. "This is not
acceptable and if we cover our ears and sing la la la, maybe it will go away.
We were not just here and we did not just get beaten."C'mon
BYU. You treated a kid who could have used some help in a cold and clinical way.
I find it fascinating and also am appalled by the comments from BYU fans. From
what I understand about BYU athletics is that it's not just about winning,
It's about being a "light set on a hill" for all to see. It's
about the student athlete and doing everything possbile to ensure that the
student has a successful, wonderful, and meanignful college experience. There
have been other institutions across America that have had to deal with
situations similiar to this and have handled it with class and dignity. They
used the challenges faced by their atheltes as something to rally around an draw
inspiration from. Coach Judkins put winning above doing what was right. At other
institutions that may be okay, but that's not what BYU preaches. BYU needs
to learn that where much is given much is expected and that you can't have
it both ways.
UtahRefSerious question: How many players that are
physically incapable of contributing to the team would Utah be willing to carry
on the roster?After the mass exoduses we've seen after every
season up on the hill, it's a bit disingenuous of Utah fans to suddenly be
showing so much "concern" for the well-being of a BYU player being cut
from a team because he/she was physically unable to contribute to the team.Where was your concern when half of Utah's team was cut this
To quote the article: "(she)is technically still on scholarship at
BYU..."Why add the word "technically" Amy Donaldson???
Either she's on scholarship or she isn't. She is.Facts:1. She gets the rest of her degree for free. Call it pay for the work done in
the past if you like, but she's no longer required to do work, but gets the
full benefit.2. She wasn't performing well enough to stay employed.
She got fired but with full benefits.3. Other than her pride being hurt,
she's in a wonderful position to relax (good therapy for cancer survivors)
and get her degree, or go somewhere else. Would she really rather
sit on the bench for a season? Certainly her performance wasn't going to
get her more playing time. Cut your losses, girl, suck it up and enjoy life.As to Coach Judkins... I don't know him. I wasn't in the room
and neither was Donaldson. So to spend so much time in the article reporting one
side of the story is irresponsible. I'd call it unprofessional but this is
typical of journalism today.
I cannot believe the "bottom line" rhetoric of some people.
"He's running a basketball program, not a Make-A-Wish Foundation."
Yeah, okay ... now let's snap back to reality, shall we, shall we?
Women's basketball is about as bottom line a "business" as
men's track and field. Neither sport pays for itself. Without the football
and men's basketball programs, as well as the Cougar Club, BYU athletics
would drown in red ink. So let's dispense with all this talk about winning
being the bottom line. If winning is the only consideration that should factor
into this decision, that speaks poorly of Jeff Judkins in particular and BYU
athletics in general. There's a lot to be said for loyalty, especially in
this case. To cut this player under these circumstances reminds me of Newt
Gingrich serving his wife with divorce papers while she was in the hospital.
It's a no-class move with virtually no upside, and it goes a long way
toward quelling any sense of long-term loyalty to the coach or to BYU athletics.
Jeff, you're wrong on this one, and you need to fix it.
Oh come on seniors get cut on every level of athletic teams.. In my experience
there was probably a freshman or sophomore better than her, i know that's
what usually happens. But to involve her cancer in this story, seems a bit
immature by Amy Donaldson. Either way she must be hindering the team somehow.
There's obviously more to this story that we don't know about. Coach
Judkins has coached a long time, and is a highly respected man.
I wonder what Coach Kafusi the Dline coach for BYU has to say?Not
Go Utes!If he had cut her sooner, she probably would have lost her
scholarship. This way Judd can put a player who is healthy and able to play at
100% in her spot but she still gets to have her last year at the Y paid for. I
think that's a pretty class move.sammygSpringville, UT"Did I just 'like' Naval Vet's assessment of the
situation???This concerns me on so many levels I can't
imagine."I know, right???
NOTHING positive about byu........Shame on you!
So many unemployed super coaches, not enough jobs. That's why we have
comment pages I guess.
There always will be a player that comes in with limited minutes, and will avg.
1-2 pts a game. (At least in Men's, I assume its true with women's
too). I don't see why she couldn't stay on in limited minutes, unless
there are other issues not mentioned.
You know, I am usually a cutthroat, get it done, we are keeping score here, kind
of guy. But I disagree here on this one. Some may say she is not producing. But
she was pulling her weight in the past, giving to the team and was supporting
them with her efforts. Now she needs thier support. I believe the spirit, or
feelings of "team" is just as important as any stat. Many on the team
may now question their position if they have problems. Perform, or get out of
the dorm does not exactly relate to this situation. A team needs a heart and
Coach Judkins looks as if he cut a piece of it out today.
Poorly handled. If she wasnt in trouble with grades why bring it up ?
Hmmmmmmm. I've always been told we are better than that here.
Cancer is a cruel disease and this is a very sad way to end a college basketball
career, but it sounds like Alexis simply didn't have the physical ability
to continue playing and contributing anymore. It's better for all concerned
to give that opportunity to a player who's worked just as hard to earn a
spot on a college basketball roster. At least Alexis has her scholarship and
will be able to finish her college education.
Cold very cold Juddy!
No quotes from dad or brothers yet? Her uncles played football at the U and one
of her cousins is trying to talk his parents into supporting him in his desire
to play at BYU. Wonder how all the family dynamics play out.
Judkins has earned an enormous amount of respect while at The U and BYU and as a
result I will have to trust his decision on this one. The fact that he declined
to comment lends credence to a scenario that there may be more to the story that
is printed here. As others have commented, she has her scholarship
and degree awaiting completion of her senior year. Let's hope that after
some reflection she shows support for the program in Brandon Davies style.
Did I just 'like' Naval Vet's assessment of the situation???This concerns me on so many levels I can't imagine.
A very sad story, indeed. I certainly feel sorry for Kaufisi, but she needs to
worry about getting completely healthy, get her degree & move on with the
rest of her life-- not just concentrating on her senior year on the team. Bottom
line is she averaged 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds last season. Athletics can be a
bottom line business. I wish Alexis the best of luck in the future and and a
healthy and full recovery! I'm sorry, but I can't fault Judkins for
Go Utes!:I see no foul here. It's a shame she had to get cut,
but Judkins is running a Basketball team; not a Make-A-Wish Foundation. Every
player has to pull their own weight, and Kaufusi wasn't able to do that.
It's not Kaufusi's fault that she'd had some health issues, and
because she gave it her best shot, and was in good academic standing, that makes
the decision to cut her all the more tragic, but that's the nature of
competitive sports. You sink or swim. If the cougars don't win, Judkins
gets fired. Somebody had to go, and I think Judkins made the right call.
Unfortunate as it may have been.
Wow, not very impressed by the NCAA, the University, or the coach. Terrible
situation I totally understand cutting and under-performing player but the
Cougars were a solid last season, weren't they ranked somewhere in the top
25? She obviously didnt hold them back that much. I do not see why the coach
felt he had to cut her before her senior season, why not do it when she was
diagnosed or in April after the season ended? Why now when she has minimal time
to find a local team to play on? Really she was just not a bad player, the story
fails to point out that she only played an average of 4.3 minuets per game, in
that minimal amount of time she hit .433 from the floor 13/30 shots made to
attempts and had 23 rebounds. she is not a bad player, they could have given
her more time this year and her production would have increased drastically. I do not agree with this decision, I think the timing was meant to prevent her
from transferring to a near by rival like Weber, UVU, or the U.
If she still has her scholarship, she should thank Coach Judkins and praise BYU.
No sympathy here. If she wants to play that badly, she can transfer and give
up her scholarship at BYU. Cancer is a terrible thing but basketball decisions
must still be made with the best interest of the team invovled. I've never
seen the public understanding when a team didn't perform. Just ask Coach
As bad as this sounds, she is still on scholarship at BYU and is going in to her
final year. She wasn't going to play at all, averaging 1.3 points/game.
Coach Judkins could have handled things with a little more tact, but it sounds
like the writing was on the wall. Just take advantage of your scholarship and
get your degree. Basketball has to end for everyone, so embrace it and move on.