Comments about ‘Coaches navigating new rules pertaining to mission-bound LDS athletes’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 4 2013 8:00 p.m. MST

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John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

This new rule is just more evidence of the NCAA's anti-religion bias. Indeed, this organization has discriminated against religious institutions for almost its entire history. This policy is causing coaches to discriminate against religious athletes. In this, the NCAA has subverted justice and integrity.


"Discriminate against religious institutions"??? Pardon me but most colleges accept public funds, therefore, they are supposed to be secular in their policies. There is a great deal of peer pressure and family pressure put on these young people to go on missions before they have the emotional and educational maturity to do so in many instances. This young man is passing up an outstanding opportunity to attend Stanford. To think that the Lord will not appreciate his pursuing his dreams of this in life is just absurd.

These kinds of opportunities should never be wasted and there will be others who really need this scholarship and will seize that opportunity. That is both fair and appropriate as he is making a choice. As to the NCAA "subverting justice and integrity" Please. Most of society feels that pursuing an education and learning the discipline, fairness and team ethics of sports is an essential way to learn both justice and integrity. In this case: you can’t have it both ways. It’s a hard world out there and it will pass him by.


@ John Charity Spring

This article leaves out any of the context surrounding the new rule. Their is an article specifically regarding BYU that discusses the new rule in the following way:

This rule came about because many SEC schools over-signed, then withdrew offers on signing day or used the 29 or 30 signees as a buffer when they had players flunk out or get kicked off the team for discipline issues.

The affect on mission-bound LDS athletes seems to be unintentional (at least to me) and is certainly not an attack on religious institutions.

Highland, UT

"Interestingly, Carl Barton said some in-state schools were initially supportive of the idea but then tried to make the mission less appealing to Sean during the recruiting process."

That is a university of utah tactic. They have used it on quite a few kids. I'll now await the utah "fan" outrage but the fact is I know kids that were recruited by utah that had this exact thing occur.

Aloha Saint George
Saint George, Utah

Recruits, do you want a scholarship or a hand shake? If you want a contracted scholarship, you need to sign and play now. You can on go on a mission, but may have to wait after the first semester. Before the RILEY NELSON rules, kids could 'jump ship'and leave their respective school. You can't do this any more without getting a release from that school.

This new situation is great. If a kid is a 'sign and send', then he can leave and start at another school. In turn, the school can go and do the same. It sure seems fair both ways.

Is this religious freedom, sure it is. Kids can still go one missions. Overall this article isn't well researched. Schools like Boise State, who don't sign mission kids are now opening the door because there are less chances for kids to jump. There are some school that are biased toward mission kids, but door are opening, they're not closing. We'll have to see for awhile how this mission change will affect things.

Saratoga Springs, UT

I think Barton had one thing wrong the way I understand it. You can only have 25 LOI sent in for the year. It used to be that a kid that was going on a mission could sign a letter of intent but it wouldn't count against the 25, loi that were signed. So I know Utah will have all sign and sends not send in loi so that is why u see 28 verbals.

Mchenry, IL

Why not go after college? People go before marriage. Seniors go. In countries like South Korea the men have to serve a few years in the military and typically do school first. Sometimes you don't get to do everything you want the way you want.

Beverly Hills, CA

I am LDS, I support LDS athletes.

A mission is about many things including personal sacrifice. I don't like how this story makes these LDS atheletes any more special than the ones who are poor and sacrifice earning wages for their families while they serve God.

NCAA Football is a money making machine, not a religious vehicle with a few exceptions.

Why should an NCAA coach who could get fired in the two years it takes for a missionary to get back bother to wait? Pay the price or don't if you are a gifted football player. Let's not make these guys any more special than other missionaries.

Wilsonville, OR

In 1984, after BYU won the national title and Sports Illustrated ran an article about all the returned missionaries among the Cougar team and the resulting level of maturity, Coach Tom Osborne at Nebraska immediately instituted a new rule that every Cornhusker would red-shirt early in their careers.

Provo, ut

These "student athletes" make up what 1% of the college population so the article is about 25 kids here in Utah, and there's nothing more important going on in the world to write a news? article about. It will all shake out eventually. The good players can come back and walk on then get a scholarship.

Provo, UT

BU52 - This was a sports article written by a Utah newspaper. That makes the issue relevant, and I found it interesting. JJJHS - I write the same to you. The article was not a news article about how football players compare to others on the scale of importance. It is a sports article about the impact of missions on LDS football recruits. The players are not being singled out as "special" compared to others, they are simply the subject of a piece about football players. There have been many articles (and I suspect many more will be written) about the impact of the new mission ages on colleges' incoming classes.

Cedar Hills, UT

If I am a college coach there is NO WAY I am giving a kid a full ride scholarship until I see what I end up with after his mission. After my mission my college baseball days were done. I lost so much arm strength as a pitcher and so did my older brother who came back to BYU only to be red shirted for a year and then cut simply because he lost 25 lbs and much of his former ability as a pitcher. If I am a high school player who wants to both serve a mission AND play college ball at a D1 school I play for one year after HS and then go on a mission at age 19. At least then the coaches know you and have seen you at your best and would be willing to take the risk of a full ride scholarship.

Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO

Here's an idea, because colleges don't just give scholarships for athletics. There is a lot to be said for the quality of individual that serves two years as a missionary (or in other non-lds ventures). If these schools, that accept letters of intent and then need to wait two years to see what they've got, then offer non-athletic scholarships as a back-up. If the player then returns, isn't deemed worth a full athletic scholarship, then offer the other while they sit, eventually walk-on and prove their worth. Sure this could be abused, but it is a long way around and certainly worthy of the risk the student makes coming out of high school. And it indicates on the part of the university/college a seriousness about education which largely seems to be lacking.

Pendleton, OR

I had a missionary companion that was in the same situation about basketball that you describe for baseball. Even tho' we played b-ball as a prep day activity, he had lost that drive to excel and the focus necessary to sacrifice for b-ball. He took almost 2 years to get it back and spent the time earning to pay for college. When he finally entered college he walked on and won a scholarship spot in his second season.

Beverly Hills, CA

Demonizing coaches not of the LDS faith who are NOT responsible for any religious matters (with a few exceptions) is not a welcoming attitude as we try to help people find the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Two years is a long time, especially in today's win it all college football environment. Coaches get fired left and right.

A mission is between an individual and God. After careful prayer, determine the path that is right for you. If you are gifted in a sport and decide that is your path, great.

There are Missionaries sacrificing much more in poorer countries and the attention paid to LDS athletes living in favorable conditions and sad about their sports prospects does not make them any more special or deserving of our attention.


The LDS Church opened the option for 18 year olds to serve missions. But, I don't see any change here from the schools. Seems like we are trying to make news where there isn't any.

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