Alexis Kaufusi cut from BYU women's basketball team

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  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    July 9, 2012 7:52 p.m.

    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.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    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.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    July 9, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    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.

  • Ufan Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    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.

  • Will S. Los Angeles, CA
    July 9, 2012 1:08 a.m.

    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.

  • techgeek West Jordan, UT
    July 8, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    She obviously was a detriment to the team. Do you think Coach Judkins is just going to cut her for no reason

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2012 3:05 p.m.

    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.

  • yabuts Springville, utah
    July 8, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    Some things never change. This reminds me of the Roger Reid, "Cristmas present".

  • alternate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    "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 . . .

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    July 8, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    Disappointing . . . but not unusual at BYU.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    July 7, 2012 8:09 p.m.

    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 it big.

  • kaspercasey gilbert, AZ
    July 7, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    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...

  • BlueCoug Orem, UT
    July 7, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    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 move on.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    July 7, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    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.

  • Cougar in Texas Houston, TX
    July 7, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    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.

  • ItrustNo1 La Grange, TN
    July 7, 2012 12:59 p.m.

    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

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 7, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahRef` Saint George, UT
    July 7, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    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.

  • UtahRef` Saint George, UT
    July 7, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    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.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    July 7, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    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.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    July 7, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    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.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    July 7, 2012 9:35 a.m.


    Serious 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 spring?

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    July 7, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    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.

    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.

  • UtahRef` Saint George, UT
    July 7, 2012 1:50 a.m.

    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.

  • techgeek West Jordan, UT
    July 7, 2012 12:15 a.m.

    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.

  • Swishfrom3 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2012 12:11 a.m.

    I wonder what Coach Kafusi the Dline coach for BYU has to say?

    Not cool Cougars.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    July 6, 2012 11:42 p.m.

    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.

    Springville, 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???

  • Jenny83 OGDEN, UT
    July 6, 2012 11:36 p.m.

    NOTHING positive about byu........Shame on you!

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    July 6, 2012 11:16 p.m.

    So many unemployed super coaches, not enough jobs. That's why we have comment pages I guess.

  • VAggie Bristow, United States
    July 6, 2012 10:39 p.m.

    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.

  • ER in EUR Belgrade, Serbia
    July 6, 2012 10:06 p.m.

    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.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    July 6, 2012 7:54 p.m.

    Poorly handled. If she wasnt in trouble with grades why bring it up ?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 6, 2012 6:38 p.m.

    Hmmmmmmm. I've always been told we are better than that here.

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    July 6, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    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.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 6, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Cold very cold Juddy!

  • vesparider Pocatello, ID
    July 6, 2012 4:51 p.m.

    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.

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    July 6, 2012 4:27 p.m.

    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.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    July 6, 2012 4:13 p.m.

    Did I just 'like' Naval Vet's assessment of the situation???

    This concerns me on so many levels I can't imagine.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    July 6, 2012 3:58 p.m.

    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 this decision.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    July 6, 2012 3:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Go Utes! Springville, UT
    July 6, 2012 2:41 p.m.

    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.

  • aunt lucy Looneyville, UT
    July 6, 2012 2:17 p.m.

    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 Law.

  • Provo4Life PROVO, UT
    July 6, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    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.