Dick Harmon: New mission policy impacts BYU football recruiting in a big way

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  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 5:15 p.m.

    Some of the comments here are insightful, some hilarious.

    I remember back when I was told by a friend (we officiated high school football together) that BYU would never win a conference championship "because they had too many returned missionaries" on the team. That just happened to be the last year Tommy Hudspeth was the head coach and the next year an assistant was promoted to the top----a guy named Lavell Edwards.

    The rest, as they say, is history..........

    So having RM's was a liability; then it was an asset. Always those who lost to BYU on a consistent basis were quick to accuse them of some "unfair advantage." Oh well..........

    The missionary effort is what's most important here, after all. And the change will require adjustments, so just make tham, already.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    Re: Vegas,
    You don't suppose it has anything to do with the fact that they are in prime marriage years after completing school, do you? And that is, of course, if they haven't already gotten married before graduation, as so very many BYU students do. No, those who have graduated from school are looking to get on with their lives, rather than put it on hold for another two years. Perhaps they shouldn't look at it that way, but, for all the good that comes from serving a mission, it is still a sacrifice to go and put everything else aside for two years.

  • Vegas Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 8, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    I've always been surprised that there is hardly ever any mention of the ability to serve a mission after school. This is always downplayed. Why don't we have athletes ever choose to play their 4 years and then serve a mission?

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 1:17 p.m.

    BYU and the other in-state schools will be scrambling because of this. There are going to be scholarships opening up that were unexpected for next year, which likely benefits senior walk-ons. They can't simply give them to other HS athletes, because the scholarships will be taken when they return home from a mission. BYU especially has to carefully map out scholarship commitments by year, and this change blows all that up.

    Also, while this seems to benefit BYU in terms of getting uninterrupted college years and having fewer transfer restrictions, it will totally change the culture of campus, teams and the mission field. You used to have guys on mission talk up their BYU experience, and all of that will go away.

    Outside of sports, I feel for the admissions folks who are going to have to deal with a sudden multi-thousand student drop in campus population next year (and the boom that will follow two years later if they allow wait-listed applicants in). This will be awesome for the sisters though...there will be an huge increase in the # of sister missionaries.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    Is this new revelation only about 120 players on scholarship at BYU? I know most readers are all about BYU with DNews. I would hope that other articles will look at college athletes in other programs and sports. Assuming there are 120 athletes on scholarship (On missions) this includes 0.002% of the 56,000 missionaries.

    There are programs such as Boise State who rarely bring in 'mission kids' because of jumping to BYU, getting older and losing interest in football and moving on. How many more programs will look at a kid, once he returns, and they have him committed for four years without a 'mission jump' clause?

    How many kids are willing to play college sports now they getting off their mission a year younger? Again, with two kids playing college football, I know that the football arena hasn't been the safest place. Coaches are seeing that bringing in LDS kids creates stability for their other athletes because they are more disciplined and have more maturity and come from stable homes- generally.

    I respect BYU. BUT one message of BYU is they can compete against anyone in who's teams has great students, and values.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    1. BYU Football represents 1/1000 of all college football programs
    2. Many other programs throughout the country are bringing in LDS athletes into their systems because they see the benefit of bringing in athletes from stable homes and who value education.
    3. Many programs are reluctant to bring in athletes who are not committed to their cause- jumping to BYU
    4. Most programs want an athlete for 4 straight years. SO what about that year between high school and mission? How many doors have been closed for football, mission, and education from bad choices during that Limbo time period?
    5. I have an 18 and 24 year old on full ride at another school. Their opportunities have been far reaching because of living in a mixed society of RMs, non- LDS- remember missionary work is part of the three fold mission of the church.
    6. Imagine if each of the 1000 football programs in the country had 10 players on their roster? That's 10,000 more scholarships rather than 80 at BYU

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    I do think it will help the football team--and I do think this is an appropriate thing to discuss since it is the sports section. Going on a mission does tend to change your priorities, and does, on balance, give athletes the desire to go to a church school.

    But, and I know this isn't sports-related, I am ecstatic about lowering the women's age to 19. For a young lady to have completed perhaps three years of college and then try to leave on a mission can be a tough decision, and probably one that materially affects their ability to get married. And there of course is a little bit of stigma about going only because one did not have immediate marriage prospects. My daughter has always spoken of potentially going on a mission, but she frankly has been more popular with the young men than I would like. It will be wonderful for her to make a much easier decision now to go on a mission two years earlier, then come back and still be in the thick of things, so to speak.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Oct. 8, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    How inspiring. Young men nationwide on fire to get out there and get their missionary service out of the way so they can get back and play four straight years of football. The mission presidents must be elated.

  • AltaHawkFan Sandy, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    One comment that Dick wrote doesn't make much sense. This decision will not lower the average age for BYU football players at all. It will actually raise it since there will be fewer 18 yr old freshman players and more 20 yr old freshman players.

    This will probably help BYU sports because fewer other programs simply won't hold a scholarship for 2 yrs while they wait for a missionary to arrive on campus and it won't give other programs a year to talk an LDS player out of serving a mission altogether.

  • offenderforaword South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    In the United Kingdom, it's been a serious problem for college students to interrupt their education. Some schools wouldn't let you attend if you stop after 1 year.

    Now UK students can go on their mission right away and then do 4 years straight of college.

    Really good for them (where I used to live).

    This is the scenario this is primarily intended to help. If it also helps athletes, then good for them too.

  • mcdugall Layton, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    WhatsInItForMe - BYU had an invite from the Big 12 and declined the invite, BYU will get an invite from the Big East this year and if they are lucky one from the ACC, the Big 12 ship has sailed.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Perhaps a convenience for some but those who want to serve will. Since the decision was based on considerations other than athletic, it's premature to draw too many implications.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 2:11 p.m.


    Great point. This will give these kids the opportunity to re-evaluate their decisions from a position of maturity and perhaps spare them the punishment that would have previously come from making an immature decision.

  • Wendall Hoop Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 2:10 p.m.

    It's not going to help that much. If a kid goes on his mission after high school, he misses school and gets back right before season starts. He probably won't be able to be in the mix until he redshirts or rides the pine. Unless rare exceptions. Where I think this DOES help is for the kids who turn 19 in summer, because they aren't ready to play as true freshman, then are away for 2 years then get back in the summer and go through the process I explained above. Regardless, if a kid leaves after High School, he will be playing a year earlier than it's been right now. I think this was inspired.

  • Utahute72 Tooele, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Well this should give BYU more opportunity to re-recruit kids that commit to other programs since it makes it less likely they will enroll early and come under the Riley rule.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    Gotta admit...this is one of the first thoughts I had when I heard the announcement! How will this affect BYU Football! Should be interesting to watch it unfold.

  • PAC Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:49 p.m.


    Who cares about SPORTS anyway? The World has more problems on it hands than Sports. Think about it..

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    This change will bring more schools into the hunt for the top LDS players. In fact, it may hurt BYU as much as help.

  • SLC BYU Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    Perhaps bigger than the age for young men being lowered to 18 is the two year lowing of age for young women (to 19). Not only is this an encouragement for more young women to serve, but it will effectively end the social and academic distractions after age 21, so young men and women will be able to focus on what's more important as they reach legal adulthood.

  • CrispinsDay Seattle, Wa
    Oct. 7, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    @ Mom of 8

    What Duckhunter said.

    And also, congratulations.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 11:37 a.m.

    @Mom of 8

    I agree with you except that this is the sports section and the purpose of the sports section is to analyze the impacts of things on sports specifically. The purpose of this article is to examine how this affects BYU sports. The sports section is for looking at things from the perspective of sports. There's some articles about this in the general news section of the paper where we can discuss the affect this will have on our sons overall but if you come to the sports section then you should expect to get your news in this section from a sports perspective.

  • eljefeBYUfan Denver, CO
    Oct. 7, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    ANYONE who thinks this was a decision just to help BYU athletics is so far out of touch with reality that they should check a map to see where they really are.

    Notwithstanding the challenges or benefits the changes present to the university, the changes are to enhance preaching the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. After all, BYU is a Church school, and the first mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 10:50 a.m.

    @Mom of 8 and PAC

    While I understand your comments about the new mission age, plese remember that this is the sports section, Dick Harmon is a sport writer, so an article or comments on how it will impact sports is entirely appropriate.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    So, will Jabari go on a mission right out of high school, thus waiting two more years to commit to anyone? Might be smart on his part. By then BYU might be in the Big XII, making it much easier for him to come here.

  • PAC Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 7, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    I think when the Lord change the age to 18 for young men,19 for young women he was not concern with BYU football. Let it go people!

  • Amazed Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 8:18 a.m.

    Nice to see an article about Higher Education. However, Sports is only one aspect of the graduating seniors life. Are there articles in process where the reporters are contacting the financial aid offices of the local colleges and universities? If my son has the 4.0 and chooses to volunteer for two years following H.S. graduation, with which group is he competing for scholarships? Class of 2013 or 2015? Sports may have the one year vacuum for the 2013-2014 year - great opportunity for some "higher tuition" kids to make an impact at the Y and surrounding schools!

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 6:50 a.m.

    joseywales "I heard from a great source that this announcement was meant to help BYU athletics out."

    Really? And I heard it from a good source it was so Brazilians can serve a mission before their mandatory military service. ...since we are starting rumors.

  • billypenn Meridian, ID
    Oct. 7, 2012 5:58 a.m.

    No way does Jabari Parket serve a mission, his missionary service is becoming the number 1 pick in the Nba draft It awesome two of the best athletes the other being Bryce Harper in the world are LDS

  • indycrimson Franklin, IN
    Oct. 7, 2012 5:40 a.m.

    Braxton, I am not sure a couch can influence a kid to sign! Now, a love seat? Maybe...but never a couch.

    Josey...please name your great source! If a prophet is a prophet...he is the intermediary for God right? Not Bronco! Or Holmoe! So I doubt your source.

    On the other hand, if God really wanted a better football team couldn't he just make one? If BYU is Gods team, wouldn't they win every game? My assumption is that the creator of all things finds football meaningless and worries about other things. Just a guess...call me zanny!!

    Your logic is flawed . Let us know who your great source is....we are dying to know

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2012 3:36 a.m.

    If Jabari Parker goes on a mission, he won't go straight to the pros afterwards. He is a high school phenom that needs some college ball to prove himself.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 1:55 a.m.

    @Wiley Old School

    Shawn Bradley should of come back for one more year to get in fit and work on his skill before entering nba. If Jabari do choose to serve then he would be wise to play college one or two years before entering nba. And would it make sense if he chooses to play one year college and then go on mission? If he did that then he should play another year of college to get back to his form. His best optons - 1. mission and 2 one or two year college OR 1. One year college and go nba.

    It is up to him as well to any young men/women what best for them when timing is right. I know that I would be nervous after my HS of what to do first. Some others may say its piece a cake. Timing matters that will fit in their lives.

    Other advantage to BYU, those major college more likely won't take those highly recuited hs kids when they finish their mission. Am I wrong or what?

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Oct. 7, 2012 12:37 a.m.

    To Wiley Old School: I think schools other than BYU and those in the state of Utah would generally not be interested in waiting 2 years for the young man to return home. They will not be able to have contact with the young man, except through his parents. I think they will look elsewhere. The exception is those that desire an out of Utah school. It may work out in some cases with those kids.

  • Wiley Old School RIC, VA
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:56 p.m.

    Also, if Jabari Parker decides that he does want to serve a mission, then this new option may mean he never plays college ball. (Goes straight to his mission after high school and then straight to the pros.) This new option means a mission would only need to delay his entry into the pros by one season instead of two.

  • Wiley Old School RIC, VA
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:52 p.m.

    This should make it easier for athletes to consider schools other than BYU and other schools to consider LDS athletes.

    Families should be much more comfortable sending their kid to a non-church school knowing they will have matured on their mission. Non-church schools will no longer need to deal with the complexities of fitting in a mission in between an athlete's four years of eligibility.

    What a great opportunity for spiritually mature LDS athletes to let their lights shine at other schools instead of "under the bushel" at BYU. (And this doesn't go just for athletes!)

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 11:45 p.m.

    I heard from a great source that this announcement was meant to help BYU athletics out. Better teams, more wins, equal more exposure for the church. It's a win/win.

  • Braxton ogden, ut
    Oct. 6, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    @3grandslams....on the contrary, missions have helped BYU and BYU allowing kids to transfer, like Riley, Wadsworth and Hill has harmed the LDS athletes in general. BYU should remind these athletes to be honest and true, to honor their commitments. How does this hurt the LDS Athletes? If you are a couch wanting to recruit a kid who wants to serve a mission you would have to worry if the kid will just transfer to BYU when they return. I would rather not deal with it and recruit else ware. I love this announcement. Way to go LDS Church.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Oct. 6, 2012 9:04 p.m.

    Yep, first thing I thought when I heard this announcement was, "Football, this is going to help a lot." However, it will make BYU younger overall so maybe they won't be able to compete...not! Truth is missions have always hurt BYU but they've dealt with it. This will help BYU get on even par with the competition.

    On a differerent note, the cheer and dance squad will have to deal with missionary service now like never before.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    Oct. 6, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    I would hope everyone's first question would be, "How will this new change impact the YOUNG MEN?"

    How will it impact BYU sports? That question should be way, waaaayy down the list, right above, "Is that really important?"

    This mission announcement is an awesome, amazing change that affects young men for the rest of their lives, providing options many may never have dared hope for.
    The impact of football isn't nearly as important--unless the poor kids get multiple concussions . . .