Guest commentary: It’s OK if BYU fans want to pay for a church football team

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  • crackerjack Provo, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    I find it highly amusing that may I would criticize the church for its athletic program. No one ever raises their voice about this problem at Norte Dame, TCU, Baylor, USC. A little crazy is the world these days.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Aug. 20, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    That's right chris...Colorado is now your rival... right? You can tell by all the excitement that that game generates... How many fans have gone to see that game over the past 3 yeas? I think that the average somewhere around 30,000 if I'm not mistaken... In fact, Colorado has an average attendance at home of l than 30,000 which is last in the conference and among worst in Division I... The utes are in 8th or 9th position in attendance with an average gate of about 42,000 p/game...

    By those standards I guess you could say that the BYU vs Savannah State game this year will be hotter and a more interesting "rivalry" as I am sure that there will be about 30% More fans in attendance.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 12:33 p.m.


    No, making it the Holy War adds to the rivalry(for them, former rivalry for us). Their religion is very much a part.

  • oddman ,
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    Good dialogue. I get the feeling that emotions rather than facts drive many of the comments. Who has actual knowledge the effectiveness of the athletic programs or where the funding comes from? I, too, support the leaders of the church. I have trust in their leadership and follow them, even try to follow their 'suggestions and recommendations', not just their counsel and doctrine. While still striving to do better each day I never question the actions of the prophet nor criticize . That stated, in my opinion, BYU sports is self sustaining and claims that it is funded by the tithing funds is bogus. Yet despite being self funded it is profitable. I am proud to be a supporter of this wonderful entertainment.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2014 1:09 a.m.

    Okay, let us put tithing aside relative to BYU football. I look back at some of my comments trying to say why this would be a bad idea, but I have a hard time believing it would even be considered a legit idea by the head of the church. I mean we all know what tithing is for right?

    Anyway, there is a lot of money within the faith. I get the speculation on this topic based on the insane landscape of college football. But then again, here in the United States, we sure do worship our football. Don't get me wrong, I love my Utes, but the rivalry has gotten so tired with me even though I will miss it and want to play it. I just wish we all could gain some balanced perspective.

    The majority of comments on these forums that I have read over the years consist of a large percentage of inductive justifications by those wearing red and blue glasses. Take them off ans see the sun (light) more often ya'll.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:51 p.m.

    It's back to the old "Holy War", isn't it. That's a shame. Takes the fun out of the rivalry.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Aug. 19, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    @Go Utes
    Salt Lake City, UT

    "Most members of the church in the world never attend BYU and have no interest in BYU sports. So have a team, but it is not a "Church" team as the name of the article suggests."

    Umm, technically you maybe's not the Mormon Church's team per se, much like Notre Dame is "quote, unquote" not the Catholic Church's team. But, you know and I know that both the Mormon and Catholic churches fully own and support the institutions that sponsor those teams. Thus, they are in reality their teams.

    Btw, I also disagree that the majority of the worldwide membership of the Church do not support BYU or it's athletic programs. Most, if not all supports the Prophet who has the final say on everything BYU and thus most all support BYU. You and others like you have chosen to be a vocal opposition to everything BYU as far as I'm concern. But that's just my opinion which I also know doesn't mean a hill o beans to any of you. Good day!

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    The thing about taxes subsidizing football programs in this: The State of Utah makes money off Utah football by way of tourism. The U published a report a year or two back that polled fans of visiting PAC-12 teams and they overwhelmingly had a positive experience here and planned to take a return trip. This is good for the state, and for the LDS church since many tourists take time to check out the Temple while they're here. The state makes some money, the church gets exposure.


  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 4:52 p.m.


    Don't pretend that you know everything about how many dollars are brought into the LDS church nor where those dollars all come from. The church doesn't open their books to the public so very few of us have a clue, we're only left to speculate... which is EXACTLY what you're doing.

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 4:16 p.m.

    Go Utes, you're right, its not a church team. Its just a college team that church leaders have chosen to field, as others have pointed out.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:58 p.m.


    Thanks for your story. I imagine that if there were not hundreds of stories, or more, like yours, the church would not care as much about having sporting programs at the Y. I went to the U during the Steve Young era. Although he went to my rival, I have nothing but respect for the player and the man. The inroads someone like Young can make for the church is incalculable. Of course, Young did not have to go to BYU to be able to be such on influence for the church, but it did help in his case.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    to cougarsrock

    I'll start when you do. Deal?

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    to Old But Not Stupid

    Then, why did you get the 2nd advanced degree if the 1st go around was less then wonderful?

    I will continue to use the *observation* about 'research institutions' until its ceases being funny. Trust me, it hasn't yet.

    to Duckhunter earlier this afternoon...You do realize how ironic it would be for 50 E N Temple to endorse a secular game? Kinda like the early Christians placing ads in the Roman Colosseum?

    This institution you call a church sounds more like a business. DYK; Checks for voluntary contributions are endorsed by the 'Corporation of the President'?

  • cougarsrock Springville, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    Do you have something of fact to post ?????????

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:03 p.m.

    The BYU football team is not a "church" team. It is a college team. I am a life-long Mormon, love the Church, pay tithing, serve (a lot) in the Church, married in the temple, etc. I have no desire to affiliate with the BYU football team. While there may be some Mormons in Utah who like it and will always preach about its supposed virtues, know that most members of the church in the world are uninterested in BYU and its sports teams. I am not saying the school should not have a team. But it is not a "church" team. Most members of the church in the world never attend BYU and have no interest in BYU sports. So have a team, but it is not a "Church" team as the name of the article suggests.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    @motortrike and other bitter utah "fans"

    You guys realize that the LDS church has money, billions and billions of dollars actually, that do not come from tithes don't you? That is right, the church has a massive business arm that earns billions of dollars that have nothing to do with tithing, fast offerings, or any other voluntary contribution from its members.

    If the church leaders desired to use some of that money for BYU athletics then why shouldn't they? I'm not saying they do because we all know BYU athletics is self supporting, but if they did then so what? If they feel that the athletic program at BYU is valuable enough to use other resources to promote and grow it then it really is no business at all of yours.

    But then of course that is a moot point, as is your whining about tithing and such. The facts are these, BYU athletics not only support themselves they turn a profit. You, as an avowed hater make yourself and your opinions on the subject of no value. Your bias and hate eliminate your opinions from consideration on these matters because they are all based on hate.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 2:37 p.m.


    Agreed, that means our taxes should not support athletics at the state universities. Football has become completely commercialized and in the market place a nonessential commodity (college athletics) must not receive tax revenue.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 2:32 p.m.


    patriot does have his head in the sand, he is trying to make claims about something he has no personal knowledge about and his claims are in direct contrast to the statements made publicly, and reported in print and on tv, by the BYU officials that are in charge of the athletic program.

  • But seriously folks! Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    Due to the greed of a few conferences the whole landscape of college sports will change and as a result title IX will probably go away. The greed of the so-called p5 schools is very saddening.
    On the bright side I can see hundreds of law suits against the NCAA and the P5 schools as they create their own laws and rules. This is just like the Obama administration wanting to do their own thing regardless of what is good for the whole.

    The utes will also be gobbled up by the big players in the conference and they will be spit out in a few years. Write it down.

  • stevan madrigal murray, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    Ah, little brother, we hardly knew thee.

  • Cougar Files Roosevelt, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Lifelong Ute
    I appreciate your level-headed analysis. I just gained respect for a Ute fan. I know it is unjust to lump all of the fans of any institution together (I certainly have been appalled at times by the comments of alleged BYU fans), but I have been deeply troubled by the vitriol leveled not just at BYU, but at the Church, by "fans" of the U of Utah. I get that many faithful members of the Church do not root for BYU sports. Utah fans are not alone, but perhaps the most affected as BYU is their rival. Most of my family would and have rooted for Texas A&M when they match up with BYU in athletics. Interestingly, at least one of my brothers and my Dad have made contributions to the general fund at BYU and to BYU athletics. It may be difficult to separate our passions about a particular team from a rival team that happens to be representing the flagship university of our religion, but I have seen it done.

  • Lifelong Ute Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    @well informed.

    My comments are very simple. I think in order to be in good standing with the church and good LDS member one should support the Prophet and his decisions. If you were not aware, he is the Chairman of the Board of BYU and with one phone call could end the BYU football program. He, like all past prophets in my lifetime, have kept the BYU football program.

    There are some people who claim to be active LDS people on these boards saying the church should end byu sports, football in particular. I'm saying that I support President Monson because I believe him to be a prophet. If he feels BYU should have a football program - I support him.

    I know you tried putting words in my mouth and spinning my comments but there was nothing ambiguous about my comments. President Monson supports BYU having athletics program - if he didn't, he would have ended them. President Hinckley supported having them - if he didn't he would have ended them. And I support what my prophet decides. Sorry(actually no I'm not) if that bothers you.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    Aug. 19, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    Salt Lake City, UT

    "It'd be really ironic were byu to give up football and became a major research institution thus "qualifying" for the P12[.]"

    Please, Pendergast, give that point of argument a rest.

    I earned two graduate degrees from UCLA, one of your "major research institutions." I am NOT IMPRESSED with major research institutions which unfortunately now includes the U of U.

  • Lifelong Ute Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 12:09 p.m.


    You're certainly entitled to your opinion that tithing shouldn't go to sports - but similar arguments could be made about taxes and forcing taxpayers to subsidize Utah athletics, which we currently do.

    Its also a slippery slope to say that because church leaders in the past have made mistakes and because they are human we're perfectly fine disagreeing with them - if that's the case I could call myself a devout Mormon and convince myself I'm in great standing with the church and God even though I disagree with 100% of what the prophet does - after all, maybe he's wrong about it all.

    All I'm saying is for me - I'm going to support President Monson.

    If President Monson thinks BYU should have a football program - I support that. If he ever closes the football program - I likewise will support that. I'd rather support him 100% rather than pick and choose when I support the prophet and use the weak and dangerous argument that "they are human so its ok if I don't support them because maybe they are wrong" I'm ashamed of Mormons who use that embarrassingly bad excuse.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    Aug. 19, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    Brave Sir Robin
    San Diego, CA

    "...Like it or not, sports bring out the worst in people (look at these message boards, for example)....not the image you want to project if you're trying to be successful in missionary work." Or represent your state and its populace with honor and dignity---I would add.

    Yet, as a fellow Californian, on these boards I get to witness from a distance some of the worst bigotry and anti-religion sentiments from secular folks who seem all to eager to share their worst and darkest sides.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    Aug. 19, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    Salt Lake City, UT

    "States are not considering paying JUST their football players. They are considering paying ALL their athletes, including men's and women's basketball, women's gymnastics, women's softball, men's baseball, etc."

    Sooner, your entire post misses the point. "It's the subsidies..." of state university athletics (only 25 programs are in the black!) that we as taxpayers really HATE. Doesn't matter if were just football or ALL sports. The immoral disconnect remains.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    So we have many of the usual utah "fans" hoping for the demise of BYU athletics, opining about "their" tithing dollars, etc.

    Here is what I find pathetic about most of them. They hate BYU. It really is that simple. They made a decision in life to like a different schools athletics and because that school competes with, and loses more times than not in most sports to BYU, they hate it. But still, despite that hate, they feel a sense of entitlement to call for the ending of the athletic program at BYU. They are conflicted between their hate for BYU, one of the most visible and important institutions in the church they belong to, and their membership in the church. So in a desperate attempt to end the angst they feel over hating one of the churches most important programs run by one of the most institutions the church owns they call for its demise. They selfishly believe this would ease their tortured spirits because they would no longer have to hate this great institution.

    Get over it on you own, the problem is yours not BYU's.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    to cougarsrock

    Who has their head in the sand? Hint: Its not patriot.

    It'd be really ironic were byu to give up football and became a major research institution thus "qualifying" for the P12

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    TitleIX solved: (simple economics)

    Paychecks to students are simply a portion of the revenue the sport brings in. Teams that are operating in the red will have the cost made up by the athletes themselves.

  • Taysom4Heisman Heber City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin

    "The difference is, one is effective and one isn't. The missionary program brings 250k people into the church every year. BYU athletics doesn't."

    I assume you personally know every single one of those 250k people? And that every single one said that BYU athletics didn't play a part?

    That's what I thought.

    I personally know about 10 people who first got interested in the church because of BYU football and were later converted. They watched the football games, saw the BYU commercials, and became interested in what BYU stood for.

    Of course, after that they needed to contact the missionaries and go much further than just watching football games. But football got them interested.

    And I'm sure the 10 people I know aren't the only people on the planet who have this experience every year. I bet there are hundreds if not more.

    BYU Football alone doesn't bring people into the church. But it certainly gets them interested and is very effective when it works alongside missionaries, general conference, etc.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    If the church can build shopping centers and condos in downtown SLC, I think it's okay for BYU to run a self-sustaining athletic department.

  • Christine B. Hedgefog Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    "So though another poster on this thread mentioned that he/she would have no problem with tithing dollars going to BYU football, myself and others might strongly disagree."

    Good thing it doesn't matter one whit how strongly motorbike, I, or anybody else agree or disagree with tithing dollars going to BYU football. The only say you (we) have is whether or not to pay tithing.

    As opposed to having no choice on paying taxes to subsidize the red tape athletic programs up on the hill.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    Go Utes, CA

    "By comparison, 10 million people viewed youtube video of BYU fans dumping garbage on officials after a BYU loss. "

    Or one Utah fan watched it 10 million times.

    I happen to agree that BYU fans' behavior is sometimes less than exemplary, made all the more embarrassing because we SHOULD do better. I have never had anyone ask me to be baptized because of the BYU license plate ring on my car or the BYU hat in my window. Neither have I, ever, had anyone complain to me about BYU or the church because of an athlete's or or a fan's behavior. Never.

    I have had many discussions about BYU athletics in general, and athletes in particular, which have created opportunities for me to talk about my church life with people. As such, for me at least, BYU football has been a better missionary tool than Facebook or the LDS media.

    Although several of my coworkers are regular recipients of links and short messages regarding some of the cool media releases too.

  • aktrout Anchorage, AK
    Aug. 19, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    Mr. Welch, it is not "Your Tithing" by the very definition of tithing it cannot be "Your Tithing."

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 2:09 a.m.


    I'll answer your question. Probably all of the non-LDS who attended the fireside the night before the game. But even if it was only one person, the Lord would rejoice that one more of his chosen had come home.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Aug. 19, 2014 1:28 a.m.

    @utemiguel and motorbike...

    Whether y'all like it or not, the existence of BYU's Sports Programs (especially Football) has been called a strong Missionary tool for the church... It's understandable that die hard ute fans and deep red BYU haters like yourselves don't think that it is a Missionary Tool...As I understand it, BYU's move to Independence was predicated on more exposure Nation Wide in order to drive up Brand Recognition... Thus the fancy TV studios, the Espn Partnership that requires mid week night games... etc.

    You would have problems with tithing money going to help these programs? I can understand that, because I have a huge problem with my tax dollars going to prop up an underperforming ute football program... (it would be okay with me if that tax wasting program went away) But I have no choice, do I? I just want to make sure we publicize the names of the Legislators who make that decision for us.


    Sunday play will never be a reason to exempt BYU from the playoffs... That would be a huge Religious Discrimination problem... That's probably why you don't see it in March Madness...

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 18, 2014 11:45 p.m.

    @Lifelong Ute

    Yes tithing is voluntary, but I don't think 'football money' should be included here. Tithing involves faith and generosity, but to have it be an all encompassing and endless support fund for every branch of activity that is connected with the church, especially if it's not directly connected relative to core issues of faith will be to controversial in my opinion. BYU is a church school but I don't need to support it and have a testimony of it to be worhty to go to the temple and be exalted on high. I know some BYU fans think Bronco leads 'God's Army' on the gridiron, but it's only football. And those Americans around the country (think SEC) that think football is a religion, or those that think Sunday is a day for the 'First Church of the NFL' shouldn't proselytized to with football as their salvation via BYU and the church. That would be an oxymoron concept.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 11:39 p.m.

    Lifelong Ute

    "Any LDS person who thinks they know better than the prophet as to what's best had better think again. I know you specifically didn't mention you think byu sports should end, (but) many lds ute fan have on these boards. "

    You're right, I certainly didn't say anything about bringing an end to BYU sports, that would actually be a huge bummer. That said, I certainly stand behind the comment that no tithing should ever go toward BYU athletics and I also have serious doubts that BYU football is that great of a missionary tool.

    I also suggest keeping in mind that prophets are still human. We've seen several recent announcements admitting that mistakes have been made by past Presidents of the LDS church. I'm not saying BYU football is a mistake but questioning our church leaders on subjects we disagree with is not an evil practice, despite what so many church members seem to think.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 18, 2014 11:29 p.m.

    Tax payer dollar considerations force people to pay for many things they often don't support. Expanded stadiums and Olympic projects have been issues before in the sports world. When we shift to BYU and a football tithing fund concept (whatever that even is or might be), we won't have everybody on the same page either. The church is concerned with this.

    Money put towards the mission of the church is always an ongoing issue, but members have proven to be supportive historically relative to their contributions. That said, despite the popularity of BYU football, a large chunk of church membership doesn't consider a dominant BYU football team a core church issue. As a whole, the majority of church members have no interest in paying for BYU football. This is especially true outside the country and around the world. Now, don't think I am saying that is what they will have to eventually do. I am saying that creative ways to support the football program is already being considered/discussed. How much is football deemed to be a missionary tool? And how competitive does the church want to be here if its' existence continues is not clear.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 18, 2014 11:25 p.m.

    Now this is opens up a can of flawed worms. Although athletics and the use of tax payer dollars have long been an issue of intense conversation around the country. College ball is now chasing the pro game to a level where it is striving get on the same financial race track albeit with a handicap so to speak. To some extent the gap is decreasing. However the funds are definitely rising.

    How does all of this affect BYU? It's hard to say. This article, to say the least throws out new considerations, which is more tolerable, if not more confusing than the usual 'Power 5' autonomy jargon.

    How will BYU play the money distribution game? Will they even choose to do so? Moral questions can't be side stepped and everybody won't be satisfied regardless what is decided on. Shutting down the football program would be a shame, but that seems a somewhat of a stretch to me. How competitive will BYU and the church choose to be?

  • Taysom4Heisman Heber City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 11:18 p.m.

    @Lifelong Ute

    "At the end of the day - I'm ok the state and university do this, but its no less wrong for a church school to do so either."

    I agree that it's wrong for taxes/tithing to support athletics. The difference is, utah's athletics are supported by taxes, while absolutely no tithing money supports BYU's athletics. To be honest, I think taxes need to stop going to sports.

    With the nation going in debt as much as it is, our country needs to change our mindset and live within our means. Athletic programs should sustain themselves with their own revenue and booster donations, but all donations should be voluntary. This is how BYU operates.

    I can't wait for the day that all these schools plunging themselves into debt finally collapse and have their programs fall apart. Then BYU will rise above them.

    History has shown (and this isn't just in sports) that those who don't live within their means and don't play within the rules will ultimately fail. Doing things the right way eventually pays off.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    Aug. 18, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    I disagree with the idea that BYU football is overall a good missionary tool. I'm sure it has generated some good missionary outcomes, but no evidence suggests that it does more good than harm. Maybe 1 or 2 million BYU fans (almost entirely already LDS) watch most BYU football games. It isn't clear to me what missionary benefit comes from that.

    By comparison, 10 million people viewed youtube video of BYU fans dumping garbage on officials after a BYU loss. Hundreds of thousands of non-members in Oklahoma watched on TV as BYU fans in the Delta Center relentlessly taunted and booed a young returned missionary who happened to play for the opposing team. A business contact from Texas told me how disgusted he was by his treatment at the hands of BYU fans in Provo last fall.

    How many non-LDS SDSU fans do you think called the local missionaries to ask for a Book of Mormon after the bowl game between BYU and SDSU a few years ago?

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    Aug. 18, 2014 9:59 p.m.

    Do you really have to ask why the "moral implications" should be considered when it is a church school? The church proclaims that tithing is the Lord's money and that people all around the world are commanded to pay tithing. I think it is fair to consider the moral implications of why the tithing money of a struggling Filipino family should be used to pay football players so that BYU fans can feel like their program is keeping up with the Miamis and USCs of the world.

    What really irked me about this article was the statement that it is ok for "BYU fans" to pay for a football program. What makes you think BYU fans are the only people that pay tithing?

  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    Aug. 18, 2014 9:56 p.m.

    I say BYU should have the highest paid coach in the nation. If utah pays their athletes 5,000 then BYU should pay theirs 7,000. Then as Cougar fans we can thank the ALUF's for their support of BYU Sports.

  • well informed Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 9:39 p.m.

    @ Lifelong Ute.......

    Very interesting comment. Are you somehow suggesting that in order to be a good member of the church one needs to support BYU Athletics? I hope you weren't serious.

  • kfbob SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    @Brave Robin.

    My wife joined the church in the 1980's because of BYU sports. Some of her family also joined. We have 5 kids that are all members of the church (and a grandchild). So in essence because she joined the church 10 people are now members. Three of my children have served missions (I expect that all 5 will probably go). I know that they have had several convert baptisms and have planted many seeds in 3 foreign countries, so the total is now upwards of 20 people that have joined because of BYU sports. Not to count all the seeds that have been planted. How many will be members within another generation from one person's decision to join the LDS faith? 100? 200? Please don't tell me that BYU sports are not a missionary tool, this one small example proves otherwise.

  • TGH Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    I cannot understand all of these comments asking whether BYU can afford to continue with college athletics. I think the better question is can they afford not to? The athletic program makes money!

    BYU is one of around 25 athletic programs out there that are self sustaining. Self sustaining, meaning not a nickel of tax, tithing, or tuition pays for it. The revenue of ticket sales, tv contracts, etc outweighs the expense of the athletic program.

    A large majority of athletic programs out there are losing money. This includes Utah and Utah State. When the time comes to start paying players, if that is what it comes down to, Utah and Utah State and most others out there are going to be forced to go deeper into the red to fund their programs. Where are these additional funds going to come from? Taxes? Tuition increase? Cuts to other university expenses?

    When autonomy brings new cost to college sports, don't worry about BYU and the other 25 or so programs that make money. Worry about the Utes, and the Aggies that are losing money.

  • Mark321 Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 8:12 p.m.

    @ RG

    "I don't really know how much BYU football does for missionary work"

    There are others like who wonder what BYU football does for missionary work. I can tell you that it's not what they do on the field it's off the field. It's the firesides which attract and pack chapels wherever BYU football goes. Yes, I do realize that the majority who attend are members but many non-members are invited and show up to. It's cases like the Spencer Hadley experience when BYU went to the Draper prison last year and a great spiritual experience happened there. There are other examples that would make this comment too long but you get my drift. The church leadership really likes the way the BYU football team goes out and serve, not so much there on the field play. Tom Holmoe and Cecil Samuelson were brilliant to use BYU athletics in this way. I can tell you the church leadership certainly smiles when they know that the BYU football team are doing these things. I don't foresee it stopping any time soon.

  • DrUte Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 7:51 p.m.

    It's called "Microeconomics" - the study of the allocation of limited resources versus competing priorities for those limited resources. And it's Serious Business.

    Given the projected $20M - $30M annual payday (or greater, depending on bowl shares, et al) for P5 teams that has been factually reported in multiple media outlets, there is clearly a fundamental ginormous economic advantage that will provide P5 teams with resources that will ultimately result in a shift in the very tectonic plates of collegiate sport.

    Why? Multiply that annual advantage over the next five, ten, or fifteen years. What does that equate to --- $150M, $300M, $450M? More?

    The debate is over. The New P5 World is now reality.

    We only await the results of the financial exsanguination for those who either cannot or choose not to keep up the pace.... A challenge worthy of Brother Sisyphus.

    --- Good luck out there. This will be a tough one.

  • Lifelong Ute Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 6:10 p.m.


    Whether the reason for having byu athletics and specifically football have to do with missionary work partly, fully, or none at all, this much is certain: president Thomas Monson supports BYU having a football team. If he didnt, the program would end today. Same holds true of past prophets as they also were the chairman of the board of BYU.

    Any LDS person who thinks they know better than the prophet as to what's best had better think again. I know you specifically didn't mention you think byu sports should end, by many lds ute fan have on these boards.

    As for me, I'll support whatever our prophet does. And since he hasn't ended the byu football program, which he is more than capable of doing, I'll support how our church leaders decide to run BYU and BYU sports.

    An I suggest all Mormons do the same.

  • 81Ute Central, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 5:51 p.m.


    "Independence is the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints has operated from the beginning and in the probable event that financial and social chaos erupts, BYU will be in a very enviable position."

    That is vry comforting that BYU can be national champs again knowing everybody else will forfiet when armeggedon arrives.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 5:45 p.m.

    Christopher B
    "SoonerUte - BYU, however, unlike the state schools, could choose to just pay their football players. You are incorrect that they would have to pay for gymnastics and softball as well."

    Since BYU has a Title IX Coordinator, I presume Title IX applies to BYU.

    NY Times Mar 22, 2014:
    Under Title IX, the total amount of financial aid available to male and female athletes must be “substantially proportionate” to their overall participation rates. Paychecks would presumably be held to the same standard. If, for instance, a court ordered a university to give a share of its television revenue to male players, an equitable percentage would have to flow to female athletes.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 5:22 p.m.

    With the precarious situation we have in the US with our mounting debt and instability of the dollar around the world, things can change overnight and all the big dreams of being in a big 5 conference might be a moot point.

    I know of no better situation to be in than independence for BYU football or all BYU athletics for that matter. No other university in the world has more wide footprint and reach as BYU.

    Independence is the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints has operated from the beginning and in the probable event that financial and social chaos erupts, BYU will be in a very enviable position.

    That's why we sustain the first presidency and Quorum of the twelve as prophets and seers.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Aug. 18, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    I don't really know how much BYU football does for missionary work, but I think perhaps motorbike might be correct. BYU football might make people aware of the church but I hope no one is baptized just because BYU has a winning season. (Baptism is good, but only for the right reasons!) I remember 1 or 2 years ago an article, I believe right here in the DN about a fight between BYU players during a pre-season scrimmage, and the assistant coaches were ecstatic because the fight showed that the players had spirit and passion. If BYU coaches think that fighting represents the gospel of Christ, I think they are misled. Personally, I think universities ought to be emphasizing academics more than sports and budgets ought to reflect that.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    I talked about this issue 3 plus years ago and was laughed to scorn by many of the ute posters. I said then that most of the public schools and even some of the private universities that belong to the PAC 12 and other P5 conferences would be squeezed to death by bonded debt in the frenzied rush to mortgage themselves with the expectations of future revenue from large television deals.

    Most of the public universities in the PAC 12 have bonded themselves and the tax payers except for Utah, Colorado and maybe Oregon for up to 30 years and up to 75-100 million dollars. I believe a significant, if not all of the new football facility at Utah was a gift from the Eccles family. However, with the talk of a new stadium, the situation will change from endowments to debt in a big hurry.

    Bronco Mendenhall was exactly right when he suggested that only those schools that run their programs from a debt free and profitable position should break away from the current NCAA outline. I believe he said that only 15-16 programs for sure meet that criteria but may be as many as 25.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 18, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    @Herbert Gravy

    "What is the difference between spending money on the missionary program and spending money on BYU athletics. Isn't the end objective the same?"

    The difference is, one is effective and one isn't. The missionary program brings 250k people into the church every year. BYU athletics doesn't. Aside from the occasional non-LDS athlete who joins the church while at BYU, you can't name a single person who joined the church because of BYU sports. But there are lots of people - I can name several I've met - who say they will never join the church because of the actions of BYU players and fans during sports contests. Like it or not, sports bring out the worst in people (look at these message boards, for example)....not the image you want to project if you're trying to be successful in missionary work.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 4:41 p.m.

    Is BYU football really a good missionary tool? Being LDS myself I'd argue that it does as much harm as it does good. So though another poster on this thread mentioned that he/she would have no problem with tithing dollars going to BYU football, myself and others might strongly disagree.

  • CanuckFan Vancouver, BC
    Aug. 18, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    BYU's football does and will continue to enjoy a financial surplus. I'd be more worried if I was amongst the greater than 75% of football programs that currently run a deficit and will have to indirectly beg taxpayers for more money.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    SoonerUte - BYU, however, unlike the state schools, could choose to just pay their football players. You are incorrect that they would have to pay for gymnastics and softball as well.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 18, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    "....The last thing the LDS Church needs to be operating is a quasi-professional football team....”
    - Brad Roick

    Kind of late for a sports writer to come to that realization. NCAA football has long been essentially semi-pro and virtually everyone knows it, including the LDS Church.

  • sky2k1 Provo, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    This was actually a level-headed and thought out column about what could possibly happen at BYU. No blatant homerism or doomsday prophecies. Nice change. I'm part of the crowd who doesn't care that athletes can get paid. I don't think this will ruin the sport any more than the BCS and NCAA had in the last 5-10 years. And hopefully this would eliminate situations like the U getting in trouble because Coach Majerus took a kid to dinner after his dad died.

  • Mark321 Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    College football moving to Sunday play? What proof is there that will happen? It sounds ridiculous to me in a business stand point. College football will be competing with the NFL when it comes to attracting eyeballs on TV and we know who will win that battle. College football will lose money moving to Sundays. Saturdays will give them the most profit. Suggesting Sunday play is point without merit. BYU has nothing to worry about in this area.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    Gregory Welch "Why is it OK for states across the nation to consider paying more to their university football team’s players?"

    States are not considering paying JUST their football players. They are considering paying ALL their athletes, including men's and women's basketball, women's gymnastics, women's softball, men's baseball, etc.

    "If fans of BYU want to pay for their football team, what’s wrong with that?"
    Nothing -- as long as fans ALSO pay for basketball, gymnastics, softball... and BYU can only do that if their conference (WCC) chooses that path.

  • WA_Alum&Dad Marysville, WA
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    Yes there are certainly BYU haters who gorge their fantasies with thoughts of BYU sports dying, but I think the real reason many Ute fans would love to see BYU drop sports is because they consider it would help in the recruiting battle, with all those state-of-Utah and LDS athletes who now choose BYU. The U certainly needs something to compete in the recruiting battle with all the other PAC schools.

    And I state again for the umpteenth time that this plan to take collegiate sports even more into the quasi-professional realm is a terrible idea. On this path, in 10 years the NCAA will have killed college sports for everyone.

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    The Alamo is still standing and I don't think College Football is going anywhere either!

  • Hoosier87 American Fork, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:57 p.m.

    There is NO CHANCE that BYU drops sports - it's almost silly to suggest that.

    Now I imagine our Ute friends will all harp on closing down the sports program - but that's because they hate BYU and not because they are being sincere. Honestly, the idea is without merit.

    As a booster of BYU, I know for a fact that as far as missionary tools the church has, the top three are as follows:

    1. General Conference
    2. Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    3. BYU Sports (mainly football)

    Again, there is NO CHANCE that they discontinue sports at BYU. IF anything, I think they'll promote it even more.

    Rest assured my Ute friends, BYU will be here long term!

  • CougarSunDevil Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:51 p.m.


    "Does it serve the Church or the school to have a mediocre program?"

    Using this same logic, does it serve the state of Utah to have a mediocre program, because that's what UofWho is. Inconsistent at best and lucky for two years at worst. When decisions are actually made, then teams can react, but until then, to ring the death knell for a program is not only desperate, but ridiculous.

  • RepresentBlue West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    The only people predicting the imminent demise of the BYU athletics program are the haters who have personal fantasies about that happening. NOBODY else is talking like this in any way likely to occur. On the contrary, BYU is investing more and more in the exposure of its athletics programs as time goes on. Will they be able to keep up with the P5 conferences? Perhaps not, but this does not mean they are going to throw it all away and demolish LES or the MC, as much as the haters would love to see that happen. BYU fans will be singing "Rise and Shout, the Cougars are out on the trail to fame and glory!" for many years to come.

    Aug. 18, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    Reply to Patriot:
    I think your imminent or eventual decline of the BYU football program would elate Ute fans everywhere, but it is not happening. The BYU Football program is here to stay and will not be derailed by changes in the system.
    Sunday play is the LAST thing that will be a concern. BYU is not the only school with morals left and the system will accommodate this. As far as not competing nationally--BYU has tens of thousands of recruiters going two by two worldwide that will ensure the pipeline of great players to the BYU sports programs will continue.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:28 p.m.

    Is anybody else un-okay with a call to do something, like discontinue BYU's football program, based on unprovable hypotheses about what may or may not happen in the future?

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    What is the difference between spending money on the missionary program and spending money on BYU athletics. Isn't the end objective the same?

  • cougarsrock Springville, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:13 p.m.

    If you actually really believe the comment you just made , you surely have your head buried in the sand.I can assure you BYU football is going nowhere but onward and upward moving forward. In fact you will hear news regarding this in the near future that Y haters like you are not going to like.

  • Ltrain St. George, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    It's time for state's to stop the subsidizing of athletic programs now. We need that money going to student scholarships to help with the cost of getting an education. I thought that is what a University is for. I agree with the writer on everything but one statement. If the church leaders want to use my tithing money for BYU sports, I would support that. It is a good missionary/ PR tool for the church. I freely pay tithing and the church has shown that they are responsible with the use of those "sacred" dollars. The government has never shown that it is responsible with my taxes. I do not freely pay that, but I am forced to do it. I already pay way too much and do not want to continue to subsidize olympic sports.

  • Lifelong Ute Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    "Why is it OK for states across the nation to consider paying more to their university football team’s players, but once the discussion shifts to a church-owned school, top-level football has to go because of the moral implications of it all?"

    As a Mormon Ute fan, I agree 100%. If its wrong for a church to subsidize athletics and use the tithes of their members to do so, its also wrong for a state to do so using while having the burden on the taxpayers.

    I'd say its even MORE wrong for a state school to do so, as tithes are voluntary, taxes are not.

    And YES, taxpayers are subsidizing the athletics programs at the U. Anyone who thinks otherwise has their head in the clouds. The university has to subsidize our athletics department because revenues from athletics are less than their expenses.

    At the end of the day - I'm ok the state and university do this, but its no less wrong for a church school to do so either.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    college football is changing and BYU won't be able to justify playing much longer. That is a fact. There is strong talk of sunday play with the new playoff system and that will only increase as the playoffs expand. The fact that the Y can't get into a conference is also a big deal since survival is really dependent on getting into a conference. BYU is not Notre Dame and can't continue much longer as an independent. The program will decline quickly so I suspect the general authorities have to weigh in the fact that what good is a football program that can't compete nationally anymore.Does it serve the Church or the school to have a mediocre program? My guess is the answer will eventually be no.

    It was fun while it lasted - especially from 1977 to 2010.