There has been an enormous amount of talk about the recent letter from LGBT groups to the Big 12 regarding BYU and one man is not surprised. Former Brigham Young University Athletic Director, Val Hale appeared on ESPN Wednesday and said that he saw something like this coming.
Andy Katz and Rick Klein host a podcast titled Capital Games and this week’s episode was all about the allegations made to the big 12 about BYU’s policies regarding LGBT individuals. In addition to Val Hale, Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson and Ashland Johnson of Athlete Ally joined the program.
The entire podcast is worth listening to as both hosts are unbiased and ask hard questions. Andy Katz is particularly familiar with BYU due to his covering of the WAC back in the 1990’s. He had this to say as they kicked off the show.
"What you have here is a private institution and certain things on campus are not allowed based on the Honor Code that you sign."
"When you enter into that school, you know that there are certain rules that you have to abide by even if you don't agree with them.... That doesn't mean that the Big 12 has to accept them."
In essentially two sentences, Andy Katz sums up this entire ordeal. While BYU has a right to institute its own rules based on the 1st amendment, that doesn't mean they're free from consequences.
One of those consequences may be being left out of the Big 12 and Val Hale saw this coming.
"I've always said the one thing that could derail this (joining the big 12) is something political. In terms of the criteria, BYU is a clear choice. This is one of those things that I had warned people about. I kind of anticipated it to come along."
Many have speculated that religion could be a speed bump for a long time but it's worth noting that a former A.D. at BYU predicted it.
But why was Val so confident that this could happen again? Well, because he's seen and lived it before.
"In 1994, Big 12 was taking about expansion for the first time and BYU's name came up prominently. Anne Richards, a Baylor graduate, was the governor of Texas at the time and she stated that if Baylor and Texas Tech were not included, Texas and Texas A&M would leave the conference.’’
‘‘BYU got bumped out. A political play, not necessarily an athletic play... I was afraid something like that would happen again.’’
Many of you reading this probably had no idea that this ever happened.
Val goes on to say that he wishes we would only make these decisions based upon athletics and academics and that sports has always been a place to get away from this stuff.
Amen Val, amen.