BYU has decided that it will no longer comment on Honor Code issues unless they are a matter of public record or revealed by the individual, Cougar athletic director Tom Holmoe said Tuesday.
That means situations like the ones most prominently faced by Brandon Davies and Spencer Hadley will no longer have official university responses.
“Each Honor Code situation is unique and individual,” Holmoe said. “I know some people scoff at that but I’ve been a part of every one and that’s what they are.”
He talked about how the university decided this would be a universal policy, although athletes are some of the highest-profile students and thus are impacted more.
Holmoe said that if an individual brought it to the table, including through social media, then the university could comment.
“With the increase in social media and just the amount of media, the time had come to change that,” he said. “I’m happy with where we are at right now.”
The new policy regarding Honor Code violations was the biggest revelation of Holmoe's 45-minute press conference Tuesday, although he did say other things of note.
He also talked about how BYU would be ready to issue a stipend to athletes if that's the direction major college athletic departments took. He was unwilling to extensively discuss "paying players" since the implications of that are too varied.
“We are prepared to do what it takes to be competitive,” he said. “Others may not be able to do that and it could affect them in a big way. These things cost budget dollars.”
The Cougar athletic director talked about the possibility that some “non-Big-5” conference schools might have to waterdown their programs or even drop sports to remain competitive others and he worried about that impact, but he said BYU was willing to move forward.
Holmoe also talked extensively about Cougar football, including the recently-released 2014 schedule and the overall state of the program.
He said he liked the opponents the 2014 BYU gridiron squad will be facing, even though he said the schedule could be viewed as not being as difficult as last year’s schedule.
“That could be true but as an independent you can’t always get get things how you want them,” Holmoe said. “We worked with ESPN to enhance the schedule but things move a lot.”
He said flexibility is a benefit and a drawback because it leaves opening for matchups with a variety of opponents but that it also means shuffling goes on from both sides.
“Sometimes when I call, they say, ‘where are we moving to now?’” Holmoe said. “But I’ve also had schools call me and move games.”
He also said that while nothing has been finalized yet, he's confident BYU will have a bowl game tie-in in place particularly because of the contract the Cougars have with ESPN.
“We have a great relationship,” Holmoe said. “And it’s not just football. The position we have in the Maui Classic came because of their help. We’re moving forward and we’re happy how things are.”
But one area the BYU athletic director addressed was the need to continue to improve.
“Last year’s schedule showed that we needed to get bigger, faster and stronger,” he said. “In playing these teams, we saw how good we have to be. Our desire is to play with the biggest of the big boys.”
Holmoe also gave his opinion regarding a proposed rule that football teams could only snap the ball in the first 10 seconds of the play clock under strict guidelines.
“I’m opposed to that proposal,” he said. “I think it was politics designed to strengthen certain teams. I think the injury discussion is real but not in terms of this. It’s fortunate that the proposal has brought such bad publicity.”
Holmoe also answered other questions regarding the future of college football, including whether the current lull in alignment talk will last.
"I don't think it's done," he said. "It will be interesting to see how it goes."
He said he could see the big conferences separating and everyone having a championship game, but said if that happened he suspected it would be the final time for realignment.
Holmoe also talked about how while the teams must be aligned to school goals, at the end of the day it still comes down to getting the job done on the field and court.
"We are a results-driven society," he said. "But what I tell teams that are struggling is that the process is important. If the process works, then the results will follow."
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.