A Comment on the Suspension of then-BYU Receiver Cody Hoffmann A Few Years Ago
By Ken K. Gourdin
A few years ago, then-Brigham-Young-University football receiver Cody Hoffmann was suspended for a game for an unspecified violation of team rules. See Salt Lake Tribune coverage here (last accessed April 11, 2017): http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/cougars/56930560-88/hoffman-football-game-byu.html.csp. To someone who called BYU’s rules “nonsensical” (by implication, although he didn’t specify, he was probably referring to the school’s Honor Code, which forbids premarital sex, along with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs). I responded:
I’m just guessing, but since you think BYU’s rules are “nonsensical,” you probably didn’t go there, right? Similarly, nobody held a gun to Mr. Hoffmann’s head and forced him to commit to BYU or to attend once he did so. The rules are nonsensical? Fine. Don’t come here. There are plenty of other schools where that’s not a problem. The solution isn’t for BYU to “grow up” or to stop being “nonsensical” by bending its rules. There are plenty of schools which would be willing to soft-peddle alleged “rules” for people with Mr. Hoffmann’s talent. “That” happens all over college football. You’re welcome to your opinion that BYU should be just like a lot of other places, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
The poster doubled down on his criticism, adding the pejoratives “puritanical” and “childish.” When another poster asked, “What if Hoffmann’s violation related to academics?” this same poster responded that student-athletes are never suspended for a single game for such violations, I responded:
Evah, evah! No doubt, [this poster] has conducted an exhaustive survey of modern and historical practices relating to rule violations by student athletes (or has found such a survey which was conducted by someone else), and has found no such instance: not a single case in which a student athlete was suspended for a single game for any violation relating to academics. [This poster] has so spoken. What else needs to be said? Evah, evah!
This poster wrote that adolescents will be adolescents, and that, as such, inevitably, they will engage in such behavior as premarital sex. I responded:
You seem to be arguing out of both sides of your mouth: on the one hand, you say that student athletes aren’t mature enough to make a decision about where they should go to school (especially if such a decision might involve going to BYU, with its “puritanical and childish” rules); on the other hand, you say that Mr. Hoffmann is “too far along” in his college career to change that decision. Doesn’t the latter contention mean that he also should have been mature enough by now to know the consequences of violating the rules?
When the poster conceded that Hoffmann was mature enough to understand the consequences of violating the rules, I responded:
If he is mature enough by now to know the consequences of violating the rules (regardless whether he was mature enough to understand all of the consequences of committing to BYU when he made that decision) yet he still violated the rules, then we have to conclude one of the following: (a) as a “star” athlete, he figured the rules applicable to everyone else on the roster didn’t apply to him, so there would be no consequences; or (b) he violated the rules knowing that he might well face adverse consequences for doing so, but concluding that whatever short-term benefit he got from violating them was worth those consequences. In either case, I see no reason why he should escape sanction for whatever violation he committed.
Another poster excoriated the tactics recruiters use to lure non-LDS athletes to BYU, and I responded, “Well, then … If those alleged “tactics … is [sic] pretty well documented,” then I’ll welcome some documentation. (But don’t worry; I’m not on the edge of my seat, waiting with ‘bated breath!)”
Further commenting on BYU’s rules, I wrote:
Mr. Hoffmann knew the rules. He signed a contract to abide by them. If he did not wish to do so, there are numerous other programs in Division I (or whatever the heck it’s called now) to which he could have gone. Mr. Hoffmann is the one who needs to grow up. Hopefully this sanction will help him to do so.