Just five days ago, BYU issued a press release that their all-time leading rusher Harvey Unga had withdrawn from school due to an Honor Code violation. There had been little indication of what Harvey's future plans were. Many suspected he would try to jump to the NFL by declaring for July's supplemental draft.
But in his press teleconference today, Bronco Mendenhall said:
"Harvey's first choice and what he is fighting diligently for and trying to express to the administration at BYU is that he wants to be back. This goes back to the decision he made to not declare for the draft and to stay at BYU. ...So that is his hope. That is his intent, and that is what he would like to do."
The matter is out of Mendenhall's hands however. The decision of whether Unga will be admitted back into school and on the team by fall is up to Vern Heperi, the dean of students at Brigham Young University.
It is very hard to say what will happen. But what should happen?
As a student at BYU, I know exactly what it is like to follow the Honor Code. All BYU students sign a document agreeing to not partake of alcohol, drugs, or participate in pre-marital sex.
All students know exactly what they are getting into. They know that if there is a serious violation of the honor code, their chances of being able to stay at the school, at least in the short term, are slim.
But Brigham Young University also strongly believes and teaches the principle of forgiveness.
I for one, would rather err on the side of forgiveness; for any student, not just a star athlete.
It seems that Unga was the one to come forward and admit to his mistake(s). That makes a huge difference to me.
He didn't get caught; Unga humbly came forward and admitted to something that would put his future livelihood in peril, and he did it for all the right reasons.
Unga is also only three classes away from graduating from college.
However, there are legitimate concerns about readmitting Unga. Some may fear that it sets a bad example for other students. Others may fear that it shows favoritism for a star athlete. Also, BYU wants to maintain their (relatively) pristine image.
To me, I say that since Unga is truly sorry, upholding the principle of forgiveness trumps those concerns. I say that he without sin should cast the first stone.
It will certainly not be an easy decision for BYU's dean of students.