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War of words (cont.)

Posted: Friday February 1, 2008 1:18PM; Updated: Wednesday February 6, 2008 5:30PM
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Are you sure you want to sign with/vote for that guy? You know his school/he is Mormon, don't you?

Coaches at Brigham Young should understand the plight of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. He belongs to a faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that many voters don't understand, and he would have to clear up plenty of misconceptions if he wins the nomination. If he does, he should consult BYU coaches, who deal with those issues every year.

BYU is run by the Mormon church, and as such, players there must adhere to an honor code much stricter than any they would have to abide by at State U. Students at BYU are forbidden from consuming alcohol, even if they are of legal drinking age, or caffeine. Premarital sex can get a student expelled. Rival coaches have made sure to point out those facts to non-LDS players considering BYU, painting the school unfairly as a place where fun simply isn't allowed.

Rivals also have extra ammunition when recruiting against BYU for black players. The school's namesake preached more than 150 years ago that blacks were cursed because they were descendants of Biblical villain Cain. Blacks were also banned from the church's lay priesthood until 1978, when, according to a 2004 Salt Lake Tribune story, LDS church president Spencer Kimball announced he'd had a revelation to end the ban.

Why would you sign with/vote for that guy? He has no chance to win the national title/the presidency?

Republican candidates Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee can empathize with the coaches at every non-BCS conference school. Like the schools in the five non-BCS conferences, Paul and Huckabee have some passionately devoted supporters, but neither seems to have the sheer numbers or the mainstream appeal. Their opponents understand that. Coaches of BCS conference schools who clash with their non-BCS brethren for recruits feel the same way.

Case in point: Greenwood (Ark.) quarterback Tyler Wilson was surprised that no coaches ripped Bobby Petrino after Wilson switched his commitment from Tulsa to Arkansas in December. More surprising, the only negative recruiting Wilson could remember came when he committed to Tulsa in September. Wilson said he would have loved playing at Tulsa for offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and he only switched schools because he has wanted to play for the Razorbacks since birth. But before Arkansas entered the picture, one of the BCS-conference coaches recruiting Wilson couldn't believe Wilson would rather play in Conference USA than at a power-conference school.

"He had some choice words for me," Wilson said of one Big 12 coach, whom he declined to identify. Wilson said the coach wanted an explanation why Wilson would turn down a school with a feasible chance to compete for a national title to go to a school that probably would go only to the Liberty Bowl after winning a conference title. Wilson explained that he chose the school that fit his skill set and values.

Paul and Huckabee supporters, who probably will have to spend the next few months deciding who they'll vote for in the general election, would have been proud.

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