Will the U. Go Mormon?

April 27, 2004 | 26 comments
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The University of Utah is currently in the midst of a search for a new president. They have narrowed it down to two potential candiates and one of them is . . . Michael Young. Young is a graduate of Harvard Law School, a former law professor at Columbia, and current dean at George Washington University Law School. He is also a BYU graduate, an active Mormon and a former stake president.

Since BYU now has a former Ute as its president, will the U. return the favor by hiring a former cougar? Would both presidents be allowed to root for their alma maters at Utah’s annual football jihad . . . er . . . grudge match.

What is happening to the Beehive state?!?

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26 Responses to Will the U. Go Mormon?

  1. Adam Greenwood on April 27, 2004 at 4:24 pm

    Mormonism must be losing its scarymaking mojo. Maybe we need to kidnap some young British women or something.

  2. Gordon Smith on April 27, 2004 at 5:56 pm

    Nate, I found stories where they report being down to three. See http://www.utah.edu/unews/releases/04/apr/finalists.html and http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595059088,00.html. Did one of these three already drop out?

  3. John David Payne on April 27, 2004 at 5:57 pm

    Who cares who they root for? The way I hear it, the football rivalry may not go on much longer, since BYU may ditch their football team. Ricks ditched theirs when they switched over to BYU-Idaho, despite a long and proud tradition. Maintaining a football program costs a TON of money, and that’s not counting the additional money spent on a women’s team in order to stay Title IX compliant. And then there’s all these young men who come to BYU from non-church backgrounds, resulting in a series of honor code-related scandals. BYU’s new coach is having a lot of trouble putting up Ws, some of it perhaps due to recruiting problems inherent to the nature of the institution. So now would be a good time to ditch the team, since they’re not doing well…

    [And now, commence the flaming!]

  4. Nate Oman on April 27, 2004 at 6:00 pm

    Gordon: You are right. There are three finalists not two. My mistake. (I was going off Lieter who noted that there were two law professor finalists.)

  5. Gordon Smith on April 27, 2004 at 6:03 pm

    John, There is no need to flame this idea because it is so absurd. The last President of BYU proclaimed that he wanted all of the sports teams to be ranked in the Top 20 nationally, and BYU put a lot of resources into making that happen. (So far, the results are really showing in Women’s Cross Country and Men’s Volleyball!) The university just built a new indoor practice facility (with private donations) and everything points in the other direction from ditching the team. As a University of Chicago alum, I have some sympathy for de-emphasizing sports, but I just can’t bring myself to give up on BYU sports. I enjoy it too much.

  6. brayden on April 27, 2004 at 6:11 pm

    BYU will not ditch their football team. John, have you actually heard this rumor from a credible source or is it speculation on your part?

  7. danithew on April 27, 2004 at 6:49 pm

    BYU football will go on forever and ever, into the eternities. Or at the very least, BYU football will continue until all its players are caught breaking the Honor Code. :)

    And yes, I still remember McMahon throwing the hail mary pass against SMU. Go BYU!

  8. Kingsley on April 27, 2004 at 7:48 pm

    Anyone who has had their view of Mount Timp etc. blocked absolutely by the unholy monstrous training facility erected opposite the Richards Building will know that BYU football is here to stay.

  9. Kingsley on April 27, 2004 at 8:03 pm

    Also, I am convinced that if the Church did cut BYU football, three-fourths of the elders of (Utah) Zion would apostatize immediately. You would have the Sempter Six on one side and the September Six Thousand on the other. But perhaps the Lord will allow it to happen in order to sift the wheat etc.

  10. Ben Huff on April 27, 2004 at 10:37 pm

    Wow, well, between Eugene England’s public assault a few years back and Coleen McDannel’s more recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if the U were taking some preemptive measures against that sort of thing continuing!

    Any other signs?

  11. Stew on April 27, 2004 at 11:18 pm

    Dean Young hasn’t had much to cheer about anyway over the years regarding football programs – he was a prof at Columbia while the Lions obliterated the consecutive losing streak; GW doesn’t even HAVE a football team; and his children’s college teams haven’t been all that good except one (the Princeton Tigers have been abominable, and only the Air Force Falcons have been relatively good over the past while). So, I think Dean Young would be happy to root for a Division I team, no matter how bad it has been recently…

  12. John David Payne on April 27, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    Brayden,

    I don’t know anyone who would be considered a credible source, so, no. Gordon is probably right: BYU cutting football is absurd. Guess I was just playing the troll. Sorry, guys.

  13. Ivan Wolfe on April 28, 2004 at 12:03 am

    After wrestling was cut, I lost all interest in BYU sports.

    My father actually wrote BYU and told them he would not donate any money to the Y until wrestling was reinstated. I hold the same view.

    Of course, I came from a poor family and as a graduate student, I am still poor, so BYU won’t really miss our money, but it’s the principle of the thing!

  14. Jim F. on April 28, 2004 at 12:17 am

    Ivan Wolfe: since none of the money donated goes to sports unless it is specifically earmarked for sports, all you’re doing by refusing to donate is hurting the academic programs. That’s like refusing to help Sally because you don’t like Joe, her neighbor.

    There are those of us who would like to see BYU follow BYU-Idaho’s lead in the sports area, but I’m not holding my breath.

  15. Ivan Wolfe on April 28, 2004 at 9:23 am

    I’m sorry – I should have been more specific – we don’t donate to the Y when they come asking for sports program money (like when they solicited donations for the new sports complex).

  16. Nate Oman on April 28, 2004 at 11:58 am

    Ben: I have heard persistent rumors that the U. of U. law school would like to hire a Mormon for their faculty since their token Mormon — Ed Frimage — became a Tibetan-Buddhist-Episcopalean (no joke. he wanted to dedicate the 2d ed of Zion in the Courts to the Dali Lhamma). Who knows if this is true or not…

  17. Frank McIntyre on April 28, 2004 at 12:01 pm

    How about a big new “Philosophy training complex” to replace the JKHB? It could be huge with plenty of pulpits for everyone. I’m not sure the materials involved in training philosophers—- presumably lots of books, pencils, Rubik’s cubes, Venn diagrams, and pillows…

    Of course, to justify the expense, Philosophy would at least have to make an attempt to bring in some money. We could have 8 or 9 of them argue with philosophers from other schools– tag team style. Naturally these events would have to take place in some sort of large auditorium where many people could come and cheer. Recruiting might present some difficulties— what with all the marijuana use among most philosophy majors…

    Naturally we’d need to give the philosophy recruits a break in the rest of their classwork; they couldn’t really be expected to pass all those PE requirements, but there would be some minimal level of physical activity required to keep them on the team.

  18. lyle on April 28, 2004 at 12:11 pm

    1 of the 3 candidates are LDS. Which means that if either of the other two are selected…there will be cries of continued anti-LDS discrimination.

    http://www.utah.edu/unews/releases/04/apr/finalists.html

  19. Ryan S. on April 29, 2004 at 1:53 am

    Nate:

    The U’s “Tibetan-Buddhist-Episcopalean” Mr. Firmage has been less than full-time here for at least one year, and I noticed that he is only teaching 1 class next year- and it is a Seminar, Spring Semester. I get the impression he is on his way out- by his own choice (health reasons).
    I should note that I have had at least one LDS adjunct professor in my 3 years here at the U law school.

  20. Nate Oman on April 29, 2004 at 11:52 am

    I am sorry to hear about Firmage’s health. That is too bad.

  21. lyle on April 29, 2004 at 12:59 pm

    Hm…well, if religion were a ‘diversity’ issue, by the leftists underinclusive definition of skin color (wow…what if all Mormons were orange skinned!…or gold, like God in the D&C)…

    Then 1, and an adjunct at that…is surely “impact” if not “motive” discrimination.

  22. Adam Greenwood on April 29, 2004 at 2:55 pm

    Isn’t it true, Lyle, that law schools hire nationally? I prof. is still a little low, but not dramatically given the national pool of applicants.

  23. Ryan S. on April 29, 2004 at 11:13 pm

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — “Following a nearly six-month search, the Utah Board of Regents has named Michael Young, dean of the George Washington University Law School, as the new president of the University of Utah. Young had the strongest Utah ties of any of the candidates. He’s a relative of pioneer and Mormon leader Brigham Young, and received his undergraduate degree from BYU.”

    Full story at
    http://tv.ksl.com/index.php?sid=90908&nid=5

  24. Adam Greenwood on April 29, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    My flabber is gasted.

  25. lyle on April 30, 2004 at 12:35 am

    I wonder if they will “let” him teach at the Law school. Hm…

  26. Kaimi on April 30, 2004 at 11:37 am

    See also the press release (and it’s not even titled “Hell freezes over”):

    http://www.utah.edu/unews/releases/04/apr/president.html