When President Thomas S. Monson announced the change in missionary age, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints erupted in response to the news.
The announcement affects a number of people in the Church including, most obviously the young men and young women, but now even the BYU coaches are reeling. While this change will affect many college programs, it will most directly affect BYU.
“It affects us more than any other program in the world. We have the most missionaries on our team and will continue to have that as an institution owned by the Church. We had taken a guess a year ago and put a plan in place and so now we’ll kind of revisit that and make sure it’s on track,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a BYU press release.
[media-credit name=”Chris Bunker | The Universe” align=”alignright” width=”214″][/media-credit]The BYU football team alone has 77 returned missionaries on the roster and 38 missionaries who are serving. Utah and Utah State also have a number of young men in the same situation.
While the BYU football team is impacted heavily by this historic Church announcement, other teams on campus will have similar decisions to make.
Dave Rose, BYU basketball head coach, acknowledged that this change will bring about a lot of adjustments in the years to come. A number of potential BYU athletes, including Jabari Parker and Nick Emery, are trying to deal with the news.
Along with the men’s coaches, the women’s coaches on campus know that the missionary age change for young women in the Church will have an impact on their teams. BYU women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood said the option to serve earlier will definitely change the dynamic of the women’s programs on campus.
Even the Church leaders have been questioned about the influence the mission age change will have on BYU athletics.
[pullquote]”We have a lot of athletic boosters who have already tweeted us on that subject,” said Elder Holland in a Church press conference. “We think that maybe they’ll get back sooner and participate better on this plan. Most will go before their athletic activity and come back to have a full four years.”[/pullquote]
In the end, there is no doubt that this announcement will have a Church-wide effect on the members and on the members’ number-one sports teams.