Football, school and family: The life of a married BYU football player

Senior defensive end Bronson Kaufusi stands with his wife Hilary following a BYU game. Hilary used to play soccer for BYU and is familiar with the athlete lifestyle. (Bronson Kaufusi)

It is tough to be a BYU football player due to the hectic schedules, early mornings and late nights. It can be even more hectic when a player is married.

Being a football player is the equivalent of having a full-time job. The players wake up early and go to bed late. They leave their friends and families on weekends when they have to travel for games. But married players have to attend to all of their football duties and then must also be available to support their spouse.

“I always try to do the best I can whenever I go home,” senior defensive back Michael Wadsworth said. “we have a new baby now, so whenever I go home I always make sure to give (my wife) a break. I’m only home three or four hours a day, so I try my best to do whatever I can.”

Michael has classes until 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and then has more football responsibilities in the evening. This leaves him only a few hours to spend time with his wife, Kara, and his new son when he gets home. He goes back to his home to care for his son and spend time with his wife on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays following his morning practices. He watches film with his teammates and coaches on Tuesday evenings in preparation for his next game. Kara and their son will often go with him to watch film so they can spend more time together.

Junior punter Jonny Linehan is married to BYU soccer player Marissa Nimmer Linehan. The two met between practices when Jonny approached Marissa and began talking with her. The couple has an extremely hectic schedule because they are both BYU athletes, but for that same reason they understand what the other is going through.

“We take the roller coaster as it comes,” Jonny said when asked how he and his wife find time to spend together. “The main way we support each other is by leaving soccer at soccer and leaving football at football. We just try to do normal things that normal couples do.”

The two have opposite practice and class schedules as well. Marissa has classes in the morning and practice in the afternoon while Jonny has practice in the morning and classes in the afternoon. He said they try to get all of their school and sports related responsibilities out of the way so they can focus on each other in the evening.

Being married and playing football has provided great benefits to these players. Senior defensive end Bronson Kaufusi said since he and his wife Hilary got married, he gets a lot more sleep. Both Michael and Jonny had similar responses when asked what the difference was between being a single athlete and a married athlete.

Being married to Hilary has also helped Bronson in others ways as well.

“As a player, I take things more seriously and I think I’m way better at my time management,” Bronson said. “Before (I got married), I use to just do whatever my teammates were doing, but now I’m on a tight schedule with so much going on; I have to always make sure that I know (Hilary’s) schedule so that we can be together.”

Senior defensive back Michael Wadsworth with his wife, Kara. Kara and Michael have been married two years. (Kara Wadsworth)

BYU football player’s are not allowed to have jobs, so they receive a stipend from the university. The players on a full scholarship receive a stipend of 1,600 dollars a month, up 500 dollars from the university’s previous amount. This money is meant to be used for rent and necessary living expenses.

“We live off (the stipend), we pay rent and make sure that we’re careful with how we spend our money,” Michael said. “We usually do a pretty good job. We’re savers.”

In a previous article, having the right priorities was a common theme; the married players for BYU must have their priorities straight. It can be easy to get caught up in football, but it is important to remember they are also husbands and students. Michael, Jonny and Bronson all understand this clearly.

The football season is coming to a close and the hectic schedules will slow down. Michael and Bronson both graduate in December and will move on to the next phase in their lives while Jonny will enjoy another year at BYU. The responsibilities of football will subside for a time, allowing these married players to spend even more time with the ones they love.

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