BYU Football players express concerns over funding, renovations
Several BYU Football players took to Twitter on Tuesday, Aug. 4, to question renovations on the third floor of the Student Athlete Building after the administration allegedly denied their requests for a locker room renovation and told them funding was cut due to the pandemic.
Junior defensive back D’Angelo Mandell got the ball rolling with a now-deleted tweet that showed photos of the ongoing renovation on the administration floor of the Student Athlete Building.
“Football earns over 20 million every year. We’re told we don’t have enough money for a new locker room,” Mandell said in the tweet. “Out of nowhere there’s enough to redo the whole third floor. After money ‘has been drastically cut’ in the middle of a pandemic? That’s wild BYU.”
Teammates Chaz Ah You and Malik Moore backed up Mandell, sharing their own tweets about the locker room situation as well as a concern from Ah You about an apparent decrease in housing allowances for the players.
“On top of this we got paid $190 to start the month off,” Ah You commented on Mandell’s original tweet. “That is half of my rent. I’m from here so if push comes to shove I can move home if I get evicted. But what about my out of state teammates? Where can they go We can’t even pay rent, do we just leave them homeless?”
“We’ve had people and donors come out publicly and offer to donate and even organize making a new locker room and BYU has denied,” Ah You added on the subject of the locker room. “But now they approved and have already started remodeling the administrations (their) offices on the third floor?”
“Grateful for everything given, but been askin for yearsss and even offered to build it ourselves during the pandemic,” Moore said in response to a tweet from ESPN 960’s Benjamin Criddle. “At least say why this so hard to do so we understand.”
As a private university, BYU’s finances and expenditures are not publicly known, making the claims of funding cuts difficult to confirm. It is also unclear when the player requests for renovations took place in relation to plans for the third-floor renovation. The Daily Universe reached out to BYU Athletics for a statement or response on these concerns but has not heard back yet.
This comes on the first day of practices for BYU Football’s fall camp and during a particularly heated and historic moment for college football. Hundreds of players from the Pac-12 Conference announced on Aug. 4 they are prepared to sit out the season if a list of demands were not met, including a share of the revenue for players and certain precautions and assurances in light of the pandemic.
BYU Football seniors Matt Bushman and Isaiah Kaufusi were asked about the boycott during media availability on Aug. 4, mere hours before the tweets from the BYU players, and said the team had a players-only meeting on Monday, Aug. 3, to listen to and discuss player concerns in the wake of the movement, known as #WeAreUnited.
Head coach Kalani Sitake also mentioned during his media availability that he understands the importance of the players being able to communicate their concerns and emphasized the open environment and discussions he tries to promote at BYU.
Despite the concerns expressed on Twitter and some players being identified as “higher risk” during the pandemic, Sitake said that no players have decided to opt out of the 2020 season.