BYU Rumors Here, There and Everywhere

They are often groundless and sensational. Its gossip, hearsay, babble report, tale bearing, tattling, tittle-tattle, slang, scuttlebutt, whispers, tell tales and chit-chat.

No matter how you label it, it's abundant. When it comes to BYU football, it's especially copious and it comes mostly in the face of unrest and uncertainty.

Will Gary Crowton be fired? Will Ben Olson return to BYU? Will Tom Holmoe be the next athletic director? Will John Beck be benched?

The gossip-er or rumor-mongerer may be searching for or may just feel so strongly about his wishful opinion that he has convinced himself it is true.

The culprits? Usually the weak-minded … people with underlying motives or hidden agendas … often the boastful … many times the adolescent.

"Sources" of information are usually a brother, best friend on the team, or a friend in the administration. Often, cousins are big offenders. Many times, the "insider" information is overheard at a game, at church or in class. Finally, of course, most are "unnamed sources that must be kept confidential." These are otherwise known as "imaginative rumor-mongering."

The harm? Rumors are like wild fires. They will destroy without thought or warning. They themselves can grow and be blown whatever way the wind blows. They are easily fueled, hard to extinguish and often leave ugly scars in their path.

Sometimes they have some small kernels of truth, but their core is mostly always dishonest. They often offer a thousand truths to tell a lie.

Rumors cause pain, uncertainty, jealousy, rage, doubt, and confusion. They can be a ripple in the pond that spreads to many circles and corners. They can ruin careers, devastate marriages and swing political tides.

Am I being overly dramatic? Not if you're a member of the Gary Crowton family.

So should we ignore rumors or should they be banned from websites?

Let's put it this way, BYU would feel a lot better about web-based sports information sites if it weren't for the rumoring that runs rampant on them. I ignore and disregard information that is not firsthand or from a reliable source.

Some say rumors are like smoke – if there is enough of it, there's a fire within. That's one way to try to rationalize it. My contention is that if rumor is smoke, throw water on it before it turns into a raging and uncontrollable fire.

If we believed "insider" rumors on BYU's most popular free message board, Ben Olson would have been home early from his mission in August. No, wait, he's enrolling at Boise State when he gets home or USC was hot in the mix a few months back. No, wait, it's Stanford. Now, it's UCLA – but only if Gary Crowton is replaced. No, wait, only if the Cougars have a winning record and John Beck transfers.

Now we learn that Olson was seen practicing at UCLA – at the same time his high school coach says he was practicing at his former Thousand Oaks high school. Indeed, the UCLA athletic director has announced Olson has given them a "silent verbal." Isn't that an NCAA violation to publicly speak about recruitable athletes before they sign? According to others, Olson was throwing the ball 75 yards and is already in starting condition!

If we believed the rampant rumors from knowledgeable posters with highly placed inside sources in the BYU administration, Crowton was going to be fired after the Colorado State game. No wait, Crowton will be fired after the season, regardless of his record. No, wait, Crowton must convince Ben Olson to come back – or he will be fired.

Of course, we all know that Olson spoke to Tom Holmoe already and gave him his choice for the next BYU coach.

That's why we can expect Ty Detmer to be the next quarterback coach under former BYU great Steve Young. No, wait, Andy Reid has a mysterious BYU clause in his contract he can leave his head coaching position for the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles without financial penalty if he chooses to become BYU's next head coach. No, wait, I heard Tom Holmoe is taking over as interim coach before the season ends. No, wait, Norm Chow wants the position next year after Crowton is fired.

How about, "We know the reason the players aren't playing well is because they are trying to get Crowton fired." They all hate him, you know. No, wait, they all love him. No, wait…

The scariest rumors are that LDS Church officials were seriously considering terminating BYU's football program because of highly embarrassing honor code violations reported in the media. The gridiron pads and helmets were to be relegated to the same pile with the Ricks College football equipment, along with the old wrestling gear.

Consequently, they were thinking of rebuilding the second floor in the practice facility and rename it the Provo Convention Center.

How about this doozy: LaVell Edwards is coming back to be the new athletic director.

Or that BYU's ace receiver Todd Watkins is turning pro next year.

And my dog died.

So what is your responsibility as a participant on BYU-related message boards as a real Cougar fan? I personally don't like to respond to rumors and I appreciate when other posters pre-warn a thread is a rumor – then I never even open it. If you do find yourself reading an obvious rumor, wash your hands, brush your teeth and think happy thoughts for a day.

As for the "chit-chat" that is already out there, here are the facts that I know from reliable firsthand sources on the current docket of rumors floating around.

BEN OLSON:

* He has returned from his mission and is at home
* Crowton has spoken to him by phone
* Prior to leaving on his mission in one of his last interviews, he said, "I will be back to BYU"
* Before leaving on his mission, he told Crowton he would return to the team

We can assume that Ben will be careful in making his choice of where to go, now that he can choose again without repercussions. We can also assume if Ben chooses another school, BYU will move on and find more quality players and solid quarterbacks.

GARY CROWTON:

* According to BYU President Cecil Samuelson in a recent newspaper interview, there is no design to terminate Gary Crowton before the finish of the season. He added there had not been any discussion about his release after the season yet. If that's not true, then he has lied to the press and BYU fans by extension.

Former athletic director Val Hale recently reported in an column in the Provo Daily Herald that discussions involving him, vice president Fred Skousen and possibly others in the BYU administration at the beginning of the year indicated that Crowton was expected to win at least six games in 2004 to retain his head coaching position.

BYU ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:

* More changes to the athletic department are expected
* Peter Pilling, Tom Holmoe, Brian Santiago and Janie Penfield remain intact as a "transitional leadership," reporting to Fred Skousen until the school opens a formal search for an athletic director
* The formal search for an athletic director has not officially started

Factually, the current process used by coaches to find Honor Code acceptable athletes will be reviewed, but few changes are expected. The current recruiting practices are already very stringent in this area.

A column on "rumors" wouldn't be complete without at least one big, juicy rumor to slosh around in, right?

No lie, dudes. My cousin's best friend's brother overheard Gary Crowton at a fireside telling Tom Holmoe that right after San Diego State's travel manager visited his office preparing advance details for the Aztec's team arrival that one of the "fake" play books they left out on purpose turned up missing. Crowton guaranteed Holmoe right then days before the game that BYU would win by 45 points.

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