"We consider men that qualify perfectly to come to BYU," Coach Mendenhall said. "Every year there is a handful that I think need BYU, and that they want this experience. Are they perfectly qualified? Not really. But do I believe this is where they're supposed to be and it will change their life? There is a handful every year. If you probably look back over the past two or three [years], you'll be able to identify those. Many have had fantastic experiences, but that is one of the burdens that I have a chance to make: [it] is to put my reputation and the kid's future at stake if he needs and if I think he belongs at BYU. That's part of the equation that isn't talked about so much but is a part of it."
As the Wednesday's press conference wore on, Coach Mendenhall waited for an appropriate time in which to further emphasis the point of choosing to recruit kids in order to build up rather than throw away.
"I met with a young man on Friday in his home, and then on Monday when I came into the office I received some saddening news," Coach Mendenhall said. "And so I'll read a statement from this player and his family, and then I'll address kind of how it's being handled. This particular young man's name is Kyle Van Noy."
Coach Mendenhall then pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and preceded to read the words of highly recruited LDS athlete Kyle Van Noy.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to Coach Mendenhall, his staff, the players and the BYU fans," Van Noy wrote. "This past weekend I received a DUI citation, which will delay my arrival. I know that I have disappointed you, my family and friends. You have my firm commitment that I will do what it takes to earn back your trust and be part of BYU's winning tradition."
So why did Van Noy feel he needed to make such a statement to the Cougar coaching staff, the BYU team and the fans? He could have easily brushed it under the rug and gone another route without any personal consequence or scrutiny.
"I've matured so much that I consider myself a man now," Van Noy told Total Blue Sports. "When a man makes a mistake he should own up to it and hold his head up high until the day he dies. It doesn't matter how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get up. That's what I'm doing. I knocked down myself, but now it's time for me to do what's right and get back up. I'm going to get back up and go all the way to the top no matter what it takes. Even if I have to sit out or greyshirt my first year, I'll eventually be at the top."
Van Noy also said this was also an opportunity to be an example to others.
"During a football game, they brought in all the SYFL kids, which is a football league with kids ages six all the way up to the eighth grade," said Van Noy. "My coach said he always saw that I was the last one to leave, shaking all of the little kids' hands. He said I was always the last one to leave the field, and now I have to tell all those kids that I got a DUI. He said I could be the high-profile athlete that can run and hide from it, or I can be the one help kids learn from my mistakes, that I could be the one to face those kids and be the one to admit to it, and I looked at that and said, ‘Yeah.' I gotta admit to it and can't hide from it like all the other football players would. I gotta be a better man and have to man up to it so that I can be a true role model. For a 17-year-old kid, I think I'm doing that with how I'm handling this."
Coach Mendenhall emphasized that he was not giving up on Van Noy, regardless of his mistake.
"I did have a choice, so it's clear for everybody, to withdraw the scholarship or stay with him," Mendenhall stated after reading Van Noy's statement. "He committed to me, and so I committed to him quite a while ago even though it wasn't made public until recently. I believe he needs BYU and I'm not going anywhere, and the institution didn't ask me to delay his enrollment. I chose to do that, and so I intend to bring him next January, and he'll have between now and then to make correct decisions in his life, reestablish who he wants to be, and he's committed to do so."
Coach Mendenhall told Van Noy that he would need to take extra steps in order to prove he is willing to move forward, and in the end he believes that it will not only help the individual progress but will also create greater bonds that tie.
"I usually hold them accountable even before anyone knows they're being held accountable," Mendenhall said. "And then the strongest relationships of anyone on the team are formed after that."
Although Kyle Van Noy has not set foot within LaVell Edwards Stadium as a Cougar football player, Coach Mendenhall has indeed held him accountable.
"It makes my love for him only greater," Van Noy said. "I call him bishop for a reason. He's not just a football coach, but also someone who understands that we as young men need help too, which is why we love and appreciate him so much. He's a man of God and helps us to know how we should be, and it just makes me want to be more like him. That's why I wanted to go to BYU."
Van Noy said he is determined to better himself.
"I think some athletes who fall could curl up in the corner and try and hide from their mistakes," said Van Noy. "I could have easily done that and gone to another school and just let it be, but I knew that I had to go to BYU because it would help make a difference in my life. I just had to say, ‘I don't care about what people think of me because of my mistakes.' I have to do what's right and think of the people that care for me, and I know the BYU coaches love me and want what's best for me, so I have to do it regardless of the consequences. It's the reason why I love BYU's coaching staff so much, because they're like God's arms, and they're embracing me right now in an effort to help me become the person that I need to be. I can't express my feelings enough about them."
"[Van Noy] was highly recruited and wants to be here, and I think that speaks a lot to him," said Coach Mendenhall.
Knowing that Van Noy was highly recruited with many offers, Coach Mendenhall gave him the opportunity after his DUI to go elsewhere, but the McQueen High School standout decided he would take on the challenge and grow from it.
"I don't think I've ever dealt in a manner that isn't straightforward," Coach Mendenhall said. "My hope now is presenting it exactly like that, that each of you will use discretion in helping this young man grow and be embraced by this institution, as I believe in him. I did give him the option to choose elsewhere, and he said absolutely not."
"I'm ready for the challenge," said Van Noy. "I'm not going to back down from this either. That's just the person that I am. I'm going to admit my mistakes and then fix it."
As for Coach Mendenhall and his program, he is simply being consistent. He isn't just giving the populace a sales pitch to makes the parents of some future recruits happy. No, he's demonstrating why there is such a place like BYU, and why the principles of the university and the process of personal development should matter most.
"You know, I'm not so interested but I have to be aware of what is being said," Mendenhall spoke with a smile. "But again, some of these kids need BYU and those are the ones that I'm going to stick by, and if you look at the record since I've been head coach, I've taken away one scholarship of a current player on my team in four years. That's me relieving a player of his chance to play here. There have been others that have left of their own, but when these kids commit here, whether you agree with me or not, I have stood beside them."