An LGBTQ advocacy group has sent a letter to the commissioner of the Big 12 urging the conference to remove BYU from consideration for membership because it says the school has discriminatory policies.
Athlete Ally, a nonprofit group that works with sports leagues and organizations on educational and awareness programs, wrote in a letter sent Monday that “… through its policies, BYU is very clear about its intent to discriminate against openly LGBT students …”
BYU is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The school’s honor code states that same-gender attraction is not an issue.
But it does state, “Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code.” The school honor code requires all students to commit to chastity outside of marriage.
“BYU welcomes as full members of the university community all whose conduct meets university standards. We are very clear and open about our honor code, which all students understand and commit to when they apply for admission. One’s stated sexual orientation is not an issue,” the school said in a statement through spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.
Fox Sports first reported Athlete Ally’s letter, which was signed by 23 other advocacy groups.
Big 12 university presidents and chancellors authorized Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to begin evaluating potential expansion candidates last month. BYU is among several schools that have made it clear they would like membership in the lucrative Power Five conference.
BYU is a football independent that competes in the West Coast Conference in other sports, such as basketball. The Cougars football program has a long tradition of success and a large national following.
In an interview with the AP last month, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said he was not concerned that the school’s religious affiliation would stand in the way of its attempts to join the Big 12.