In His Own Words: Ray Hudson, Running Back (2004-06)

An unmarried Ray Hudson had to leave BYU because he had a child out of wedlock.

I'm from Houston, Texas. I'm from football country. We eat, sleep, breathe, and shit football down here. Down here in Texas, we drink, we party. When I was at BYU, I never felt like I was at home. When I first came to BYU and signed the honor code, they knew I had a girlfriend who was pregnant. They knew I already had a son. I came in under Coach Crowton. There was a set of coaches. They had a plan for me, for other athletes from down South and other black athletes. They wanted more athletes, more speed, more power. We were supposed to be the ones to get them a championship.

The atmosphere with the football [team] — it was like you were incarcerated. Everywhere we went, we were looked at because we were all black and hung out together. They didn't really see color. They saw non-Mormons. What happened with those other guys, they had them on a rape case. Those other guys, they were ridiculed. They said they raped her. They were gonna put a lawsuit on the school. There was a whole lot of miscommunication with that honor code bullcrap. Those guys were on TV like they were some kind of animals. I wanted to call the NAACP, but we left it alone. Those guys were innocent.

Short story: those guys didn't rape those girls. But they had to kick them out because they had sex. I went to parties up there in the mountains. I saw Mormons drinking alcohol and having sex. Yeah, they were having sex. Everybody who was not married who was a Mormon was having sex. They were being regular college students. I've seen Polynesian guys get in trouble. They had a brawl at a party and they knocked a couple guys out, and it went to the honor code, and it was dismissed. Polynesian guys, they're similar to us, but they're not like us. I was cool with a lot of them, but they're treated a little bit differently than African-Americans are. I've seen white Mormons doing some things and they made it go away. But one of us non-Mormon black guys or a non-Mormon white guy from California does something, and it goes straight to the honor code. They're hypocrites. I don't like hypocrites. I don't like phony people. The people who I was hanging around, guys on the team — they did things that were against the honor code. A beer? That's just normal. I never reported anything like that because it's got nothing to do with me. We all grown.

So [the players involved in the group sex] left. Meanwhile, me and my roommate, Mike Reed, we stayed there. We kept our grades straight, and we stayed out of trouble. But this was after the rape case. This was after those guys were proven innocent. They was just trying to get that wave of guys out of the system. A lot of people were questioned. I was interrogated. We didn't know shit. I wasn't around none of that. I was in a totally different apartment.

They said: "Come to the honor code, we need to talk to you. This dean needs to speak to you" — the same dean I first spoke with when we got there and I signed the honor code, one of the same guys who welcomed me to campus. They brought up the incident about my son. They said, "Well, don't you have a son?" And I said. "Yes, I had him before I signed the honor code." The guy looked me in the face and said, "You had a baby out of wedlock." I was respectful, but we almost got into it. And I said: "Why you tell me that now? You should have told me that would be a problem before I became a part of the program or I would have gone somewhere else."

My son [Raymond Hudson III] was born September 9, 2004. That was the first or second game that we had. I went to that that game instead of going home to watch him be born. I stayed there. I was on the phone while he was being born. I wanted to show people how dedicated I was to the program. I did all that type of shit. And then I got a second boy. I was able to watch him be born.

But I had to leave for a semester. They suspended me for a semester. I was a true freshman. When I got back, those coaches who recruited me were gone. When I came back, it was a new offensive coordinator. Nobody liked him. He was disrespectful. He was arrogant. He did not like me. We just did not get along. I was making plays in practice, in scrimmage. When they put me in the game, I was doing what I was supposed to do. But for some reason, the guy did not give me the chance to show what I had to the world. If I started to make a play here and there, he'd take me out.

I don't understand why it went like that. I had a roommate, Mike Reed. Mike Reed is like my brother. When those other guys left, Mike was all I had. This guy had the best hands. He was one of the best receivers. Austin Collie went on a mission. When he got back, Mike Reed was the guy. They go on a two-year mission, and they just jump right back in as the starter. Mike Reed had put in all this work. When Austin Collie came back, they started to use Mike as a decoy. Give him three or four catches, and he'll be all right. But he's not going to be all right, because he's a player. When you do that to a player, it burns him up inside.

I betcha a million dollars if I'd converted, I would have been playing. Curtis Brown, he got in trouble. He was a mediocre running back. Curtis at first was a wild dude. He got in some trouble. And as soon as he got in trouble, he switched over. He turned into a Mormon. He converted himself. I gotta give him a compliment on that. He was smart, but he sold his soul. He sold his soul and converted to their way of life. After that, if he messed up, they praised him. They tried their best to convert me. But I'm a headstrong guy. I don't sell my soul for nonsense.

It was foul when I was there. I was a quiet guy. I didn't want to get in trouble. I made good grades. I went hard in the weight room. I didn't want to jeopardize my freedom. I didn't want to jeopardize my scholarship. They had a guy who worked for them. He was an assistant to the school. He would always take us out to eat and see how we were doing, See if we were doing the right thing. He was kind of like a babysitter. But kind of like a spy. He would look through the window to see what we were doing. But I really do think a couple of those guys who were around me went to the honor code and reported me [after I returned to school from suspension]. It don't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. It was the players who were coming to my house and coming around me. It was part of my running back crew. I'm not trying to pump myself up like I'm Adrian Peterson but I was good. The players knew who the top guy was. They didn't want me to reach my peak.

They called me up [to the honor code office] six times. They were asking me because they said they had heard I'd been drinking. I never got caught drinking alcohol. I wasn't a live wire. I was always low key. The guys who were around me were doing the same thing — drinking beer, drinking alcohol. It was some sick shit that was going on. I was in these parties, watching these Mormons drink alcohol, watching them do this and do that.

I would go up [to the honor code office], and they would tell me what they'd heard. I would tell them, "I don't know what you're talking about." They kept telling me: "I know what you've been doing. There are people who have been telling us what you've been doing." I'm thinking: 'This ain't right. I'm in class. I'm trying to study. I'm tired. I'm trying to get myself situated. I'm trying to get into business school. I'm trying to do all sort of things to better myself and I'm worried at night they are going to kick me out of school?' As a college student, you try to succeed. They try to bring you down. I would stay in my room and start screaming just to get something out. I'd stay in the weight room and lift extra weights and hit the bags just to let something out. Am I going to let my family down because I had a beer or got a piece of ass?

Instead of getting kicked out, I kicked myself out. I transferred to a college in Texas. Texas A&M Kingsville. It was a rebuilding program. It wasn't D1 but is known for sending prospects to the league. I kind of funked out on it. I could have played arena ball and did a lot of things to get to the next level. But I just wanted to be around my family. I just got burned out. I got my degree in sociology with a minor in communications. I work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I work in a penitentiary. I'm the unit armorer. I do a variety of things for them. I been there for about two years. I like my job but I didn't want to do that. My father did it for almost 30 years. I kind of want to do something different but jobs are real scarce right now.

My son is six years old. I coach his team. He plays baseball now. He's a good little athlete. People need to know. I would advise no young African-American man to go [to BYU]. No black, white, Hispanic non-Mormon man to go there. It's a sick place. I'm raised in Houston, Texas. We don't play that bullshit that they was playing. I never will go to Utah again in my life.

To me, BYU was a circus. I never did trust a lot of people. It showed me the nature of the beast, and how cutthroat things could be. It made me strong. It made me business-minded. It gave me a monster's mentality. By that, I mean being strong and organized in a way to take care of my responsibilities. It transformed me into a strong black man and a man who doesn't take any bullshit. You live and you learn. It made me a wiser man.