Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

In His Own Words: Tico Pringle, Defensive Back (2006)

Illustration for article titled In His Own Words: Tico Pringle, Defensive Back (2006)

BYU suspended Tico Pringle after an ex-girlfriend told the honor code office he had forced her to have sex.

Somebody made an accusation. Someone who was jealous. It was an ex-girlfriend of mine. She went to the University of Utah. She followed her football. A week before the Utah game, it was announced in the paper that I would be starting — the person in front of me broke his leg. Maybe that day or the next day, this ex-girlfriend went to the honor code office and said that we did a whole bunch of things and whatnot and she couldn't prove any of it. She didn't want to go the legal authorities. She just went straight to the office and they brought me in and gave me a bunch of situations.

They have a written statement from the person who accused you of doing something. They black out all the names. Then they ask you if any of this stuff is true. They ask you what you've been doing. They wouldn't let me make a copy of it. In her document it said that I pressured her into having sex. She felt like she was being abused. She said she felt like she was raped. I asked them for time and dates and she couldn't give any. She never gave anything exact. I could just call BYU right now and call the honor code office and say Jimmer Fredette had sex with my sister. They would have to investigate.


My wife came in with me, and we both talked to them. My wife was pregnant. We were more than happy to cooperate. They chose not to believe my wife and me. I wasn't cheating on my wife or drinking and driving or anything. I didn't really have a case to plead. My biggest thing was if they could come up with a time and a date that was actually justified and wasn't just her word against my word.

When you sign the honor code, you pretty much sign your life away. I was aware of the honor code. But the fact of the matter was, it was he said, she said. The school didn't have my back one bit. They pick and choose who they want to back up. I am Mormon. My wife and I are getting ready to go through the temple. I'm black and my wife's white.


I've not heard of any Caucasian athletes getting caught doing anything through the honor code, but I know they do personally. Firsthand. I could name you six guys off the top of my head. For every one black guy I can also name you a white guy, another kid who just returned from a mission or didn't go on a mission who did the exact same thing and didn't get in trouble. The black athletes get called on it. Returned missionaries don't get turned in. It's all hush-hush. It's political. You go to the honor code office and then you go and talk to your coach and your coach pulls strings if he needs to. A lot of the guys I know did things and they got away with it because strings were pulled. There are guys who got their girlfriends pregnant and didn't get in trouble. They pick and choose who they want to punish.

The punishment that we're dealt [as black players] doesn't match any of the crimes. They suspended me from school and from the team for one semester. And at that point, I realized I'd made a mistake coming to BYU. They told me the day before we played Utah that I'd be able to play in the Utah game and I wouldn't be able to play in the bowl game. I didn't play in the bowl game, unfortunately. I wasn't even allowed to travel with the team for the bowl game. I apologized to the team and told them I got in trouble for something that I thought wasn't fair.

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