Dressed in a suit and tie, BYU defensive end Tyler Batty did at least one interview in Spanish during Big 12 football media days in Arlington, Texas, in July.
Spanish is the language Batty learned while serving as a Latter-day Saint missionary for two years in Madrid, Spain.
Batty is one of more than 60 current BYU football players have voluntarily served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As the Cougars continue fall practice for the 2023 season, the team released information and photos that showcase the missionary element of its program in part to help news media and teams in the Big 12 Conference better understand why BYU players serve missions, according to an Aug. 14 article on byucougars.com.
“Ultimately, missionary work is about serving God and serving His children, dedicating one’s life to that service for two years,” the article said. “Missionaries often talk about serving a mission as a small way to show appreciation to God for all that He has given them in their lives. ... A mission can serve as an important foundation for the rest of one’s life, ultimately benefitting those who serve in their future education, family life, work life and Church service.”
Nearly half of all current BYU football players have served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) August 15, 2023
While those within the Church understand what a mission entails, they can be foreign to others.
Read more here ⤵️ https://t.co/axR4Egujp4 pic.twitter.com/9ANt2GBJNt
The article reported the following information:
- 63 players on BYU’s current roster have served missions.
- BYU players have served in 29 countries and spoken 15 different languages.
- There are also 21 recruits who have signed or committed to BYU who are currently serving missions in 10 countries and speaking four different languages.
The article also features questions-and-answers about mission life, a style guide for referring to missions and the correct name of the Church, a list of players who served missions and where, the languages spoken, coaches who served missions and where, and a list of former Cougars who played in the NFL and served missions.
Read the full article at byucougars.com.
In 2021, BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake spoke about the program’s small army of young men who serve missions. Missionary service contributes to BYU’s culture of “love and learn,” the coach said.
“I just want to give a quick shoutout to all the missionaries serving out there all over the world, let you know how much of an impact it’s made to our program,” Sitake said, per Deseret News.