SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – For the second straight year, NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 was exercised at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship to accommodate the religious beliefs of the BYU Cougars and their lone entrant in the tournament.
For those unfamiliar with the Bylaw, it states that “accommodations must be provided to schools that have a written policy against competition on a particular day for religious reasons and have submitted such policy to the NCAA prior to Sept. 1 of the relevant academic year.” A year ago, BYU, which has a school policy that prohibits athletic competition on Sundays, instead played its third round on a Thursday after all teams had completed their practice rounds.
A year later, just one BYU player took to the course on Thursday to play her third round. Alex White, a senior from Lompoc, Calif., teed off at Rich Harvest Farms after all teams – and individuals, including White – had completed their practice rounds. And she shot 2-over 74, a round that began with White 3 over through four holes.
White and her coaches were given the third-round hole location sheets after White’s practice round. The other coaches received them, as well, and the other teams had the option to follow White’s round as spectators.
Last year, when the NCAA announced it would adjust BYU’s schedule, there was some criticism. Some argued that the Cougars would receive an unfair advantage as the weather forecast was much better on that Thursday than Sunday.
“I know the NCAA started to think about what to do on this a few years ago,” BYU head coach Carrie Roberts told Golfweek’s Kevin Casey last year. “It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. We trust that the NCAA has done its due diligence, and we’re grateful that they are accommodating us.”
BYU eventually finished last and its 10-over 298 in Round 3 bested just four of the other 23 teams in the field. White shot 4-over 76 in her third round and ended up T-45 at 4 over.
White, ranked 99th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, received her spot in this year’s field by tying for ninth at the NCAA Lubbock Regional.
As for this year’s weather forecasts, Thursday calls for partly cloudy conditions and a high temperature of 78 degrees with winds reaching 25 mph early in the afternoon. On Sunday, conditions are expected to be partly sunny with a high of 63 degrees.