Cursing, coffee and beer — these are three things you shouldn't expect to see, or hear, at BYU or from its fans as they make their way to Bright House Networks Stadium Thursday night to play UCF.
The game, which will air on ESPN at 7:30 p.m., will be a clash between two schools with both a lot of miles and a lot of differences between them. The university, which was established in Provo, Utah, in 1875, competes independent of a football conference.
Brigham Young University is the largest religious university in the country. With almost all of its student population being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the college atmosphere for Mormon students at BYU is much different than it is for those attending UCF, the second-largest public university in the country.
Things are a bit different at BYU, where rules and regulations may leave UCF students in shock. Among the rules listed in the university's code of honor are to abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea and coffee. Oh, and Greek Row would drop their paddles if they knew the university's rules against shorts worn above the knee and form-fitting clothing— yes, including yoga pants.
Sister Hannah Woolley, a junior elementary education major at BYU, has taken a break from her studies in Provo to serve the church as a missionary at UCF.
"I really enjoyed BYU. It was really cool to not have to worry about certain things. I could go to any parties or events on campus because I knew there wasn't going to be alcohol or any other bad stuff going on" She said.
At UCF, there are restaurants, stores and bars on campus that sell alcohol to students, as well as coffee, tea, shorts and form-fitting clothes. BYU fans will witness some of these contrasts firsthand if they walk through Memory Mall on their way to the game on Thursday night. Although BYU may have some tight boundaries and strict religious affiliations, UCF has its share of devout members of the LDS church, as well.
"We have a community [at UCF] that wants to still have fun, but have clean fun, all the while strengthening their relationship with God," Woolley said.
Members of the LDS church here at UCF might not attend an exclusively religious university, but that certainly doesn't stop them from upholding their religious standards. The Latter-day Saints Student Association, or LDSSA, is a student-led organization here at UCF that gives members of the LDS the chance to get together and read scripture twice weekly on campus.
William Linder, a junior creative writing major at UCF, is a member of the LDSSA.
"We adhere to the teachings set forth in the scriptures and revealed by the prophets," Linder said. "As such, we are instructed to live the law of chastity and abstain from alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco, and other harmful and addictive substances. We also strive to live by the example set forth by Jesus Christ. As such, we strive for love, charity, temperance, knowledge, kindness and forgiveness. "
The LDSSA hosts many community service events throughout the year, as well as many other activities on and off campus. Apart from the rules and regulations, campus life at UCF and BYU is strikingly similar.
Todd Hillingshead, university spokesman for BYU, has been an employee there since 2007.
"BYU students are bright, full of energy, quick to serve each other and very serious about their academic experience," Hillingshead said. "Our students also love to be outdoors and enjoy the mountains, lakes and rivers that are minutes away from campus. A significant chunk of our 64,000-seat stadium is filled with thousands and thousands of students for every home game and they are loud and very supportive."
Although BYU students' devotion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is housed by a stricter university and set of rules than that of UCF, those from both home and away say they have more in common than what first meets eye.
Thursday night will be a battle from whistle to whistle, illuminated by the blazing Bright House Networks Stadium lights, but it will also be an opportunity for two very esteemed, yet very different, universities to congregate and enjoy the game both schools follow religiously — football.
BYU Code of Honor
• Use clean language
• Participate regularly in church services
• Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee and tea.
• Shorts and dresses must be worn below the knee
• Beards are not acceptable
• Men cannot have any piercings, women only one in each ear.
• Mens hair must be trimmed above the collar