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Too scanty! Y. paper pulls Sports Illustrated inserts

Bare-bottom photos too much for staffers to bear

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PROVO — There are nine bare bottoms in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated on Campus — and that's why the magazine hasn't been inserted in today's copies of the Brigham Young University student newspaper, The Daily Universe.

Sports Illustrated selected 70 college campuses as test markets this fall for a new magazine aimed at college students. When it told BYU it was on the list, officials at the school — owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — made it clear up front there would be some strict rules.

No beer, no tobacco and certainly no bare bottoms.

Magazine representatives accepted BYU's demands and said they would not run alcohol and tobacco advertisements. When they agreed not to force BYU to distribute the swimsuit issue, the Universe began to insert the slick, 28-page magazine into the 18,500 papers it distributes across campus each Thursday.

However, Universe staffers pulled the magazine last week because of a swimsuit ad and declined this week's edition of Sports Illustrated on campus because of an article about some colleges where it is a tradition to play sports naked. The story is accompanied by a photograph of nine naked male and female rear ends.

"We couldn't run that article unless I tore out 18,500 copies of that picture," said Casey Stauffer, advertising manager at the Universe.

Faculty and staff administrators at NewsNet, the school's combined student newspaper, Web and television news organization, decided Monday afternoon to refuse the insert but continue running it on a week-by-week basis. The decision was backed by university administrators and the chairman of the communications department.

NewsNet managing editor David Randall, a senior from Centerville, said the magazine is a popular feature among students and lends an air of professionalism to the student paper.

"It's the advertising staff that has all of these outlandish restrictions about what they can't run," Randall said, "but it's understandable because they want to keep the ads up to the par of our honor code."

BYU has a strict honor code that prohibits immodest clothing, premarital or extramarital sex and the use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

Randall is concerned the decision and a headline in the Universe on Wednesday might give students the impression their newspaper was censored.

"I think people already feel that way," he said, "and the headline missed the mark. It said the magazine had 'inappropriate material for BYU' rather than saying the material was 'deemed' inappropriate by the paper. It's as if the Daily Universe is a sham and is acting as the voice of the university instead of as a student newspaper."

However, students generally agreed with the decision to pull the magazines. They also were pleased Sports Illustrated agreed to several of BYU's demands.

"I think it's kinda cool BYU has these standards and that they affected the nation through Sports Illustrated's advertising standards," said Spencer Lake, a senior from Eugene, Ore.

Some were disappointed that Sports Illustrated seemed not to be following its agreement.

"It makes me more skeptical of Sports Illustrated if they make an agreement and then back out of it," said Ethan Bratt, a senior from Pennsylvania.

The contract between the magazine and the school allows Sports Illustrated to terminate the deal if NewsNet drops three inserts during the year.

"We may have to cancel the thing if this is going to continue on a regular basis," Randall said. "If students can't count on the magazine every Thursday, we're really losing some of the benefit of having it."

Lake, the senior from Oregon, isn't worried about missing out on this week's edition.

"I'm not sure that I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of naked athletes in Sports Illustrated," he said.

E-mail: twalch@desnews.com