Current Events: BYU & Brandon Davies

3 Mar

While it was shocking to hear that BYU suspended key player Brandon Davies from its basketball team, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the country, for violating the school’s comprehensive Honor Code Statement, the ruling is less surprising when you take a look at the Brigham Young University website.

On the homepage, it is nearly impossible to find the link to the athletics website. It’s not listed in the prominent headings – those are reserved for “Alumni and Friends,” “Campus,” “Faculty and Staff,” “Future Students,” “Students,” and a couple more.

It’s not in a drop-down list from any of those tabs. Honestly, it took me several minutes to find. The link to the athletics website is buried in a small blue box in the lower left-hand corner of the page, and it’s at the bottom of the second column of other links, right under “Order Transcripts” and “President.”

There it is: “Sports.”

If that doesn’t say that the priorities at BYU are somewhere other than a court or a field, I don’t know what does.

Looking further, at the now-infamous honor code, it’s safe to say that BYU holds its students to a different standard than most colleges. In fact, many would argue that it’s a ridiculously high standard at that, and certainly the exact opposite of the stereotypical college experience.

Here are the basic requirements, straight from the BYU website:

Be honest
Live a chaste and virtuous life
Obey the law and all campus policies
Use clean language
Respect others
Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
Participate regularly in church services
Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

Tell me if you think I’m wrong, but to me, it seems like a person who follows that code is one you might be okay with your daughter or son dating. Someone who is accountable, takes responsibility and has big goals with solid morals would probably be the ideal spouse, employee, boss, etc. Really, that list is pretty reasonable – “old-fashioned,” maybe, but nothing that is going to hurt you, that’s for sure.

The real question, of course, is whether Davies should have been suspended for the remainder of what has so far been an incredible season for the BYU team.

On the one hand, you have to admire the school for not taking the cop-out of saying, “Yes, you did this wrong, but there’s so much at stake right now that we will delay your punishment.” After all, that’s what happened at Ohio State – players suspended for next season, but not the current season’s national championship – and at UConn – Jim Calhoun suspended not for the remaining conference games and tournaments, but for next season.

On the other hand, everyone makes mistakes. Davies didn’t cheat on an exam; he didn’t take money from anyone; he wasn’t being a distraction in the locker room. He had sex with his girlfriend. Maybe that wasn’t the best decision – based on the current situation, it definitely wasn’t a good decision – but he is only a sophomore in college.

What it comes down to is this: Davies signed that agreement upon deciding to attend BYU. As such is the case, the university can punish him for violating that agreement however it decides. I wish I had a little more background on this situation, but from what I have read, my final conclusion is this:

If you knowingly break rules, you have to deal with them. It’s unfortunate for Davies’ teammates, especially, but it is what it is.

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