Saturday, March 05, 2011

I Guess You Have To Admire BYU For Enforcing Its Standards, Even On Star Athletes

I never really understood this rule, though:

Brigham Young University officials on Thursday stood by the decision to dismiss a standout player on the Cougars' highly ranked men's basketball team, saying they are treating Brandon Davies just like they would any other student.

The school's athletic department announced Tuesday that Davies -- a starting forward from Provo would no longer be part of the team this season. The university came into the week ranked third in the nation in the Associated Press Top 25 and Coaches polls.

Officials did not specify why, exactly, Davies was being suspended during a press conference Thursday.

But the Salt Lake Tribune, citing "multiple sources," said that the sophomore violated the honor code provision prohibiting premarital sex among students.
Encouraging such behavior in children is much different from requiring it from adults.


Happy Elf Mom said...

Hello, Darren. I would disagree. One goes to college voluntarily. The school has a reputation it wants to uphold in the larger community and these are rules all students are agreeing to abide by during their years there. I'd rather see someone stringently following regulations than allowing for hypocrisy. JMO and hope you are having a great weekend. :)

socalmike said...

Maybe he was taking a Northwestern extension class.

Darren said...

Good one!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Happy Elf Moon. BYU is a private university, and the contract students sign has a requirement to follow BYU's honor code. We may argue that the code is wrong, but Mr. Davies signed it of his own free will.

To recap: He pledged to follow the honor code, or be punished. He violated the honor code. He was punished.

Good job BYU. Let's hope Mr. Davies accepts responsibility for his actions and becomes wiser.

Darren said...

I don't argue that a bit, and I don't fault BYU for enforcing it. In fact, I applaud them for enforcing on a star athlete. But it's still a silly rule, one I cannot understand.

Anonymous said...

And is he the only one being punished? What about his teammates who now play without him? Not saying he shouldn't be punished, just throwing out another possible way to look at the situation.

mazenko said...

Anonymous makes a great point. It's like the teacher who can't figure out who disrupted class, so she gives the whole class a detention.

Too many other people are affected - especially for a team that could seriously compete for the national championship. Exposure means serious opportunities for those other young men. If BYU is serious, but wants to be fair, they could have suspended him to end the season, allowed him to be with his team for the tourney, and then kicked him out of school after BYU finishes the tournament.

pseudotsuga said...

BYU is a private, religious university. Those who attend BYU pay a tuition which is heavily subsidized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That is why tuition is astonishingy low at BYU, when compared to many universities. One of the teachings of that church is that sex outside of marriage is sin. Thus, the church "calls the shots" as to what is acceptable behavior at one of its universities (there is also BYU-Hawaii and BYU-Hawaii). Hence the honor code (no sexual behavior outside of marriage, no alcohol, no cheating, etc.)

One may disagree that sex outside of marriage is a sin, but the rule itself isn't "silly", since the church teaches (of whom Davies is a memeber) that this is a "higher law" that God requires "his people" to follow. If one slips up, as Davies did (multiple times, I understand--he confessed after his girlfriend became pregnant), then repentance is necessary.

Anonymous said...

"But it's still a silly rule, one I cannot understand."

Could you find someone at BYU (maybe their website has a section) and ask them the reason? I doubt that the reason is a secret ... plus I'd be curious about the official reason.

-Mark Roulo

C T said...

LDS BYU grad here, regular reader of your blog. Pseudotsuga described LDS Church teachings accurately, and nearly all BYU students really do refrain from premarital sex. (It actually makes for a terrific social scene for LDS young adults because of the support for our moral code, but that's a tangent.) As to what the official reason is, Davies committed a "noncriminal violation of the BYU Honor Code". The details are confidential and will remain so, as they should. Maybe the Salt Lake Tribune did uncover the truth about what the Honor Code violation was, but BYU is unlikely to ever confirm it.

James said...

I'm not a spokesman for BYU, but I am an alumnus and am familiar with the Honor Code. I'm also going to assume that the rumors are true and the player did get his girlfriend pregnant.

BYU is indeed owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the Mormons). It was started by the Church in the 19th century and was founded on the Church's moral principles. This has not changed, and today BYU is heavily funded by the Church and is one of its public faces. There is no clear line between the Church and BYU. Students don't have to be Mormon (although the player in question is), but they do have to agree to follow the Honor Code.

It is Mormon doctrine (and it is also held by many other religions) that sex outside of marriage is a serious sin. It is the sincere belief of BYU's board of trustees (who are all authorities in the Church), as well as most of BYU's students, that such sin puts a person's soul in jeopardy regardless of his talent on the court.

A major reason why BYU has sports teams is for public relations purposes. Allowing any player to remain on a team who is violating a major tenet of the Church's doctrines defeats the purpose of maintaining those teams. It would suggest that the school and the Church put basketball above their religious principles. Although standing by their principles may require sacrifice on the part of the school and the team, it is also the Mormon belief that a principle that you're not willing to sacrifice for is utterly worthless.

Thus, BYU's perspective is that a) pre-marital sex is a soul-endangering sin that should not be taken lightly and disciplinary action cannot wait until the end of the tournament and b) that the basketball team is expected to represent the principles of the school/Church in addition to its athletic talent. From this point of view, removing the player for the team was the logical choice.

If BYU were required to choose between its devotion to the fundamental beliefs of the Church and the continuation of its sports programs, I can assure you that BYU would eliminate the sports.