As some of my readers may already know, BYU recently suspended its starting basketball center, Brandon Davies, for violating the university honor code. (Some sources say that he engaged in pre-marital sex with his girlfriend). Whatever he did, he will be out for the rest of the season.
This may not have received so much publicity if BYU did not have a 27-2 record and were likely to receive a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. This could have been a dream year for BYU. Davies is a double-digit per game scorer and the team’s leading rebounder. But he is also a Mormon who agreed to BYU’s rules when he enrolled.
This is not the first time BYU placed beliefs over athletic success. Back in April 2010 we blogged about the BYU women’s rugby team who forfeited a match in the College National Rugby Championship because they were scheduled to play on a Sunday.
Over at ESPN, Pat Forde commends BYU for standing by its principles. Here is a taste:
What makes this such a powerful testament is the fact that so many schools have cravenly abandoned their standards at such a time as this, embracing athletic expediency over institutional principle. It happens so often that we don’t even raise an eyebrow at it anymore.
Player arrests or other antisocial behaviors are minimized as youthful mistakes, with strenuous institutional effort put into counterspinning any negative publicity. Academic underachievement is dismissed as merely the price of being competitive in big-time athletics. “Indefinite” suspensions often last only as long as they’re convenient — timed to coincide with exhibition games or low-stress games against overmatched opponents.
That certainly didn’t happen in this instance at BYU.
Over at the Huffington Post, Rabbi Joshua Hess writes:
Although the Cougars aspirations for March Madness are going to suffer as a result of this transgression, let’s not forget the positive side to this story: As collegiate athletic teams around the country are violating significant NCAA rules without punishment or penalty from their universities, except when they need to save face, it’s great to see BYU restore some integrity and morality to its broken system. These types of decisions give us hope that Athletic Directors can choose right over wrong, in a field that so often chooses wrong over right.
But he adds:
Davies violated the honor code. Unfortunately, his transgression doesn’t only affect himself; it affects the other 11 players on his team who had high hopes of making a splash at the NCAA tournament. Sources report that he is remorseful and heartbroken. As a Mormon himself, Davies let a lot of his people down and is now facing expulsion from the University.
I hope that BYU will consider his remorse as the beginning of his repentance process, and see to it that he is given a second chance to succeed at the University. If the University does show compassion for Davies and allows him to remain a student at BYU, I am sure that he will use this event as a way to grow closer to God. It’s the right decision to make, because that is what religion is all about.
Mr. Chase says
For another viewpoint. Not sure what to think myself.