Last week, Brigham Young University sophomore Brandon Davies was suspended for the remainder of the basketball season after he was found to have violated the school's honor code. More specifically, Davies had sex with his girlfriend.
As a school consistent with the ideals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU has different academic and conduct standards than most schools. Davies is not a Mormon, but he is expected to follow the university's honor code while attending school there.
The team had just moved up to a No. 3 ranking and was projected to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. This past season has been the biggest and most important in BYU basketball history, and Davies was an integral part of the team. He was the starting forward, leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for the Cougars. There are a few different things to take from this situation.
The first is that, at least on the outside looking in, it seems a bit ridiculous. There are hundreds of examples of players who have violated team and school rules and been able to come back to the team in time for an important game. Why was Davies banned for the entirety of the season? Would a three-game suspension have been punishment enough? Would the message still have gotten across to Davies? Only BYU administrators can truly answer that.
While BYU has a solid team even without Davies, it's going to be extremely difficult for the Cougars to make a run without their best big man; one off shooting night from Jimmer Fredette and they're going to be bounced. That wouldn't necessarily be the case with Davies in uniform.
On the other hand, you have to respect BYU's administrators for making the decision that they did. Davies agreed to go to BYU. He knew what he was getting into when he signed his letter of intent. The university could have suspended him for one game and no one would have looked down on the decision. The school was also in line to make an obscene amount of money if the Cougars had made it to the Sweet Sixteen or further. This is one of the few times I've seen a Division I school and team pass up on money because of a moral issue.
The question remains, however: Is having consensual sex with your girlfriend really grounds for suspension from a team? The BYU honor code requires students to, among other things, be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, obey the law, use clean language, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse, observe dress and grooming standards and encourage others to follow the Honor Code. But in today's world, can one realistically expect a 19-year-old to never have a cup of coffee in the morning, let alone abstain from sex with his girlfriend?
The answer is clearly no, and that's why the BYU administrators need to get a reality check and re-evaluate their "Honor Code."
BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said, "We're doing everything we can to kind of come in and rescue him and get him back on track."
Really? Brandon Davies needs to be rescued? Holmoe has to be truly delusional if he honestly believes what he said.
Left unanswered is how exactly anyone ever found out about Davies' sexual relations with his girlfriend to begin with. There is no real reason for any other student to rat him out; the entire student body is behind the Cougars' run this season. The only explanation is that either Davies or his girlfriend came clean during an interview with BYU administration. If that's the case, Davies has to be commended on some level for putting his morals above basketball. It seems highly unlikely that this is actually the case, though, and so the question remains unanswered.