Hey ’Cats. This week I decided to steer my gaze over the nation at large in search of a juicy story. It didn’t take long for me to pinpoint the perfect issue to wax philosophical on.
In the opening days of March, Brigham Young University basketball was on top of the world. It was riding high with only a pair of losses, was top-10 ranked and was arguably the best college player in the country in guard Jimmer Fredette.
Then, without any warning, BYU’s administrators announced that forward sophomore Brandon Davies, the team’s leading rebounder, had violated the school’s Honor Code and was immediately dismissed from the team. Davies’ violation, which remained unspecified for a time, was later revealed to have been consensual sex with his girlfriend, an 18-year-old student at Arizona State University.
The Honor Code, for those unfamiliar with it, states that students must “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.”
OK. I have nothing against the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as an institution or against Mormons themselves; some of my best friends in high school were practicing Mormons. I also can respect BYU on one level in the sense that the university stuck to its guns and dismissed him from the team for the violation as per school policy.
But that’s where my agreement with the decision begins and ends. I have so many issues with this situation that it makes my head spin.
For starters, who reported Davies to BYU in the first place? He didn’t come forward on his own; the school approached him and essentially forced him to fess up. Was it someone from ASU, his girlfriend’s school, who saw BYU basketball on the rise and took an opportunity to sabotage the team’s NCAA tourney chances? Or was it another student at BYU trying to make himself or herself look good by ratting out an unworthy brother? I’m betting that’s the case; after all, the Honor Code tells students to “encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code,” even if it means turning them in to the administration.
Is that the kind of environment that should be promoted — one of constant suspicion and fear in which students are looking for any transgression to report to the powers that be? What a wonderful way to make stressed-out students even more nervous and subsequently knife many of your own tenants as Mormons by breeding distrust and secrecy among what your church wants to be: a big, happy family.
Furthermore, the Honor Code itself is a joke. You’re a college, BYU, not a training program for your next generation of church-goers. Yes, as a private institution you have the right to set your own rules, but even as a devout Christian I can’t respect a religious university that expects perfect adherence to an utterly unrealistic set of rules.
First of all, your religion believes in the teachings of Christ. That means that you acknowledge that as humans you will sin and you will sin frequently. How can you possibly reconcile this fact with a no-tolerance policy toward what your church considers sins, especially since many of the tenants in the Code aren’t even biblical. I don’t remember Christ espousing that “Thou shalt not consume caffeine.”
Also, I’ve never met anyone in my life (Mormon or non-Mormon) that doesn’t break at least one of those tenants every day. Does such a Mormon even exist? I’m talking swearing, drinking caffeine or even wearing baggy clothes, all of which are in the Code. It’s a wonder you have any students left at all, especially since college students don’t exactly have the same level of restraint that a mature adult does.
This whole situation stinks. Someone just suddenly decides to report one of BYU’s best players, and then the university immediately dismisses him from the team. I have to wonder if an average person at BYU would have been booted from school if he was reported — can you say example case?
As this situation continues to develop, we will see the true character of the university. If Davies is allowed to return to the team next year when he’s “learned his lesson,” thus continuing the media circus fixated on BYU as of late while still showing that the university sticks to its guns, I, for one, am crying foul.
Chris Forrer/For the Review
Chris Forrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.