Back in 1981, BYU was down by one point with just nine seconds left in an NCAA tourney matchup against perennial power Notre Dame. That’s when an undersized guard named Danny Ainge took an inbound base from the far baseline and went coast to coast via one of the most spectacular drives in NCAA basketball history. His layup with under two seconds remaining gave BYU the victory, and for that feat, Ainge’s name is the first one many would associate with BYU’s program.
Until this year, that is. Thanks to another undersized guard, Jimmer Fredette. The kid’s jumper is so deadly that he’s officially in range the moment he steps inside the gym. His 28 points per game are a big reason why the BYU Cougars have climbed as high as number 3 in the polls.
But suddenly, it’s neither Ainge nor Fredette who is most closely associated with BYU basketball. It’s Brandon Davies, the 6’9″ sophomore who leads BYU in rebounding this season. He was suspended from the BYU basketball team on Tuesday for violating the school’s honor code and is ineligible to play for the rest of the season. His absence will severely compromise the Cougar’s best season in 30 years and has many people asking the same question: did the punishment fit the crime?
Today, multiple sources are reporting what that crime is: premarital sex. It’s rumored that Brandon Davies’ girlfriend is pregnant. So did he deserve to get kicked off the team?
You bet he did. After all, he broke BYU’s (incredibly stupid, totally unrealistic and embarrassingly outdated) honor code. Meredith wrote about that honor code yesterday on Babble.
B.Y.U. is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and its honor code requires academic honesty, chastity and grooming standards. Banned behaviors include gambling, cursing and homosexual relations, and coffee, alcohol and tobacco and “erotic” or “indecent” materials are all prohibited as well.
So if Brandon Davies’ girlfriend is, indeed, pregnant, then it’s fairly obvious he failed in the chastity department. But I’m not sure which is more asinine: the school’s honor code, or any young person in America agreeing to live by it. Actually, I am sure. The answer is (b) any young person in America agreeing to live by it. But just barely.
Look, BYU can set up any policy it likes. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like the policy. And though I would never encourage my kids to engage in premarital sex, I certainly am not dumb enough to think they’ll never at least be tempted to engage in such an act. Cursing? I know plenty of good folks who curse. Plenty more who cursed during college. But forget the premarital sex and cursing. The thing I have the biggest problem with is BYU’s policy regarding homosexual relations.
Still, BYU can define “honor” in any way it chooses. And BYU obviously chooses to define it as one might expect a Mormon school to define it. But its honor code is so drastically out of touch with today’s culture that it seems pathetically antiquated. BYU’s nickname alone, for example, is in violation of the honor code given that “cougar” has come to be defined as horny middle-aged women in search of younger boy-toy sexual partners, which makes the term “erotic” in my book.
But here’s the deal. There are obviously countless people who wouldn’t agree with me — people who wholeheartedly support BYU’s honor code. They would argue that having coffee is a bad thing (really?). And that cursing is a gateway to hell. And that homosexuals are bad people.
So while I, personally, think such people are idiots, I also think anyone who is not 100% in agreement with these puritanical expectations are even bigger idiots if they decide to go to school there.
So does Brandon Davies deserve to be suspended for the rest of the year? Sadly, yes.
Note to self — scratch BYU off of the potential college list for the kids.