Brandon Davies suspension: BYU stands on principle

BYU basketball star Bradon Davies was suspended from the basketball team this week, reportedly for admitting to having premarital sex. … Continued

BYU basketball star Bradon Davies was suspended from the basketball team this week, reportedly for admitting to having premarital sex. Read more on the case here.


BYU’s Brandon Davies dunks against Colorado State’s during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Provo, Utah, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. BYU beat Colorado State 84-76. (AP Photo/George Frey) (George Frey – AP)

When I first heard about Brandon Davies suspension from BYU basketball for an honor code violation, my instantaneous reaction was probably like everyone else’s: “Oh no, what’s that going to do to this incredible BYU season?” About one nanosecond later, the next thought: “But good for BYU for its stand on principle.”

I wondered about the public reaction, however. Were we about to see endless commentaries about how the honor code was too strict, and that Brigham Young University needed to move into the 21st century? My first inkling that something different was about to happen came the next morning when Joe Scarborough was having his usual round-table conversation on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Amid the banter came this clear message: At a time when so many people and institutions rationalize behavior, here at last is a stand on principle. Whether or not you agree with the specifics of the honor code, the school was willing to sacrifice popularity and acclaim for a principle. Someone on the set even wondered whether they could send their kids to BYU.

That sentiment was echoed through the day – on ESPN, USA Today, and in newspapers and blogs from San Diego to New York. The principle is clear. We commit to a standard of behavior, and then we do what we say we’ll do. That’s what an honor code is. It’s facing consequences for our choices. It’s certainly what Mormons believe. It’s consistent with doing our best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

But fortunately, it doesn’t end there. BYU isn’t going to throw this young man aside. Ultimately, the honor code is as much about the individual as the team or the school. Brandon Davies is more than a trending topic on Google. He is a young man full of energy, talent and opportunity, all of which remain present as he moves through what is undoubtedly a difficult time in his life. While this one mistake may redirect his life for a time it does not define who he is. Those that care for him, including his church leaders, are reaching out to help, guide and support. Friends, family and true fans likewise. There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God. No one knows yet how that will happen, but I do know that they will do everything they can to make it work and help him put all this behind him.

It was interesting to read about another BYU athlete’s reaction to all of this. Former BYU football star Reno Mahe suffered a similar tough lesson in 1998 after an honor code violation got him dropped from the football program.

“I’ve always shared this with people, that it was probably one of the best things that had happened to me,” he told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. “I appreciate what BYU did to me. I appreciate the honor code and what it stands for. I appreciate that they enforce it. You get a lot of schools that say they have codes, but I don’t think anyone enforces it like BYU does…. It’s a great school. It’s a one-of-a-kind school.” As everyone knows, Reno went back to BYU and ended up playing in the NFL.

BYU is a one-of-a-kind school. But it’s not the only school with principles or honor codes. And wouldn’t it be a good thing if such principles and standards were so well and routinely enthroned that when they were applied in cases of honor code violations, they didn’t generate coast to coast publicity.

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  • WmarkW

    Brigham Young, the university, is to be commended for taking a strong stand for the principles of its founder. If you want to have sex with 55 women, you need to marry them.

  • volkmare

    Good article, brother otterson, i agree completelyMark

  • LarryRichman

    Thanks to BYU for standing on principle!

  • lepidopteryx

    I can’t imagine wanting to attend a school where drinking a beer or a cup of coffee, lighting up a Camel or a Meerschaum, or getting laid are grounds for disciplinary action, but Davies did choose to attend such a school, did agree to abide by those rules, did freely admit to breaking one of them, and has accepted the punishment meted out. So what makes this headline material?

  • haveaheart

    “BYU isn’t going to throw this young man aside…There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God.”This story stands in stark contrast to the stories of the “lost boys” of the fundamentalist/polygamist branches of the Mormon church.In those communities, older men take multiple wives. Simple arithmetic shows that such a lifestyle will result in many males who won’t be able to have even a single wife. Consequently, these young men are routinely driven from their communities and thrown into a world they don’t understand, with no support, money, or resources. So many of these boys end up as statistics — dead from drugs/alcohol and often forced into prostitution.So, what does this have to do with the squeaky-clean mainline Mormon church? Didn’t they renounce plural marriage eons ago? They’re in no way connected with these fundamentalist groups, right? They have no responsibility for what happens in these communities, right?Wrong.The truth is that it was their church that established the polygamous lifestyle in the U.S. — made it, in fact, a fundamental requirement for ascending to their celestial fairyland in the sky. But the fact that they renounced polygamy in order to attain statehood for Utah doesn’t erase the history of the early church.So, what is the responsibility of the Mormon church in regard to these “lost boys”? Well, clearly it’s not a legal responsibility, or they’d have been held to some federal requirement to give assistance by now.No, it’s a moral and ethical responsibility, which the church shirks at every turn. No one is better placed than mainline church members to help these young men — who are little more than chidren — assimilate into mainstream American life. Yet no one steps forward to do so.For a group of people who are always braying about how much they help society through their charitable efforts, you’d think they’d have an organization in place to take in these kids, place them in good Mormon families, and help them become regular and upright citizens.Instead, the church’s rigid, inflexible stand against acknowledging anything about the FLDS causes them to turn a blind eye and a cold shoulder on these suffering kids who are the product of the original Mormon doctrine.So, Mr. Otterson, until you and your church take responsibility for helping these lost youngsters have a decent life, you’re in no position to boast of the Mormon church’s care and support of kids who go astray.And you really shouldn’t be babbling on about “honor code principles” either. What is honorable about the way your church ignores these boys?Instead of spending millions of hours baptizing dead people, maybe your members should be directed to locate, shelter, and care for the live children who have been abused by doctrines that originated with your church’s founder.

  • Sajanas

    Sheesh. Commending a school for sticking to its principals? There is no honor in upholding foolish, restrictive, and frankly civil rights violating principals. Its an LDS institution, and its their right to be as strict as they want for their dime, but don’t pretend that they’re some sort of saints because they force people to obey their moral values by legislation rather than by actually convincing people that their way is right.

  • Eichendorff

    Boy, the anti-Mormon trolls are out tonight, aren’t they?

  • ITs-TIME

    …………|……/……….O░N░W░A░P░O●W░O░R░D░P░R░E░S░S●C░O░M

  • nitalvega

    Why is there so much anger and irrational inappropriate comments towards this institution and church. Sounds like no one forces you to sign this honor code. You have a choice if you want to abide by it or not. This young man decided to abide it. We need more institutions that students can walk away from with not only the knowledge and skills for a job but good moral character. Good for BYU enforcing their honor code.

  • persiflage

    ‘There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God. No one knows yet how that will happen, but I do know that they will do everything they can to make it work and help him put all this behind him.’And all because a young man got laid outside the bounds of holy matrimony. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t absolutely pitiful. No doubt Mitt Romney will be asked to render an opinion, very soon now.

  • persiflage

    ‘There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God. No one knows yet how that will happen, but I do know that they will do everything they can to make it work and help him put all this behind him.’And all because a young man got laid outside the bounds of holy matrimony. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t absolutely pitiful. No doubt Mitt Romney will be asked to render an opinion, very soon now.

  • persiflage

    ‘There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God. No one knows yet how that will happen, but I do know that they will do everything they can to make it work and help him put all this behind him.’And all because a young man got laid outside the bounds of holy matrimony. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t absolutely pitiful. No doubt Mitt Romney will be asked to render an opinion, very soon now.

  • globalone

    “And all because a young man got laid outside the bounds of holy matrimony. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t absolutely pitiful.”This is what TV and Twinkies have done to some people.The issue is not that he “got laid”, but that he broke the contract he voluntarily entered into with the University. He was free to attend any number of other colleges or universities in the country, but he CHOSE this one.I’m not Mormon and I have historically been quite critical of the religion itself, but in this case, and given the facts known, I applaud both the student (who had the courage and conviction to take responsibility for his actions) and the University (for holding the student accountable for the commitment he had made).

  • volkmare

    globalone Well stated…Mark

  • persiflage

    ‘PS: Mr. Mitt ROMNEY Shall Have a Lady V.Prez!’I dare say she won’t be a Mormon.

  • ITs-TIME

    Mr. P E R S I F L A G E, etalMr. ROMNEY wl choose somethin like LADY-LiBERTY!

  • ITs-TIME

    ooooopppsaHooolahoop.

  • ITs-TIME

    .

  • Gilja

    Why were some of the post completely irrelevant and ignorant comments? People may slander what they would like and find trillions of bits of information to discredit what they are against. “What ye seek ye shall find” whether it is based on knowledge or a lack of understanding. Plus the comment about spending time saving children who are alive: I have never heard of an organization that is more readily avialable to serve people and help them to help themselves. Anyhow, to address the relevant topic: Davies made his choice, knowing that it was not correct according to the standards which he agreed to. Why does there need to be a fuss?

  • schnauzer21

    While I think that having that particular issue listed as an honor code violation is just a little 19th century, but it IS there and it is nice to see a school actually enforce its regs evenly regardles of who that violator happens to be. All too often top the rule breaking by top athletes is swept under the rug in order to keep the winning streak. If more schools followed their own rules, I think we would see less law flaunting in the pro leagues.

  • abunkerfan

    What I find funniest about all of this is that if the student had been suspended from any of the military academies, for ANY honor code violation, the only head lines would have been that the star basketball player had been suspended. There would not be these national debates about the validity of having honor codes, the morals or inconvenience of having a strict code of conduct, and the academy would be applauded for weeding out another individual incapable of keeping his voluntary commitments. Has anyone taken into consideration the consequences that the girl friend is facing, with family, friends, and the administration? ALL students at BYU sign that honor code.But, to any of you strictly interested in the consequences this has on BYU basketball, you will be happy to know that team is a strong one on its own. After all, they just handed the University of Wyoming boys basketball team a thorough stomping.

  • mlps1234

    What an amazing thing for a young man to be willing to make right the commitments he has not kept. With all of the scandals of our modern day, we need more people who are willing to make and keep commitments. Davies had to understand that it would be no minor issue to let it be known what he had done. He was willing to pay the consequences to make what was wrong right again. That is courage and what would have happened if BYU had let it go? What would that teach that individual and all those watching? We need to be a nation that not only respects BYU and Davies but that respects honor and honesty.

  • kayleebaca

    Ummm excuse me people but I am a mormon. And to just let you know, you wouldn’t believe how ingrained these young folks are in the goddamn church. Yeah he may have signed the honor code BUT because you ARE mormon you kind of are EXPECTED to go to a mormon university just like a male is EXPECTED to go on a mission. I think because of the humilitation he received from all this and how the f*ckin leaders lie to the people saying that they actually CARE for him is all bullsh*t. I mean come on! if they really cared for him they wouldn’t make this public! I personally think he should leave the church and be happy.

  • Eichendorff

    “Ummm excuse me people but I am a mormon.”Yeah, right. And I’m the Pope.