Why I’m rooting for BYU

By Kathy Orton I’m rooting for BYU, and not just because I think Jimmer Fredette is one of the most … Continued

By Kathy Orton

I’m rooting for BYU, and not just because I think Jimmer Fredette is one of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball today.

The reason I’m throwing my support behind the Cougars is because the school recently did something few colleges and universities are willing to do these days: It stood by its beliefs.

BYU dismissed Brandon Davies from the men’s basketball team, even though the sophomore center leads the team in rebounding and is a double-digit scorer, because he violated the school’s honor code. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that Davies admitted to having premarital sex.

Say what you will about BYU’s honor code, which requires students to live a chaste and virtuous life and abstain from alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and illegal drugs. Those virtues seem antiquated, almost quaint in this day and age. Plenty of athletes at other schools do far worse and continue to play their sports.

But Brandon Davies knew the rules when he chose to play for BYU. He grew up in Provo, where the school is located, for goodness sake. He knew that BYU is America’s largest religious university, that it is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that it has the most religious student body of any U.S. college campus, according to a survey by the Princeton Review. In fact, Davies is Mormon himself.

If he didn’t feel that he could live up to those standards, he shouldn’t have gone to school there.

And just because Davies is a key player on a team that has gone 27-3 overall and 13-2 in the Mountain West Conference, surged to No. 3 in the Associated Press poll and was being talked about as a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, which is unheard of for a squad from such a lightly regarded conference, the school shouldn’t make an exception to those standards.

College is about learning, and all of life’s lessons don’t come in the classroom. Davies has to learn he is accountable for his actions. Too often, because a player can make a jump shot, or hit a fastball, or throw a touchdown pass, we look the other way when he does something wrong because we see the loss of those skills as a greater setback than the benefit of holding him responsible for his mistakes.

Let’s remember: Davies hasn’t been kicked out of school. He just can’t play basketball.

Davies reminds me of Tony Skinn, the George Mason point guard who missed the Patriots’ first-round NCAA tournament game in 2006 because he was serving a suspension for sucker punching Hofstra’s Loren Stokes in the groin during the CAA tournament semifinals.

George Mason was going to the NCAA tournament for the first and only time in Skinn’s career. The Patriots were to play Michigan State, a Final Four team from the previous year. It was unlikely they could beat the Spartans without their senior point guard.

Yet, George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga didn’t make an exception for Skinn, even though in punishing Skinn by denying him perhaps his only chance to play in the NCAA tournament he was also punishing the other players who would be at a disadvantage playing without their playmaker.

I believe in karma, that a person’s actions and conduct determine his destiny. Which is why I believe that because Larranaga didn’t lower his standards and allow Skinn to play against Michigan State he and the Patriots were rewarded not only with a victory over the Spartans but a run that took them all the way to the Final Four.

Perhaps that will be BYU’s fate as well. But no matter what happens, I think the Cougars have already won.

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  • WmarkW

    I’ll look for a similar column when BYU throws a woman off a team for getting an abortion.

  • JedMM

    Great article! Thanks! Go Cougars!

  • pumpy25

    First of all how disingenuous of Mr. Holmoe to state “It is very common in these situations where people won’t understand. This is something for us we live it.” Most poeple understand the concept of an honor code in reference to a private religious institution. BYU is NOT the only private religious university which requires all students to adhere. For example the University of Notre Dame has a fairly strict honor code to which the students must abide. The difference is that violations of the honor code at Notre Dame are, for the most part, kept confidential no matter who the violator is in an effort to show integrity to ALL parties involved. This confidentiality protects the student from media attention and scrutiny. Typically, this situation would have been handled by stating the particular student athlete violated team policy and the situation is currently under review, nothing further. In the case of Brandon Davies BYU seems to have no adherence to the rule or concept of confidentiality. Mr. Holmoe rationalitation for this is that everybody will be asking,”‘where was he.” So let them ask. If the honor code is truly present for the benefit of the student in an effort to make them moral people it should not matter that other, particularily the media want to know the specific details. The interest of the student/student athlete should be paramount, in situations like this, not the university he’she is attending. It seems clear that, BYU, by releasing the details of this suspension to the public and particulariy the media, is promoting its own interest at the expence of a 19 year old student athlete. Even if we assume that Brandon Davies disclosed this very personal and intimate situation in his life, to BYU officials, it would appear that the same BYU violated the trust and respect incumbent of the confessor, once the information is received. Shame on you MR. Holmoe and BYU for you disingenuous love for Brandon Davies. You must ask yourself again, IN THIS INSTANCE, is the honor code present for the benefir of this student athlete, or to be used as a marketing tool to promote a positive public image of BYU, an inage it so desperately craves.

  • skathesoul

    Re the previous comment: You should do a little more research before writing such a lengthy statement. BYU has a strict policy of not disclosing what particular part of the honor code was violated. BYU expressly declined to disclose what the violation was in this instance. Whoever revealed that Davies was engaging in premarital sex, it was not BYU.

  • lepidopteryx

    Personally, I would never attend a school where drinking a beer or a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, or getting laid were grounds for disciplinary action, but he did choose to attend such a school, he did agree to abide by those rules, he did freely admit to having broken one of them, and he is accepting the consequences that he knew were attached to them.

  • ahemahem

    The article was okay until you went weird, asserting that GM beat MSU because of karma relative to the coach’s decision. What did MSU do to earn that? STUPID.And why didn’t GM go on to win the tourney? Did another team operate with even greater integrity the weekend before?

  • persiflage

    ‘Which is why I believe that because Larranaga didn’t lower his standards and allow Skinn to play against Michigan State he and the Patriots were rewarded not only with a victory over the Spartans but a run that took them all the way to the Final Four.’That’s not karma, that’s called religious superstition with a touch of self-righteousness. Apparently the poor fellow’s Mormon upbringing and contractual promises were insufficient to control mother nature’s hormonal surging – thus was he outed as a normal sexual male who happened to ‘get caught’ doing what legions of college students are doing on a daily basis – having sex. No doubt he and his girlfriend will be publicly shunned and totally humiliated – thus forcing a move to a community college in Salt Lake City. He should take solice in knowing that he isn’t the only one of his fellow students at BYU that have broken this so-called ‘honor code’…..many times over. He just got caught.Another fallen teenager, and I suspect one of his own teammates turned him in. He just should have kept he magic underwear on, and he’d have lived to sink another hoop………

  • rafaber

    Just a quick comment on what “PERSIFLAGE” said below, Brandon Davies actually didn’t get caught breaking the honor code. He came forward himself and admitted to it. Also, I do not think at all that he is publicly shunned. In fact, most people respect him that he came forward himself and admitted to it. Did he slip up? Yes, he did. And we’re all here to help him back up.