BYU's Honor Code Teaches Morals and Values, Or Does It?

Marcelle EnglishContributor IMarch 8, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 05:  Brandon Davies #0 of the Brigham Young University Cougars shoots against Derrick Jasper #5 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center January 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. BYU won 89-77.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When the story broke about elite sophomore Brandon Davies being dismissed from BYU’s men’s basketball team, I said to myself, "Here we go again; another player being reprimanded for doing something stupid."

Now when I say "stupid," the usual comes to mind: drugs, alcohol, etc., but never in a million years did I think it was sex.

That’s right—Brandon Davies was dismissed from his college basketball team for having SEX with his girlfriend!

I’m not sure how many of you actually know the history of BYU (Brigham Young University), located in the beautiful mountains of Utah. Well, the private college is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which is the largest religious university, and the third-largest private university in the United States.

With all of that being said, there are some things that will and will not fly at BYU that would normally be okay at a "traditional" university. When you enroll at BYU you’re REQUIRED to follow an honor codeyes, required!

I know that I’m speaking a foreign language to some of you, but the honor code mandates behavior in line with the church’s teachings such as academic honesty, adherence to dress and grooming standards and abstinence from extramarital sex and the consumption of drugs and alcohol.

With all of the scandals that happen in professional sports today, is it really wrong to hold these student athletes to such a high standard?  We are so consumed with winning, being the best, and bragging rights that we sometimes forget that a small percentage of these college athletes go to the pros or even have anything to do with that sport after they graduate.

Yes, I know that college athletics is big business, but I still ask the question, is it really wrong to expect a lot of these college athletes?

For the last couple of days I have heard the rants of coaches, players and—of course—the media. They argue that now, without Davies, BYU has no chance of going to the Final Four. Granted he’s a great player, and he does garner some NBA potential—but are we going to continue to set aside the morals and values of a people for the glory of the win?

Putting aside the religious beliefs of BYU, is what they are saying in their honor code any different from the general practices that we should live by in our everyday lives? Probably not, but the sex appeal of professional sports has gotten so far away from the game, that the college athletes are only living out what they see on TV.

A couple weeks back at Super Bowl XLV, I heard former All-Pro running back Eddie George say, “When I was playing we cared about improving our craft; today’s players only care about improving their lifestyle.”

The university spokeswoman said in a press conference that an honor code review is under way in the Davies case to determine whether or not the sophomore will be allowed to remain at the school, as well as his status with the team next season.

In BYU’s first game without Davies, the Cougars lost 82-64 to New Mexico.

I was really encouraged by the words of the team’s head coach, Dave Rose, after the loss.

“Everybody who comes to BYU, every student if they’re an athlete or not an athlete, they make a commitment when they come," said Rose. "A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it’s a commitment they make. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about commitment.”

Whether it’s for religious, moral or general purpose, the values that these students walk away with after they leave college is what’s being taught by teachers, coaches or other students.

Why not show them it’s not always about coming in first, or getting the job, or saying "I’m the best;" it’s about having the commitment to yourself so that when you look in the mirror you are able to say, “I was true to myself."