The Honor Code of BYU. I will bet that in the era of the garganuan media machine and the 24 hour news cycle, never have these words been uttered so frequently as they have during this last week. Sure, every once in a while the media catches hold of a story that thrusts our quaint little rules into the public sphere, like when Harvey Unga, the starting running back for BYU was dismissed for the very same thing. That dismissal was small potatoes compared to this bombshell announcement; Brandon Davies, the third leading scorer and leading rebounder for the Cougars, was being dismissed from the team for violating BYU’s honor code by having premarital sexual relations. Between that case and this, there are additional elements that have caught the attention of our national zeitgeist and garnered a tremendous amount of attention for the LDS university.
That team was not #3 in the nation. That team was not the best team that BYU had ever fielded in that sport. That team didn’t really have their eyes set on a national championship.
It is quite astonishing to see talking heads flummoxed by the rigor of this honor code, and even more astonished that a team on its way to quite possibly its most glorious postseason in modern history would boot a player based on a stringent code of conduct. Auburn fought tooth and nail to have its star quarterback Cam Newton stay eligible when it had to be quite obvious to even the most vehement apologist that some type of NCAA violation went on. What then did BYU do when this infraction came to light?
It dismissed one of its best players during a possible title run.
(By the way, please remember what BYU did next year when Ohio State sits several of its football players for five games for an infraction that occurred before the Sugar Bowl, in which they played.)
The true miracle of this story is that when this violation of the Honor Code happened, Davies, with everything in the world to lose, owned up to it with his team and accepted the predetermined consequences his university brought to bear on him. Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, an academic institution said “There are some things more important than winning, honor and integrity being among them.” Unlike the Steroid cheats, the NCAA sneaks, and the get-away-with-what-you-can crowd, this young man, whether he came forward or was caught, owned up to what he did and performed a small miracle.
He said that he was sorry.
While this story will not enjoy the same media attention as the self-destructive media parade of the maniacal, porn devouring, tiger blood flowing, adonis DNA’ed Charlie Sheen, this story highlights the best in humanity. I admire both Brandon Davies, for his bravery to accept these consequences, and BYU, for having the fortitude to make a tough but absolutely right decision. I have to say, I have never been prouder to be a Cougar, even though my facial hair is currently in violation of the Honor Code.