College athletics are often faced with the dilemma of rules and restrictions, and how to deal with student athletes that break these rules. Not a year goes by without some controversy, whether it is recruiting violations, athlete misconduct, or some situation that demands disciplinary action. How a school handles these situations are a strong indication of a school’s character, and where their priorities lie.
This past week Brigham Young University (BYU) suspended one of its starting basketball players, Brandon Davies, for the remainder of the season for breaking the school’s honor code. BYU is ranked #3 in the nation and is poised to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Their season has been highlighted by the stellar play of Jimmer Fredette. Davies was suspended for having sexual relations with his girlfriend. BYU, which is mostly a Mormon institution, has strict guidelines for the behavior of its students. These guidelines include no drinking, no sex before marriage, no facial hair, no caffeine, and some other rules of conduct that mostly have to do with following Mormon principles, which put a premium on taking superb care of your body. There have been conflicting views on whether BYU made the right decision, especially during a season where their basketball team has a legitimate shot at winning a national title. In my opinion BYU did the right thing.
BYU’s honor code is more important than basketball wins. When they recruit a player they are told what the honor code is, and upon accepting a scholarship the student agrees to abide by it. The penalty for a violation is not always suspension, it varies on the nature of the offense, and the history of the offender. In this case Brandon Davies broke one the main rules of the code, and thus was faced with a season-ending suspension. It should not matter that he was an important player on the basketball team, or if he made any other contributions to the university. A rule is a rule. Many times in college, and in the professional ranks, people are given preferential treatment based on their success. This causes dissention among others, and damages the organization’s credibility. Auburn and the NCAA were criticized for going “easy” on Cam Newton when all the controversy was swirling around him.(https://razzandjazzsports.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/pimping-his-child-by-marc-razz-rasbury/ or https://razzandjazzsports.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/cam-newton-investigation-should-be-an-eye-opener-for-ncaa-by-aaron-%e2%80%9cthe-inkwell%e2%80%9d-smith-november-18-2010/) The Cougars now face a tougher road during March Madness, but the integrity of their school remains stronger than ever. BYU stood by their policies, which lets everyone that wants to attend the school know that their honor code is of great importance.