The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Virtue and Chastity > Victory and Championships

Posted by demkid on March 3, 2011

At least, that’s how it works at Brigham Young University.  On Tuesday, starting center and leading rebounder Brandon Davies was dismissed from the BYU basketball team after he admitted to having sex with his girlfriend.  The most recent rumor is that his girlfriend is pregnant.  Of course, premarital sex is a big no-no for Mormons, and BYU’s honor code also requires students to be honest; abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse; and attend church regularly.  I really wonder if there’s more to this story.  It’s hard to believe that Davies just decided to come out with this fact at this point in the season, and on the same day that the Cougars (27-2 overall) rose to #3 in the national polls.  They were poised to perhaps be a 1-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, but that’s all gone now, as they lost yesterday at home to New Mexico by 18 points.  Was Davies actually upholding one principle of the honor code by admitting his violation of another?  How ironic!

I’ve heard lots of people applaud BYU in the last day for standing by its honor code and for putting standards above victories.  Pat Forde on ESPN compared this stance with recent happenings at other schools:

What makes this such a powerful testament is the fact that so many schools have cravenly abandoned their standards at such a time as this, embracing athletic expediency over institutional principle. It happens so often that we don’t even raise an eyebrow at it anymore.

Player arrests or other antisocial behaviors are minimized as youthful mistakes, with strenuous institutional effort put into counterspinning any negative publicity. Academic underachievement is dismissed as merely the price of being competitive in big-time athletics. “Indefinite” suspensions often last only as long as they’re convenient — timed to coincide with exhibition games or low-stress games against overmatched opponents.

That certainly didn’t happen in this instance at BYU.

That’s all well and good, and it’s true that Davies knew what he was getting himself into, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still find this all a bit uncomfortable.  People are going out of their way to applaud a school that banned a player because he had sex?  They’re applauding a school that assesses penalties for going to Starbucks and for forgetting to shave in the morning?  I’ve never understood Mormons, and I’m sure I never will, but if we’re going to commend a school for enforcing its rules, can’t we also criticize those ultra-religious rules for being ultra-crazy?  Can’t we also bring up the fact that Brigham Young himself had 55 wives, one of whom was 15 when she married a 42-year-old Young?  (She had 5 of his 57 children.)

Can’t wait for the Romney campaign to get underway

Brandon Could Have Used A Shirt

Jimmy Kimmel gets up on his high horse and explains my thoughts, exactly:


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