Thursday, March 3, 2011

BYU Code of Conduct

When I was growing up there was no talk in my household of not attending college.  It was not up for discussion, I was going to further my education; one of the many things on my list to thank my mom for.  So after high school I had to make the decision to attend Millersville University in Millersville, PA. or Harvard…okay maybe not Harvard…Princeton…okay maybe not…but anyway, I chose to stay close to home and attend MU.  In my process of deciding where to "take my talents" the one thing that never weighed in on my decision was the honor code or conduct code of the university I would attend. 

This week honor codes became the topic of national discussion when Brigham Young University made the decision to suspend Brandon Davies for the remainder of the season for violating the universities code of conduct.  Davies is not a bench player or a sixth man; he is a starter and the team's leading rebounder at 6.2 a game. He is also the team’s third leading scorer at 11.1 points per game.  BYU is not a bottom of the league team with no hopes for a run at a championship this season.  They are the exact opposite, as of today they are 27-3, 1st in the Mountain West conference, ranked number 3 overall in the nation and they are in the running for a solid number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. 

When this suspension came across the news wire, I had to find out what Davies had done that was so bad that it resulted in such a harsh penalty.  Did he accept money from a booster?  Did he violate a drug policy or get arrested for drunk driving?  Did he have some sort of confrontation with police at three in the morning?  The answer: none of the above.  He allegedly had “relations” with his girlfriend.  I know what your thinking, a 19 year old college kid having ‘relations” no!!!!  But yes, it supposedly happened and it violated BYU’s code of conduct. 

Upon hearing this I had to see for myself what this code of conduct entails.  I Googled  BYU Code of Conduct and clicked on   To my amazement the first thing on the page was commonly asked questions: #1: What is the process of obtaining a beard exception?  Right then and there I myself was in violation of BYU’s code of conduct.  My beard being a little out of control at this time, much to my wife’s dismay, would get me suspended from BYU.  I continued on and came across a list of items:

Be Honest
Live a chaste and virtuous life
Obey the law and all campus policies
Use clean language
Respect others
Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse
Participate regularly in church services
Observe the dress and grooming standards
Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code.

Now, I myself being in violation of a few of the above, did not choose to attend BYU.  Brandon Davies, knowing full well the code of conduct and the history of BYU did make that choice.  He chose to go there, play basketball there and by doing so he accepted the policies and rules of BYU.  I can not fault BYU for acting the way that they did.  I do feel as though a lesser sentence might have been more reasonable, but I am not as strict in my daily life as these policies lay out. 

In an age when winning isn’t everything, it is second to money of course, I was surprised and amazed that a university would make such a drastic decision.  I was also in a way proud that a university actually held high morals and conduct above a chance at winning and the money that comes with it.  It makes you wonder how much other universities cover up.  It also raises the question:  How does BYU stay competitive in a current system that allows players to error with no repercussions or very little penalties to pay? 

Take for example Auburn University.  During the college football season many questions arose surrounding Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.  Did he or a family member accept money to attend or not attend a university?  Auburn could have taken the moral high ground and suspended Newton pending an investigation.  Instead they chose to do everything in their power to allow Newton to continue to play.  This in turn helped Auburn go onto win a national title, hence bringing in more money to the university and more popularity.  I am not saying Newton was in violation of any policies, but as an example he is a guy that was under investigation for possibly violating NCAA rules and his university did not suspend him. 

Athlete's should be held more accountable for off field violations.  Universities that give young men free passes in the name of great athletic ability only aid in creating a system that produces young adults that do not know how to act in the real world when their glory days are behind them.  BYU’s code of conduct and penalty for violating it is a little to harsh for my liking, but adopting some of their priorities and sternness would only better college sports and the individuals that participate in them.

No comments:

Post a Comment