Go Cougars!

First, let me admit up front that, though I graduated from BYU, I do not follow their sports teams.  I don’t follow any sports teams.  But apparently?  The Cougars have been doing us all proud this basketball season and were ranked something like #2 in the nation.

Go Cougars!

Some were expecting them to go all the way this season.

Go Cougars!

Unfortunately, one of their best players apparently did go all the way, with his girlfriend, and now he is suspended from the team.  And they lost their first game without him.

Umm . . . Go Cougars!

Even though I don’t follow sports, I haven’t been able to escape this story.  Someone talked about it at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor I attended on Friday night (incidentally, the newly pinned Eagle gave McH a mentor pin, said he, McH, was one of a dynamic duo of youth leaders (McH asked if he could be Batman), and then concluded by saying, “And he could probably snap my neck”), and somebody brought it (back to the basketball story here) up in our church service today.  I have also read a couple of articles about in online.

And I must say, I am very saddened by the reaction of so many people.  So many people are leaving hateful (and in some cases completely ignorant) comments on these articles about BYU and its policies.  So, as  a BYU grad, I thought I’d just throw in my two cents and a bit of an explanation here.

The young man who has been suspended from the team (he has not been kicked out of school, though he could be), is not the innocent victim of a tyrannical school.  When one applies to go to BYU the honor code is very clearly stated and explained, and signing that honor code is part of the application process (as I recall – it’s been a few years now since I did it).  At any rate, no one gets in to BYU without full knowledge of the Honor Code, and without having voluntarily consented to follow it.

And while so many people think it is beyond ridiculous to expect college students to abstain from alcohol, drugs, and pre or extra-marital sex, I’m telling you it isn’t.  It can be done.  Easily.  I know this because I did it (I still do it) (but now that I’m married I get to, well, you know), and because thousands of other students do it every year.  Also? By the time one gets to BYU?  This is old hat stuff.

This is the way we are taught to live our lives from the time we are very young.  Of course there are those who make mistakes, who slip up, some who even just say, “Forget it, I’m going to live the way the rest of the world does,” but by the time someone is knocking on BYU’s door they know how they are supposed to be living.  It’s not like the university is suddenly asking something new and shocking of its students.  Like I said, by the time one signs the honor code, it’s pretty old hat stuff.  And if somebody wants a new hat?  They can go to a different school.  There is no shortage of BYU applicants who get turned away and would LOVE to have someone else’s spot on campus.

If people don’t want to sign the honor code, fine.  Seriously.  That’s fine.  I wouldn’t judge them and say they are awful people.  I would, however, say that BYU is not the place for them.  Because it isn’t.

But when someone does sign the honor code and then screws up (rather literally in this case, I suppose)?  Is the school just supposed to roll over and play dead?  Ignore it and pretend it’s ok?  If that is what they do, then what is the point of having an honor code to begin with?  Should the school have swept it under the rug because, in this case, the NCAA championship could be on the line?  Seriously? Isn’t that what’s wrong with so many of our athletes and other celebrities anyway? All the special treatment they get and lack of accountability they experience?  I believe we usually call this SPOILED.

No, the school did the right thing.  The coach has even been quoted as saying he expects the young man in question to return to the program at some point.  There is repentance and forgiveness.  But first?  There is accountability.

I really don’t care if people think BYU’s honor code is archaic or not.  The fact of the matter is, if you sign a code of conduct, I don’t care if it states you will stand on your head for 27 minutes every Thursday night and draw purple polka dots on your face with permanent marker prior to all exams*, if you sign that code of conduct, then you abide by it. And if you mess up?  You accept the consequences.

From what I can tell, the young man is accepting his consequences.  I don’t understand why so much of the rest of the nation is having such a problem with it.

Thank goodness there are some institutions left that value honor above athletics, integrity above good press, and adherence to moral standards above capitulation to moral relativism. 

Go Cougars!

*For the record, Tewt the Newt would like to clarify that the BYU honor code does not require one to stand on his or her head for 27 minutes every Thursday night, nor does it mandate the drawing of purple polka dots on one’s face prior to all exams.  If you are interested in what the BYU honor code does require, read this.

13 thoughts on “Go Cougars!

  1. Ummm…I’ve lost your password. (Color me embarassed because this is like the thousandth time I’ve lost it. 😉 Could you send it to me again, please? 🙂 six sunflower seeds at gmail dot com

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  2. Well said! I couldn’t agree more. He knew exactly what he was signing up for, and BYU is well within their rights to create and then enforce their own code of conduct. I was hoping you’d have something to say about this. Great post!

    If I make it into the Olympics (which, you know… it could happen), I should expect that drug testing for steroids is part of the deal. If I choose to ignore and violate the rules by taking those drugs anyway, does it make ME an idiot, or the Olympic committee for creating that standard? The way most people are reacting to this story, I guess they’d say it’s the Olympic committee.

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  3. I love this post! I’m a huge sports fan, but basketball? Not so much. So when this story broke, I thought, “Oh, too bad for that program that was on the brink of such a great season.” … because we all like to see the underdog(s) do well. But I also thought, “Good for BYU.” Because as a sports fan, and particularly as a Nebraska fan, there have been plenty of times when player actions have been brought to the light of day and the coaches’ actions have been scrutinized. It’s not easy to make the right choice, knowing what the media attention is going to be like. And I also agree with you – if this kiddo had been at UNL, consensual sex with his girlfriend is a-ok. At BYU, it’s not. And he knew that. Consequences bite.

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  4. When my hubby told me about the story my first thought was ‘Good for BYU’! I think it’s refreshing to see an organization have high standards & consequences when those standards aren’t meant. I’ve read articles complaining that BYU is not being ‘christian’ because they have not allowed for repentance & forgiveness but from where I sit, repentance & forgiveness does not negate consequences.

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  5. Yes, I thought the same thing when I first read about this story. I don’t think the guy is surprised at all. Like you said, he’s the one who signed the honor code. I think so many other schools who have “honor codes” about cheating etc. have students who don’t take it seriously (and really, neither do those schools) that it is surprising to some that BYU really stood behind the guidelines they laid. Good for BYU. It’s a private school with a religious affiliation. I don’t think it should surprise anyone that they have principles they uphold. I hope they continue to do so!
    Also, I think last year or the year before two students who were dating left the programs or even the school b/c they had sex. My question is how does the school find out? I guess people talk?

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  6. The school is HUGE! There were roughly 30,000 students when I was there. So it’s not just people talking and word spreading. The school finds out generally one of two ways (that I know of): the person/people involved feel guilty and confess, or they are being blantant and annoying about it to the point that a roommate who is tired of being shut out of his/her room/apartment reports them to the honor code office. Honestly though, from what little of this kind of thing I saw when I was at school, if someone makes a mistake and goes to his/her bishop and confesses and really is wanting to live according to the honor code/standards of the church, they aren’t kicked out of school (though they may have to drop extra curriculars) and generally nobody else even knows anything is going on. I don’t even know that bishops notify the honor code office in cases like that. I just don’t know how that works at all. So in this specific case, I have no idea how the school found out. I’m guessing, however, based on the fact that he wasn’t kicked out of school and the coach expects him to return to the team at some point, that he probably came clean on his own. And my heart really goes out to him, because he’s human, he made a very human mistake like many others, and now he’s having to deal with it very publicly, whereas most people who go through this get to at least do it privately.

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  7. kathleen

    GO COUGARS! and I couldn’t agree more….lots of schools think they have honor codes, but very few actually hold their signees accountable for the content…BYU is right on target, as are you, as usual…Happy March Madness, and beware the ideas of same.

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  8. I wondered if you were going to blog about this, and I’m glad you did.

    My first reaction was that I felt bad for the guy. (I wouldn’t have felt bad for him at all if he’d been caught in some kind of stripper/hooker/drunken orgy kind of scandal, which does seem to be the norm in sports these days.) But I felt bad for him, for being an adult who has consensual sex with another adult, and having the whole country talking about it. (I actually feel pretty bad for his girlfriend, too, now that I think about. Because if I had been a 19-20 something girl, and the talking heads on ESPN were talking about MY SEX LIFE…seriously, I think I would consider fleeing the country.)

    But, the crux of my position was coming from the fact that I am person who is not in the abstinence until marriage camp (I respect that position, but it is not my position). However, this guy, presumably, could have gone to any number of schools, and he chose to go to BYU, and when you choose to be a part of an institution, one should follow that insitutions requirements, or leave. (And if he wanted to leave, no doubt he could transfer to another school.) (Or, I guess he could have married the girl, as one article I read indicated that 20% of BYU students get married before graduation, and, frankly, I don’t find that suprising.)

    So the bottom line is, I respect this guy for taking his punishment, and I respect BYU for not allowing the lure of winning a sports title result in a “bending of the rules” for an athlete, which seems to happen all the time.

    I do find it interesting that the Honor code demands a life free of tea. Is that just caffinated (sp?) tea, or all tea? What about cocoa?

    PS – I am laughing about the boyscout/McH exchange.

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  9. Karen

    Amen!! Thank goodness for someone standing for something. And when that something is honorable and good? More power to them! Go Cougars!!!!

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  10. Ok, so I went back and read the actual honor code (after Law Mommy’s comment), and now I have a new comment. I know why there is not and will never be a “BYU South”. We cannot abstain from drinking tea!:) Hey, I could give up coffee no problem (don’t really like it that much anyway) but we here in the South we must have our sweet tea! I don’t know what else to drink at supper time. No, really! So is soda ok? That seems strange if it is.
    Oh, and I think it may be a little difficult for some to wear shoes in public places here, too! tee-hee.
    So I guess I won’t be seeing “BYU Alabama Division”. Haha!

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  11. There was an article in our local paper here about how much POSITIVE press the school and honor code are getting (in addition to the negative). I feel for Brandon Davies, I feel for his girlfriend, and I feel for the coaches and other school officials who had to uphold the honor code. It is, however, how it should be. The honor code was not suddenly instituted, and he knew what he was violating.

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  12. No tea either? So if you don’t drink coffee or tea, do you drink caffeinated sodas? If the caffeine is the problem, can you not drink decaf versions of those things? (Though, who on Earth would actually want to drink decaf coffee? Ugh.) I assume Red Bull is absolutely out of the question… You’re not missing anything there.

    Do you ever ask yourself why I’m so fascinating by the Mormon church’s stance on beverages? This is, what, the 34th time I’ve asked you coffee-related questions? It’s because I cannot imagine life without the smell of coffee or anything mocha flavored. Mocha was designed by God to prove His love for me. I think. It’s possible He was thinking of someone other than me for a second, but, you know… I doubt it. Trying to imagine that you have never had one of those mocha frappe things… Well, I just can’t wrap my head around it. Pure frozen deliciousness.

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