Some seemed genuinely shocked that Brigham Young University would suspend a basketball player for violating its honor code. Even more surprising, perhaps, was Brandon Davies’ appearance on the bench after his suspension.
A recent New York Times story looks at why the player would remain in the spotlight after hurting the team’s chances in the N.C.A.A. tournament.
Most players who run afoul of a team’s rules are shuttled out of sight, out of mind, to minimize the distraction. Initially, B.Y.U. curtly announced that Davies “would not represent the university” for the rest of the season.
…And with every struggle B.Y.U. faces on the court, starting with its first game in the N.C.A.A. tournament on Thursday, the question will come back: who is this 19-year-old whose absence seems to have altered the tournament, but whose presence is so welcomed by B.Y.U. and its fans?
The story follows with fluffy quotes about how the teammates love him, but offers little substance on the religion front. The reporter writes that Davies considered going on a two-year mission trip, suggesting he was raised Mormon but not explicitly saying how religious he is now.
Also, the article start and ends with a similar idea:
“His sins are private. His face is public.”
“The sins are private. Repentance and forgiveness are public.”
Given that sex could impregnate a woman or possibly spread STDs, sex is probably not always deemed private. Further, do Mormons view sex as a private action? Maybe they do, but the repetition without attribution seems a bit odd.
Then again, an alumn argues anonymously on Deadspin that the school made the decision for public relations purposes. It might be interesting to interview students and alumni about whether there are different levels of honor code enforcement; for instance, if a student is caught for drinking alcohol, does it carry the same weight as having premarital sex?
Like all B.Y.U. students, members of the church or not, Davies signed the honor code, an agreement to abide by the lifestyle tenets of the Mormon faith. The rules include abstaining from alcohol, coffee or tea; using clean language; observing dress and grooming standards; and abstaining from premarital sex.
There was no reason to think Davies, familiar with the code, would struggle to obey it. On the basketball team, Davies was a reserve post player as a freshman, averaging 5.4 points and 3 rebounds. As a student last year, he received a team academic excellence award.
I’m not sure the reporter can compare academic and athletic excellence with the school’s honor code, since they seem like comparing apples and oranges in some ways. For instance, did his friends think he was particularly devoted to Mormonism? That might shed more light on his view of the honor code than his points scored and grades achieved.