Brandon Davies cracked the code, and he and BYU pay the price

By Tracee Hamilton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 6:58 PM

So here I sit, violating the heck out of the Brigham Young honor code while writing this, typing with one hand . . . and drinking an iced tea with the other.

But at least I'm being honest about it. "Be honest" is at the top of the BYU Honor Code list. Here's the whole thing:

l Be honest

l Live a chaste and virtuous life

l Obey the law and all campus policies

l Use clean language

l Respect others

l Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse

l Participate regularly in church services

l Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards

l Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

So let's see, I wrote "heck" instead of the other word, so I'm good there. In fact, at this moment, I'm batting about .667 and feeling pretty good about myself. I suppose that as a sophomore in college, I would have hit well below the Mendoza line. On the other hand, if I had to take the SAT this year, I wouldn't get into college at all. It all evens out, I guess.

Of course, I never agreed to follow these rules, then or now. Sophomore forward Brandon Davies did, as do all students who attend BYU. Once you agree to follow the rules and you don't, you suffer the consequences. The consequences lesson is one of those important life lessons that don't appear on a college syllabus.

Davies's consequences are particularly painful, and not just for Davies: He has been kicked off the basketball team for the rest of the season - and what a season it was shaping up to be. The Cougars were ranked No. 3 in the country and in the running for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Without Davies, they lost at home Wednesday night to unranked New Mexico, and the dream of a top seed is over.

Davies apparently violated the second rule by having premarital sex with his girlfriend, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. That falls under the "chaste and virtuous life" rule, which is sufficiently vague enough to cover a multitude of sins.

The irony is that Davies followed Rule No. 1 - and my favorite rule on the list - by being honest. He admitted to school officials what he'd done. Although following Rule No. 1 doesn't get you off the hook for violating Rule No. 2, his admission seems to display some character.

Although perhaps he was forced to because of Rule No. 9, which translates roughly to: "Turn in your classmates if they violate 1 through 8," which hardly seems honorable to me.

But no matter. It's on the list. Davies has no one to blame but himself.

And now I'm off to speak to my editor, which is likely to degenerate into a violation of at least two more rules - I leave it to your imagine to decide which - and drop my average to .444. Maybe an honor code isn't such a bad idea after all.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company