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Brandon Davies suspended from BYU basketball team for honor code violation

Compiled by Ian Saleh
Washington Post Staff
Friday, March 4, 2011; 8:39 AM

BYU basketball player Brandon Davies was suspended for violating the school's honor code. As Cindy Boren reported:

At other schools, Brandon Davies might have been high fived. At Brigham Young University, he was suspended from the nation's third-ranked basketball team because he admitted to violating the school's honor code by having sexual relations with his girlfriend.

An honor code is an honor code and the one at BYU, a private school affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, requires students to "live a chaste and virtuous life." Students are also required to be honest; abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse; and attend church regularly. Davies will be suspended from the team for the rest of the season and, according to BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins, his future at the school has yet to be determined.

"Everybody who comes to BYU, every student if they're an athlete or not an athlete, they make a commitment when they come," BYU Coach Dave Rose said, adding that he thought Davies would play again for the team. "A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it's a commitment they make. It's not about right or wrong. It's about commitment."

While many thought the penalty harsh, Tracee Hamilton explained that breaking the rules will always have consequences:

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.

As On Faith panelist Michael Otterson observed, it is admirable that BYU stuck to its principles:

It was interesting to read about another BYU athlete's reaction to all of this. Former BYU football star Reno Mahe suffered a similar tough lesson in 1998 after an honor code violation got him dropped from the football program.

"I've always shared this with people, that it was probably one of the best things that had happened to me," he told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. "I appreciate what BYU did to me. I appreciate the honor code and what it stands for. I appreciate that they enforce it. You get a lot of schools that say they have codes, but I don't think anyone enforces it like BYU does.... It's a great school. It's a one-of-a-kind school." As everyone knows, Reno went back to BYU and ended up playing in the NFL.

BYU is a one-of-a-kind school. But it's not the only school with principles or honor codes. And wouldn't it be a good thing if such principles and standards were so well and routinely enthroned that when they were applied in cases of honor code violations, they didn't generate coast to coast publicity.

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