BYU's Suspension of Brandon Davies Functions As Justifiable Case of Cruel Irony

Michael JeeCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Brandon Davies was not even born the last time BYU (27-3, 13-2 Mountain West) vaulted to No. 3 in the ranking.

That ascension occurred during the 1987-88 season, a full three years before Davies’ birth.

The Cougars’ game and chances at a NCAA title appeared on the rise, but their climb was short-lived, as they promptly lost to New Mexico in a 82-64 rout.

Davies did not play in BYU’s first seasonal home loss.

Instead, he likely watched the game as he contemplated the turnabout his life just took in the past 24 hours.

BYU suspended Davies for the remainder of the season for violating their honor code and immediately removed him from their Website's team roster.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Davies admitted to having sex with his girlfriend.

As a private university built on the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the university abides to ideals and principles of Mormon doctrine, and students of all faiths must unequivocally adhere to those bylaws.

Unfortunately for Davies, premarital sex certainly contradicts that honor code, as he failed to “live a chaste and virtuous life.”

When BYU recruited Davies, the school would have informed him of the student honor code.  Upon his decision to attend and play for BYU, Davies would have agreed to abide by those rules as a student-athlete.

Thus, as unrealistic and unforgiving as BYU’s suspension may seem for some, Davies knowingly violated one of the tenets of the university’s honor code, plain and simple.  Simultaneously, a small measure of reassurance does exist when a university holds a student to a high standard regardless of their status and impact to the school community.

Ultimately, BYU’s function is to prepare Davies for the future by providing an education and funding it through an opportunity to play basketball, but it is also Davies’ responsibility to live within the school’s designated guidelines after he decided to pursue his education at the institution.

Had he chosen to attend another school, he may have suffered a lesser fate or none at all.

Debate over the efficacy and morality of BYU’s honor code—essentially Mormon dogma—warrants a discussion.  After all, Brigham Young, an early leader of the Mormon church and for whom the university is named, had 55 wives—54 after he converted to Mormonism.

Davies’ future certainly remains in doubt.  Is there an appeals process that could lead him to playing next season?  Will he transfer?  Will the university lessen his punishment?

Davies’ situation surely merits empathy, but the result is, frankly, unsurprising and defensible.

What is more surprising and intriguing is how and why Davies revealed his break of chastity.

Perhaps in telling the truth about his sexual encounter, he upheld another important principle of the honor code: be honest.  If so, that would produce a case of cruel irony.