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Brandon Davies Violates BYU’s Honor Code

Brandon Davies, the starting center for the BYU Cougars basketball team, was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the school’s honor code. It doesn’t take a lot to violate the honor code at BYU, but that is the commitment every student makes when they decide to enroll in the university.

(Here is a link to the BYU honor code page, where it enumerates the requirements of every student to conduct themselves in a way that reflects the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

The university hasn’t specified the cause for Davies’s suspension, although a close connection to the school claims that Davies engaged in pre-marital sex with his girlfriend. While the exact infraction remains unconfirmed, one thing is for certain: He just put a serious damper on the Cougars hopes of getting a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and their chances of winning a national championship this year.

Although the Cougars aspirations for March Madness are going to suffer as a result of this transgression, let’s not forget the positive side to this story: As collegiate athletic teams around the country are violating significant NCAA rules without punishment or penalty from their universities, except when they need to save face, it’s great to see BYU restore some integrity and morality to its broken system.  These types of decisions give us hope that Athletic Directors can choose right over wrong, in a field that so often chooses wrong over right. Pat Forde hit the nail on the head with his thoughts on the BYU scandal and it’s a very worthwhile read.

As is the case with Mormonism, Judaism is a discipline meant to challenge us; to make us better people and, most importantly, L’davka Bo, bring us closer to God. It’s not supposed to be easy.  We are engaged in a life long process of growing in our observance and faith without compromising its values. While many Jewish laws appear troublesome or simply difficult to understand and observe, it does not make it or other religions with similar restrictions, antiquated or devoid of any real meaning. Each ritual and religious tradition provides its adherents with its own unique portal to connect with God.

Davies violated the honor code. Unfortunately, his transgression doesn’t only affect himself; it affects the other 11 players on his team who had high hopes of making a splash at the NCAA tournament.  Sources report that he is remorseful and heartbroken. As a Mormon himself, Davies let a lot of his people down and is now facing expulsion from the University.

I hope that BYU will consider his remorse as the beginning of his repentance process, and see to it that he is given a second chance to succeed at the University. If the University does show compassion for Davies and allows him to remain a student at BYU, I am sure that he will use this event as a way to grow closer to God.  It’s the right decision to make, because that is what religion is all about.

Posted in College Basketball.

4 Responses

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  1. Ethan says

    As a Mormon, I really appreciate how you have hit on what is perhaps the most central aspect of the LDS faith, the belief we have in an developmental alchemy process that we undergo on our Earthly journey. Not something easy by any stretch, but a process that refines us and brings us closer to God through struggle and personal development.

    Like the Israelites under Moses who had to wander in the wilderness before they arrived at the promised land, Mormons view this life as a wilderness of learning and progress. As you say, “L’davka Bo” (bringing us closer to God).

    Finding holiness is what BYU’s Honor Code is all about, its principles are the scaffoldin­g within which individuals are able to find holiness to the Lord. Not restrictions, but guidelines for a successful approach to Godliness.

    Thank you Rabbi Hess for pointing this out and seeing what most other people don’t understand about the basic philosophy of the Mormon Church, and by extension, BYU.

  2. Fanatic Rabbi says

    Ethan- Thanks for your kind words!

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