Honoring the code

My daily drive into Your Nation’s Capital is usually spent listening to sports talk radio, splitting time between the national (ESPN’s Mike and Mike) and the local (106.7’s Sports Junkies).  Today, both dealt with the first bracket-buster of March Madness: the news that Brigham Young University’s Brandon Davies was kicked off the team for having consensual premarital sex.

If you talk to most Division I coaches, their second best player shtupping some coed when the team is on the verge of a national title run might would likely be a fine violation.  In the realm of athletic transgressions, it certainly beats having some booster offer a nuclear surfboard or whatever it is that John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats will get accused of the year after he leaves.  But Davies chose BYU and its strict rules – and when he misstepped, he admitted it and suffered the consequences.

In the interest of giving credit where due, the tone of the coverage has been surprisingly exceptional thus far.  Mike Greenberg in particular lauded BYU for sticking to their guns.  Even commentary that falls short of glowing praise for BYU at least understand that, though the merits of BYU’s code may be debatable, the code itself irrelevant to the discussion.  Davies opted to hold himself to that standard when he chose BYU (and even more so when he honorably chose to fess up).  In fact, BYU alums have pointed out that the honor code is far from fine print.

Davies is an important player, and dropping him from the team will impact BYU’s chances in the NCAA Tournament.  One wonders if other colleges – including religious schools with renowned athletic programs – would do the same.

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