By Alex Mackall
It is a matter of fact that if every American college had strict rules against engaging in premarital sex and were disciplined the way that Brandon Davies may be punished, the number of Americans that attend college would be extraordinarily lower than it already is.
Davies, basketball player and sophomore at Brigham Young University (BYU), was suspended from the basketball team for the rest of the season on March 2 after admitting to having sexual relations with Danica Mendivil, his girlfriend and Arizona State University volleyball player. BYU, which is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has a strict honor code that all students must agree to follow while attending the school. When students agree to the code, they agree to be honest, use clean language, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse, observe dress and grooming standards and, lastly, they agree live a chaste and virtuous life.
Davies, the 6-foot, 9-inch forward and leading rebounder for the BYU Cougars, is waiting to hear if he will receive any further punishments. The honor code counselors at BYU are currently deciding about his future at the school and in the basketball program following this season. However, a few days after being suspended, Davies contacted his teammates and apologized for his decisions. It’s possible that Davies’ sudden disappearance from the team could cause some significant setbacks as the Cougars enter the post-season tournament. At the time of Davies’ dismissal, BYU was ranked number-three in the nation and seemed to have a better shot at the final four than they have in any years past. The Cougars, who were expected to be a number one seed in the NCAA tournament before they lost Davies, turned out to named a three-seed.
A similar honors code-related suspension of BYU athletes occurred last school year, dealing with Harvey Unga, running back and BYU’s all-time leading rusher, and his girlfriend Keilani Moeaki, a former starting forward for the Cougars’ women’s basketball team. Unga and Moeaki both withdrew themselves from the school on April 16, 2010 before the school’s honor code office could officially review their case.
Whether or not this year’s basketball team is going to make it to the finals of the NCAA tournament no longer seems to be the debate surrounding the BYU basketball program; rather, the discussion has shifted to whether it is fair for the school to suspend Davies from the top-ranked team.
There are a million different ways to look at this situation, but in the end it all comes down to this: the school set a code of rules to follow, Davies promised to follow them and then he broke that promise. It is that simple. The issue is not about whether you agree with his actions, beliefs or decisions, but rather that he agreed to adhere to the rules in the code and proceeded to break them.
Each school and place of work has its own rules which it expects will be followed. Without these rules, no such institutions would ever run smoothly, which is why Davies’ punishment is fair. As a private school, BYU’s students choose to go there, which means the school has the right to set such rules and to punish those who decide to break them.
Similar to BYU’s honor code, here at this school, all students who choose to participate in a sport must sign a code of conduct. Somewhat different than BYU’s honor code, the CHS code applies to the athlete’s attendance, academics, behavior and age, as well as the athlete’s behavior while in practice, in the locker room and on the playing field.
The first line of the CHS code of conduct reads, “The Carmel High School family strives to create a positive environment in which all are challenged and inspired to achieve their potentials.” Therefore, just as BYU can make its students follow an honor code because the school wants to uphold the beliefs of the Mormon religion, CHS can make the student-athletes here agree to carry out the code of conduct because the administration and coaches are trying to create a safe school and a good reputation for this school. And just as Davies faces consequences for his choice to break the honor code, so too, do athletes here. Members of last year’s CHS basketball team are part of that group.
As most here know, during the winter of the 2009-10 school year, a hazing-related incident occurred within this school’s basketball program in which four senior athletes were expelled from school. The athletic code of conduct clearly states, “The School Board believes that hazing activities of any type are inconsistent with the educational process and prohibits all such activities at any time in school facilities, on school property and at any Corporation-sponsored event.” Just like Davies’ situation, it’s not about what the players did, but the fact they broke this rule. They all signed the code of conduct before the season began and later chose to break this agreement.
Though there is a lot to be said about Davies’ character for owning up to his mistake and apologizing to his team, a rule is a rule and the decision has been made. It’s obvious through the multiple fan pages of encouraging quotes surrounding the situation on Facebook, Davies’ classmates and fans are willing to forgive his mistakes in order to see one of their star players back out on the floor again next season. However, his suspension can be a lesson to athletes here as they continue as representatives of this school.
Rules are rules, and when you agree to follow them you must also suffer the consequences should you decide to break these rules. It’s as simple as that.