Brigham Young University dismissed one of its best post players, Brandon Davies, from the basketball team for violations of the university’s honor code. Reportedly, this was for sex, which is one of many enjoyable things forbidden by the school’s rules, which stem from the principles of the LDS church.
This really kind of sucks, as it further sets up the inevitable Jimmer Fredette backlash, and I really like Fredette, who is a local legend as well as a great player. In their first game without Davies, BYU lost to New Mexico, a team with a fairly mediocre record, and this bodes ill for them in their conference tournament and the NCAA tournament in a couple of weeks. March-only fans of the game will tune in, see BYU lose, and say “Oh, they were never all that good to begin with…,” and possibly “Fredette wasn’t all that good to begin with,” which is a shame because it’s completely wrong.
On another level, though, you kind of have to admire BYU for having principles. College sports is a world where “indefinite suspension” tends to mean “until the next televised game/ big rivalry game/ two-game losing streak.” As noted on a hoops-related email list, in the PAC-10 alone you have multiple players who have been “indefinitely suspended” for things like starting fistfights in practice, but have sat out no more than one or two games. And there’s one player who is widely known to be the subject of a rape investigation, who hasn’t missed any significant time because there haven’t been any criminal charges filed.
So, for BYU to dump one of their best players, just as the tournament season arrives, for a presumably consensual violation of the school’s honor code is surprising and vaguely admirable. I don’t share their particular principles, and in fact find them a little silly, but the fact that they have principles, and value them more highly than the best season the school has ever had or is likely to have is a nice change of pace.
It still kind of sucks from a basketball standpoint, though.