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Basketball Star Kicked Off BYU Team for Premarital Sex

Basketball Star Kicked Off BYU Team for Premarital Sex

In compliance with the school’s rigorous honor code, Brigham Young University suspended star center Brandon Davies from their nationally ranked basketball team because he admitted to having violated the provision that forbids premarital sex.  His situation is under review by the Honor Committee, although he has been allowed to remain in school.  The decision is a blow to BYU’s successful season, and undoubtedly detrimental to Davies’ self-esteem, although his teammates say that they are “reaching out and trying to help him get through this.”

Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, has a strict honor code, which apart from regulating dress (and facial hair) and forbidding consumption of alcohol, coffee, and tea admonishes students to “live a chaste and virtuous life.”  Davies apparently confessed his sexual transgression freely, but the question of whether BYU should be lauded for sticking to its principles is up for debate. 

Happens to girls all the time
The New York Times points out that Davies was probably well aware of BYU’s stringent regulations, since he grew up in the town that is BYU’s home.  Writing for Jezebel, Irin Carmon finds a “strange equal opportunity” in Davies’ suspension.  “There is a long history of girls,” she explains, “who get pregnant being punished for their ‘crimes’ while the male half of the conception goes on with his life.”  At least, her logic goes, Davies was also penalized for his behavior.

Principles or hypocrisy? According to a transcript of an interview with an “anonymous BYU alum,” who says that the suspension is “hypocrisy,” sexual interaction on the BYU campus is “private” – unless you’re an athlete.  This means that there’s a double standard for people like Davies, who are held up to greater scrutiny.  “Let’s say I’m fooling around with a girl and I feel bad about it,” explains the alum.  “I’d go talk to my bishop the way someone would go to confession. You’d never think about the honor code office. You’d never interact with it.”  Speculating that Davies was turned in by another member of his team, the alum adds, “When I was in school, I didn’t know anyone who lived the honor code as it’s written down.”

Although I’m skeptical of some of these accusations (for example, why would a teammate want to turn in Davies, who was leading their team to an incredibly successful season), it does raise the question of exactly how many students are breaking the honor code, and why Davies is being so publicly branded for admitting his infraction.  Another question is why Davies went to the honor committee in the first place (my hunch is that someone must have turned him in).  Another interesting question here is what honesty means: by attending an institution, do you agree to abide by every part of its honor code?  Or can you refrain from confessing to violating an element that you genuinely find offensive?

Lots of questions Regardless of what happens to Davies in the future, the BYU basketball team’s season isn’t likely to improve anytime soon.  But the fallout from this incident is raising some fascinating and difficult questions about the nature of public and private sexual decision-making, particularly within semi-sealed religious communities. 

What do you think?  Should Davies have been kicked off the team, and should he have confessed his transgression in the first place?

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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5:52AM PST on Feb 22, 2012

There are lots of Universities and Colleges ready to pick this center up for their team. Honor Code is a code to live by in Utah but reality is another situation. I hope it was concentual and not forced upon. Then he and she have to live with the punishment handed down. Move onto another school Mr. Davies, Congrats about manning up to what happened between to adults. live life and enjoy. MM

12:55AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

He knew about it. If the girl gets punished for unwed pregnancy, it's only fair that what's good for the gander is good for the goose.

6:39PM PST on Mar 8, 2011

So stupid!!

6:17AM PST on Mar 7, 2011

What I like about mormon men is they judge everyone with their excellent memory...the nastiest boys and some of the most abusive men are mormon men. 12 mormon men in my small town were convicted of molesting boy scouts in the past 2 years.. its all about power and control.. don't kid yourself about the code of conduct. Does anyone know what a young girl has to go through at the temple when she wants to get married?

10:36PM PST on Mar 6, 2011

He applied and attended the school knowing about these strict school rules. He knew what the consequences would be if he broke them. If these things were not acceptable to him, there are many colleges out there that are religious in nature but do not have these rules he could have attended.

7:55AM PST on Mar 6, 2011

thank you

1:06PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

If he had married her, it would never have become an issue. If he didn't want to get tied down at his age, he should've kept his pants on. No one has a right to sexual activity. The freedom, maybe, but not a right.

10:48AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

He knew the rules when he choose to attend BYU. Are others doing the same and not getting "caught"? My bet would be yes. Seems to be more to this story than we are being told.

10:29AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Thank you

10:15AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Personally I think that no entity should have a say with the sex life of anybody...No church, no governement..

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