No. 3 BYU loses after dismissing player for honor code violation
Brigham Young University center Brandon Davies has been suspended for the rest of the season.
March 3rd, 2011
11:11 AM ET

No. 3 BYU loses after dismissing player for honor code violation

Sticking to principles appears to carry a steep cost for the nation's third-ranked college basketball team.

A day after Brigham Young University dismissed center Brandon Davies from the team for violating the school's strict honor code, the No. 3-ranked Cougars were throttled Wednesday by unranked New Mexico.

"The honor code really reflects who we are as a university. It defines us and it does make us different," BYU spokeswoman Carrie Jenkins told CNN affiliate KSTU-TV.

Davies, a 6-9 sophomore from Provo, was the team's top rebounder and third-leading scorer. He received the Cougars' Academic Excellence award last season, according to an online profile.

BYU had been gunning for a high seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but the team's fortunes took a tumble with Wednesday night's 82-64 loss to New Mexico.

University officials said Davies admitted violating the honor code at BYU, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.

The honor code requires all faculty, staff and students to:

  • Be honest;
  • Live a chaste and virtuous life;
  • Obey the law and all campus policies;
  • Use clean language;
  • Respect others;
  • Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse;
  • Participate regularly in church services;
  • Observe dress and grooming standards;
  • Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the honor code.

The code forbids homosexual behavior and bars members of the opposite sex from going beyond the lobby of the school's single-sex dormitories.

The dress and grooming standards forbid beards, tattoos and piercings for men and short or form-fitting clothes or bare feet in public for women.

The university did not say which part of the code Davies violated, but it did say he had not committed a crime. Davies' future as a student at BYU and his status for next season have yet to be determined.

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Filed under: College basketball • Religion • Sports • Utah
soundoff (511 Responses)
  1. Rosemary Angulo

    Hurray for BYU! As a high school teacher and a mother I cannot thank you enough for being an example for the rest of the sports world on how athletes SHOULD and must be held to the highest standards. All young people are watching...

    March 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    BYU grad here. It's already been said many times in the postings above. If you don't like the rules, don't go to the school. I want to address the skeptics that these rules are actually being followed by the majority of staff and students. They do follow it, at least the majority who believe mormon teachings. Those few who don't really believe it are the only ones who want to break the rules, and they are being disengenuous if they have agreed to the rules and intend on breaking them.

    I enjoyed being at a school where the campus was immaculately clean. In four years there, I never ONCE saw someone smoking, not around campus, not in dorms, not around off campus housing – and as a result the grounds crews can spend their time picking up other garbage and doing landscaping. I also enjoyed being surrounded by beautiful virtuous girls – and I married one of them. Life is good!

    And since I mention marriage and anticipate the polygamy comments, let me say this. I was raised in the church and I have lived in 23 congregations in 8 states. I have held many positions in the church and known literally thousands of mormons from all walks of life. I hope that this honest statement might correct some distorted perceptions: in all my experience, I have never known a polygamist and I have never heard rumor of anyone I knew being a polygamist. Everything I know about polygamy I learned on CNN and HBO.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill92395

    First, while owned by the Mormon Church, you don't have to be a Mormon to attend. Many parents send their kids to BYU because of the high social standards. Comments such as "let him play" are indemic to the problems in our culture, we let people off for breaking rules. Certainly some rules are bigger than others, but when you know them in advance, and you willingly break them, there has to be a consequence. Failure to apply the agreed consequences teaches that rules simply don't matter. The fact that BYU's rules are more strict than some other schools is a moot point. YOU KNOW BEFORE ATTENDING.

    I know we are talking about sports, and I can hear a derivation of of Allen Iverson's "We're talking about practice" rant, "We're talking about sports, not real life" BUT every person writing a comment here that feels the action was too harsh is saying the heck with the rules. What other rules are in your daily life that you feel are ignorable? I was only 10 minutes late to work? The light was only red for a second? I don't really have enough money to pay my full bill so I'll just pay what I can afford? I'll buy a house I have no hope of affording if the rate changes and when I default I'll just let someone else take care of the problem.

    We live in a time when permissiveness is rampant in every form. Congratulations to BYU for teaching more than just Mr. Davies that there are consequences. And I suspect, congratulations to Mr. Davies for "manning up" and by all appearances accepting the consequences. BYU is making MEN, not boys who play games. Kudos.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. C

    It's interesting to me that certain people believe that they can prove their open-mindedness by partaking of everything and not rejecting anything, while not realizing that by so doing they are accepting nothing. That sounds fairly closed-minded to me.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lee

    God hates people who drink Tea!

    March 3, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sherree

    No coffee or tea? Huh? I don't understand

    March 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill92395

      Is it a serious question? The simple answer is that the Mormon Church has a tiny, little piece of doctrine called the "Word of Wisdom." In short, it says people should refrain from things that can be harmful to your body. It is in essence a guide in healthy eating: don't drink "hot drinks" in excess, eat meat in moderation, eat lean meat if possible more than red or rich meat. Avoid putting things in your body that are habit forming, such as smoking or other drugs.

      I'm never sure why everyone always "picks on" this part of the LDS faith, perhaps because giving up the morning 3 cups results in headaches, the shakes, ?? However, I know plenty of Mormons who enjoy a nice hot cup of tea, drink Coke, etc ... They are not sent off to repent! I also know a LOT of really old Mormon's. Maybe because eating and living a bit more wisely is a healthy thing. The Word of Wisdom also encourages daily exercise, early meals, and restful sleep!

      It reads an awful lot like a modern healthy living journal from any fitness trainer in the country!

      March 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Obvious

    It should be painfully obvious now to anyone that is paying attention...Jesus would never have lasted a single term at BYU without getting kicked out......

    March 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill92395

      ...pretty strong statement. I'm guessing you don't know the doctrine of the Mormon church. I'm also guessing you don't know the doctrine of the Catholic Church, or the Jewish, or Islamic faiths. In His day, Jesus readily accepted the responsibility to debate the importance of a person's faith. He didn't shy away or hide in corners.

      I have attended many MANY churches, as a member and a visitor. More than any other church I have personally attended the Mormon faith EXPECTS you to think for yourself.

      So I'm quite curious, what are you basing your "I just want to make a fight" comment on? Fact, or personal [miss]opinion.?

      March 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Obvious

      Well, Bill, let's start with the dress code...oops! Makes and drinks wine....oops! Doesn't sustain church leadership...oops! I really don't think I need to go on, do you?

      March 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. B-Y-Booted

    Man oh man... she must of had that snapper!!! I just hope people don't go overboard and start judging this KID for making a choice not to wait. Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness from sin not how to be perfect.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    Don't support oppressive religious fundamentalism by attending a university with such draconian policies, and you won't be dismissed for acting like a normal human being. He should take his talents to a 21st century school.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mr.J

    Its all what your beliefs are and what you were raised not sure,but i doubt he was morman,and probably didnt think it wasnt going to get like this.But lets be real is to excel your future, im pretty sure his goal wasnt to become a LDS man/ morman.He probably saw they had a decent program where he would fit in,as he did very well. And all these students commenting and what not,ofcourse you all are gonna feel like it was the right move, because if you abide by the code obviously you feel thats how your suppose to live your life; and were probably raised in this type of environment just like majority of people that follow a certain faith..I applaude him for being honest and all that,but i feel he has too much talent to go to a school where you have to worry about silly stuff like that. I say take your talent else where man and live your life how you feel is the right way.i dont bash peoples faiths,but i do disagree with some of them,but some parts of this "Honor Code" seem ridicoulous. Religions should teach people how to live a good life and be a good person,not force you to live by strict guidelines that someone made up! TRANSFER!!!!!ASAP!!!

    March 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill92395

      ...and IF for whatever his personal reasons are he accepts a schools code, knowingly, in advance of signing his scholarship agreement ... I don't know Brandon Davies from a hole in the ground, BUT I ADMIRE his morality and ethics more today than I did a week ago for stepping up knowing that there would be a consequence. His basketball talent is what it is and he will get his shot if that is what he wants – he has the skills. In my book, if I was a GM, I'd ALSO suddenly find myself respectful of his integrity. As a GM, I'd like this MAN.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. There Are No Gods!

    A college based on religious principals, sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • paige

      Oxymoron? Really? Well if you truly believe in God, you believe in what it means to be a God. God is all knowing. God is a God of truth and knowledge. That doesn't contradict college education to me, in fact I think studying God and wanting to increase learning and understanding go hand in hand.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Paige I suggest you take a year or two off and study the history of religion. Make sure to study with someone who isn't a member of your own religious denomination, no matter what denomination that may be. God and intelligence are certainly not mutually exclusive but so many imperfect humans try to make them so. Half of these people do it from inside the various religious structures of our world.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • paige

      I've been studying at a university for 3 years. My major is health related because i would like to become a physician assistant. I come from an extremely religiously diverse family. Atheism, Christianity (including Mormonism), agnostic...etc. I've never been forced to lean to one view more than another. I've studied religion on my own for 10 years, and had an interest in secular and religious education from a VERY young age. I've always seen cohesiveness between secular learning and religion. Just because you and I look at the same situation and see something totally different does not mean I haven't "studied" the matter we're discussing.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Unless, of course, a college were to be based on religious principles. What's really moronic?

      March 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig T

      don't u know the difference between principals and principles

      March 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne A Radford

      While I would not want my child to attend BYU because I do not support the specific tenants of their religion, I commend them for standing behind their values which no person with a fundamentalist understanding of the Bible should find any disagreement. It is just sad that other universities don't abide by such strict rules, because all young athletes need to exhibit good morales in that the very young look up to them whether they like it or not. College athletes, especially the very good ones, have been permittted to get away with far too much for far too long.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |

      I'd rather be a follower and wrong in this life about God being real, then a non follower and wrong in the afterlife about God being real...just sayin'

      March 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |

      Ever heard of Yale, Notre Dame, and Cambridge?
      Maybe you should study more.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jerry

      So much for their future recruiting.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • PB

      BRAVO..... I am sure he must have at least seen the CODE prior to agreeing to the deal. It is good to see someone uphold their values. There are no degrees of integrity.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • J_Bird_01

      Stick to the code? I thought they were more like "guidelines" than anything else.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Holbrook

      In the words of Mark Twain these people worship "...a God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell–mouths mercy, and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!"

      Yeah, I want to go to a college that perpetuates that...

      March 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alvin

      hey you can't feel too sorry for the guy, he knew what he was getting into when he joined BYU. Have a beer and you're out on your ear.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • oodoodanoo

      Paige – Sorry, you don't come from a very diverse family. You have Christians and some who don't believe. Write back when you have a Muslim and a Buddhist in your family.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ab

      Based on this quote, Mark Twain didn't know much about Mormon.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • observer

      Looks like Sharia law to me.

      March 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Amber

    Interesting comments. I'm a BYU alumna, and I signed the honor code. Let me be clear: EVERY student (LDS/ Non-LDS) understands EXACTLY what they are signing and committing to. The administration is very forthright in detailing every nuance of the honor code and what it entails. Are the standards strict? Very. Are they attainable? Yes. Is every student a shining example of integrity in the face of the honor code? Surely not, but the mIajority are. I feel badly that Brandon's dirty laundry has been aired publicly (even though school administration has not released details surrounding his dismissal from the team). However, according to his team bio, in addition to BYU, he was recruited by U of Utah, Gonzaga, Utah State, Cal Berkeley, Washington State, Penn State, and Santa Clara. He CHOSE to attend and play for BYU. He is also choosing to take accountability for his deviation from the honor code. I laud both Brandon and BYU for respecting the standards that each student at BYU is expected to uphold. To some the issue is basketball. To others it's about not setting double standards for an athlete (even if he's bringing recognition and $ to the school).

    March 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      True Amber!

      March 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr.J

      good point amber,but with those list of schools for basketball purposes BYU is the best choice out of all of just seems like enforcing somethin like that is goin beyond giving someone an education,its basically making them fall inline and be like everyone else.Religion is a strong thing, and is very easily used to control people..and im not trying to offend anyone but this "honor code" seems like a perfect example of that..

      March 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • MelT

      Mr.J – It's a private university and he didn't have to attend there. He could have chosen to attend a different school with more lenient standards. A large amount of the tuition is paid for by the church, so they have a right to require certain standards of their students.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Sounds like a goofy place to me – but to each his own. I thought Mormons are a cult that marries a whole lot of women at once. What's that all about?? I am sure the Mormons have a lot of skeletons in their closets – like all other religions.
      I have watched that TV show "Big Love", and they sure seem a little off kilter.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • MelT

      You really should watch less TV and start talking to real people. Big Love isn't the Mormon religion and is not in any way affiliated with BYU.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eastern Guy

      Big Love doesn't represent the mormon church. that's the fundamentalist mormon church. there's a difference.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      This is why I applaud the University's decision instead of slamming a religion. I have both positive and negative feelings about every group of human's codified ways of worshipping. I believe that all humans are sinners and that is why they can't run a religion–any religion–the way God would want them to. The young man wrote a check when he was seventeen that his butt couldn't cash when his girlfriend winked at him. It's an old story and this isn't the last time we will hear it. The consequences he faces for that should be a lesson to us all, no matter what our age!

      March 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cjohnikin

      Great job, Amber.
      I have a daughter who attends a private Christian college as a graduate student; she too had to sign a similar honor code (coffe is allowed–thank goodness!). She received her undergraduate degree from a public university and finds the atomsphere at her present school more pleasant. It is absolutely true that all students/faculty who sign do not walk in integrity. Although she may not agree with some of the rules, she understands her responsibility for conducting herself accordingly.
      Thanks again for your comment.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • cforbin

      Amber is completely correct. Personally, I think those rules are silly. Some of them, anyway. That's why I didn't go to BYU. Davies knew what he was getting himself into. Maybe he should have picked a different school. Maybe he will now.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • shan

      Very well said, Amber. Whether you agree with the honor code or not – he (along with the other students) are very aware that it exists. He could have chosen otherwise. I applaud him for being honest and I applaud the University for staying true to the honor code – regardless of the student and how much money he generates for the University.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicki

      Thanks Amber. And to the comments about "that's why I don't go to BYU"...BYU is a difficult school to get accepted into. We have 2 sons who graduated from BYU and 2 continuing there. They could have attended any where they chose. They chose BYU. Because of the standards, the academics, and environment. If they had wanted Harvard or Yale, they would have chosen them. Their BYU experience is unmatchable. They have chosen to live by the standard...and these parents approved. Thanks BYU for standing up to your honor code, when the rest of the world thinks its okay not to...when they think it's hard really isn't....that's why it's called an "Honor code".

      March 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sanjosedave

      Like Amber, I also attended the Y. I am not a member of the church btw. You do sign a morality contract and you do know what you are signing up for and you do make choices and those choices have consequences. I could sit and complain about the letters from the standards committee that I received for hair past my shoulders and a few other minor indiscretions, but when I first heard about this, my reaction was that the player is accountable and responsible and he llet the team and the university down. It kills me as a basketball fan, but the university is staying consistent to their values and not worried so much about winning at all costs.

      March 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • spottingLies

      @Mr.J A little research into what values and an honor code are would be a big help to you.
      @MeLT No matter where the money comes from, the school sets its standards and enforces them. Simple.
      Honor code + Violation = Penalty (Easy)

      March 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • runner15


      I appreciate your comments. I, however, was an athlete competing for another university and attended a competion hosted by BYU. We stayed in the BYU dorms. As a visiting athlete, I was forced to abide by BYU's honor code even though I had not signed on the dotted line indicating that I would. We were forced to abide by a curfew, as was other visiting universities. Now, I did not commit any offense against the standards outlined in the code itself, I did and still take issue with BYU FORCING me and other non-BYU students to abide by their code. By the way, I note that their curfew isn't in the honor code and many of our team members, along with those from other universities ingored the curfew. I think it was 11 pm. We placed a stopper in the stairwell doors so we could get out enjoy the opportunity to meet and make friends with other athletes from the other schools. Our intentions were honest and many of us created great friendships by ignoring BYU's attempt to oppress us. I am a religous person, but BYU overstepped their reach by trying to impose their practices upon us.

      March 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      But you overlook the Mormon belief that black people are the spawn of the devil in order to have a viable sports team.

      March 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I think that BYU should take a chill pill......If you want top talent, you have to let them act like top talent. If this was a garbage basketball school or was not D1, they should uphold this travesty of breaking the code (it sounds like everyone here on this blog thinks the majority of American Christians save their cherry for after marriage........righttttt). But if you want to play in the big leagues, get with the program. I hope he transfers immediately and tells BYU to shove it. And for the code of conduct.....absolutely ridiculous.

      March 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • S1N

      @ MrJ –

      You are absolutely right. However, as BYU is privately funded and operated, and is not engaging in discrimination against legally protected persons, it is their prerogative to instate any rules of conduct they wish. They are a school based on (and still adhere to) religious principles.
      If he felt the honor code was not a good fit for him, he should have played at another school. Let's face it, BYU isn't the only school on his short list that an NBA scout is going to have an interest in.

      March 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dan

    Honor Code is nice to have! But when their founding father (Young) murdered a group of Morman sect who did not believe in his vision you must question the underlying issues.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eastern Guy

      You might want to study your facts. Brigham Young and the church have been exonerated for what occurred at Meadow Creek. But then, some folks will believe what they want to believe.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • paige

      you might want to study up a little better on your history Dan. You might be referring to Joseph Smith not Brigham young when talking about the visions.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      BYU wasn't founded by Brigham Young. It was by the person who proceded him, Parley P. Pratt. The U of U was founded by Brigham Young, on the other hand.

      March 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Brigham Young didn't claim to have a vision that anyone believed or didn't believe. You may be misunderstanding a story you've heard somewhere else. 🙂

      March 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joane Johnson

      They exhonerated themselves. They threw Joseph Smith's adopted, I believe, son under the bus. YOU get your facts rights.l It never ceases to amaze me how some people will believe every lie about this president but never the truth about themselves. From all I have read, he knew, Joseph Smith.

      March 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzie

      I think he meant "vision" as in mission...

      March 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      I don't have a side to this, but I like how Joane Johnson states it like a fact, but muddles it with "adopted, i believe, son." That makes it seem really credible. If you are going to state it like a fact, please make sure it's a fact first.

      March 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SJ

    I wouldn't personally agree with the honor code but that's why I wouldn't consider attending that university. The gentleman in question knew what he was signing up for. What a shame. He'll either learn to lie better or fulfill his obligations honestly.

    March 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Legal Eagle

    There is political influence and possibly influence from parents or family connections with personal issues or reasons.
    When I went to school there... I saw preferential treatment of Honor Code Violators who had high positioned family within the church.
    The school was never fair and yes I did get put on academic probation once and survived it. I just saw many unfair treatment of people who violated and just think this decision is tpo big

    March 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
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