Respecting Cougars of the Non-Female Variety

Posted on March 9, 2011

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This may sound off to some of you readers out there, especially since we here have been known to fully embrace shenanigans, but I wish to congratulate the Brigham Young University for their outstanding example amongst other academic institutions.  As the majority of people know by now Brandon Davis, the 6’9” sophomore forward for the Cougars basketball team was suspended for a violation of the schools honor code.  In an age of one and done college basketball players who are basically being rented, BYU still recruits the same was it always has.  They are a poster child for upholding morals and holding students accountable.  The University has refused to sell out its principles for any gain, whether it be athletic or otherwise.  Recently, though, it hasn’t needed to, as its athletic programs are as healthy as ever.

On the day that it was vaulted to number 3 in the national rankings, it went and dealt itself a crucial blow to its own final four aspirations.  No the NCAA wasn’t looking into any alleged violations.  No there wasn’t a shameless coach embarrassing the school a la Storrs and Knoxville.  No Brandon Davis wasn’t pulling an O. J. Mayo.  So what was the action that the school deemed so awful that they ultimately ruined a number one seed and a deep tourney run?  It was that Davis slept with his girlfriend.  Not even in some egregious way like in public on campus.  He just had intercourse with his girl, but it didn’t matter.  Normally I would be up in arms over this “transgression,” but I needed to take a deeper look at this unique situation.

Obviously it takes a certain type of person to go to school in Provo.  If Randy Moss and Peter Warrick couldn’t handle the lax atmosphere of Free Shoe U., then no chance of them being extended a campus visit here.  A scandal the likes of Garrett Wittels of FIU could possibly bring the Mr. Brigham Young and his 55 total wives out of their graves.  There is zero chance that they would allow him to fly into the city for an away game.  I doubt their recruiting visits are anywhere on par with Jesus Shuttlesworth’s in He Got Game or even as generous as that of Blue Chips’ Western U.  The thing is that Davis knew all of this going in.  He played high school ball IN Provo, Utah.  He was fully aware of the scenario that he literally signed up for.  When he put his signature on his letter of intent, he also did so on the University’s honor code.  I get that most people disagree with or don’t understand its strictness.  There is no doubt that there are numerous students and faculty alike, past and present, that may feel that same sentiment.  It doesn’t make any difference though.  He, like every other student and employee of the school, knew the rules and then proceeded to break them.  It’s the lay of the land there, and that is no getting laid on that land without a ring.  It is that simple. 

Keilani Moeaki, Unga's girl, was worth taking a chance with

He is not the first or last athlete, let alone student, to succumb to some sort of temptation and commit an infraction of the code.  Hell, the all-time leading rusher in school history was a casualty of the same code just this past fall.  And he was still only a junior.  Harvey Unga and his girlfriend Keilani Moeaki, a basketball player and sister of a Kansas City Chiefs tight end, both withdrew at the same time.  The startling revelations came mere weeks after he announced he would return for his senior year.  Unga’s violation of the honor code was announced in the same press release as his girlfriend’s violation and subsequent withdrawal. Putting two and two together would seem easy: Unga and Moeaki, who have been dating for about three years and were briefly engaged, likely had premarital sex.  If such alums as Jim McMahon and Steve Sarkisian were able to manage and stear through their collegiate careers without hitting similar landmines, others should as well.  They even look like a couple of guys who got after it in their day.  It has grown into a bigger story then it should have been too.  When Amar’e Stoudemire gets involved for no reason and says, “Don’t ever go to BYU,” written on his Twitter account Friday, before going on to reference Davies’ race. “They kick a Young Educated (Black) Brother OUT OF SCHOOL. The kid had premarital sex. Not suspended, Not Release. Wow!”  A second post read, “P.S. With his girlfriend. Come on BYU don’t kick the kid out of school. Let’s be honest he is in college. Let’s the kid live a little.”  This is from the kid who jumped straight to the professional ranks and skipped college.  Easy to say those things when you have been constantly hooking up with NBA groupies. 

What else could cause an uproar due to honor code infractions? Lets take a quick look at an excerpt from the code:

• 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 the Dress and Grooming Standards
• Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

Well, that sounds like the complete inverse of every other American college campus.  I would be hard pressed to find someone I know who actually upheld all of those during their college reign.  Or even for a two week period.  I know for a fact that my friends and I have even broken all of those listed in a single setting.  A typical scenario that could easily be envisioned would be that of drinking and driving after leaving the bar, either with a slampiece in tow or on our way to ones place, and I have heard enough stories and lived a fair share of my own to know that some females do not want to be respected in the confines of a bedroom.  Let’s say on the commute we get pulled over.  First thing out of my mouth would be that of a four letter word, followed by multiple lies to the officer about being sober.  I could also see a cig being smoked, or in the south, possibly even a tobacco leaf in the truck bed.  Yeah, I have some hick ass friends.  Being a weekend most likely in this scenario, I doubt I would have shaved that day and with the ensuing hangover on the horizon, Sunday morning church was out of the question.  So there you have it.  A very realistic fifteen minutes that would cause a backlash of Watergate sized hearings at Brigham Young.

The timing of the Davis seperation from the team seems a bit odd as they are in the finishing stages of what could have been a legitimate final four run.  Most programs would have enacted the suspension or disciplinary action at the beginning of next season or had it be retro-active, to not interfere with their current run.  They still do have the next great white hope in Jimmer, but even our last (Gordan Heyward) wasn’t able to crack the net cutting ceremony.  Although he was wicked close. So with an already depleted front line with another 6’9” sophomore, Chris Collinsworth, out with a knee injury, the Cougars chose to dismiss 11 points and 6 boards (team leading) a game in order to stay true to itself.  Guard play is critical in the tournament.  So is playing defense and defending the paint.  Which is more we shall soon find out.  They may have indeed cut off their nose to spite their face, but in either case you cannot look down on the University.  Disagree all you want, but if they aren’t able to look at itself as an institution in the mirror then what do they have left?  It is a breath of fresh air that a big time school stands its ground and regards its fundamental principles to be more important than money or a chance at a national championship.  Maybe snitches should get stitches if they fail to produce a solid run in the tourney?  Either way in the America that we live in today, with all of the wrong role models, seeing honor and integrity still exist between sea to shining sea means more to me then before.  My hat is off to them, even if I will have them getting bounced earlier then I previously thought in the madness that is March.

I think Bill Simmons may have had the right idea when he joked, “When I was in college, I absolutely would have chosen sex over playing in the Final Four. Or, anything.”  and then quickly followed it up with, “I’m not making any more BYU jokes — that’s definitely where I am sending my daughter for college in 13 years.”  Amen to that.

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