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Honor in Sports

March 3, 2011

Watching an important player on one of your favorite teams get suspended for anything other than being too intense on the field  is a difficult experience (looking at you here Ovie, happy one year of being suspension free). In my sports world, the Terps have handled a handful of academic violations with Chris McCray and Josh Portis, the NFL suspended former Terp Shawne Merriman for steroid use (which explains a lot, not the least of which is his enormous head), and the Orioles were very much involved in the MLB steroids allegations. In each of these situations, it was easy to understand the punishment because someone broke a clear, universally held rule.

In the case of Brandon Davies’ recent suspension from BYU, the punishment is more difficult to grasp as a neutral observer since BYU’s Honor Code includes several beliefs that are not so universally agreed upon. However, as Pat Forde commented in his article on the suspension for ESPN, as someone who avoided Friday classes like the plague, I can’t relate to the BYU Honor Code, but I have to respect it. What’s the value of having a code, if it has no value?

Aside from that, while the fact that this may be destroying another opportunity for a mid-major team to win the national title for the first time since UNLV in 1990, you have to like this move for one reason – it hammers home that at BYU no one is more important than the team. It’s a little cliché, and maybe even overly dramatic, but in a world where superstars are held to different standards than walk-ons and career bench players, it’s refreshing to see a school treating all of their players as equals, even under extraordinary circumstances.

I could be wrong, but somewhere down the road this team is going to reap the benefits of the respect they’ve shown the non-starters, even if their first trip out without Davies ended in a disappointing home loss to a mediocre team. I boldly predict that despite losing one of its most important players BYU will make the Final Four, a first for the school. If it comes true, a big reason for their success will be unknown players stepping up and contributing in a response to what this suspension says about the value of this team being greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s at times like these when I’m reminded of Cool Runnings, when, the night before their Olympic race, Derice asks Irv (John Candy) why he cheated in an attempt to win a gold medal. John Candy responds:

“Derice, a gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.”

Call me crazy, but I think by making this kind of statement about their principles, BYU proved they are enough, and their team will come together to make their fans forget this unfortunate situation.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark McLauthlen permalink
    March 3, 2011 3:38 pm

    there is no shot that BYU makes the final four… take it to the bank big john

    • March 3, 2011 3:42 pm

      Ha. Where have I heard that before? I just wish you had said “It’s a lock BYU is out before the Final Four.” I’d feel better about that.

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