Laying Down The Law At BYU

KHS grad Futi Tavana leads BYU in kills and blocks / BYU Athletics photo

KHS grad Futi Tavana leads BYU in kills and blocks / BYU Athletics photo

By now, you’ve probably heard of Brandon Davies. He’s the Brigham Young University basketball player who was suspended for the remainder of this season for reportedly having premarital sex with his girlfriend. Unlike many schools, BYU has a strict honor code to live by.

That honor code includes being honest, living a chaste and virtuous life, obeying the law and all campus policies, using clean language, respecting others, abstaining from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and illegal drugs, participating regularly in church services, observing dress and grooming standards and encouraging others in their commitment to comply with the honor code.

According to the schools website, the honor code is designed to “provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

I’m a little familiar with what goes into being a part of the LDS church. One of my good friends in high school was Mormon, and I became very accustomed to his family’s way of life.

In fact, hanging out with him and his family influenced me and probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. I remain indifferent about the Davies situation. A part of me feels for him and his team because they were having one of the best seasons of any BYU men’s basketball teams of all time, and that includes the Danny Ainge years.

But I also applaud the school for taking action and not making exceptions for star athletes.

Speaking of athletes, Kaua’i has its own Cougar in Kalaheo native Futi Tavana. The Kaua’i High grad is now in his junior season on the No. 2-ranked men’s volleyball team and is one of the team leaders in kills and blocks.

When I reached out to talk to him about what it’s like to live by the honor code, and what he thought of the Davies situation, he referred me to the school’s media relations department, which is customary. The media handler who called me back said the school instructed current student-athletes to refrain from talking about the situation to members of the press.

But with BYU being such a huge school, there’s bound to be someone who will want to talk about this issue. So I dug through my sources and came up with someone from Hawaii who was once a student-athlete in Provo.

At this person’s request, no identity will be revealed. Here’s what I was told about what it’s like to live by the honor code, and a reaction to the Davies situation:

“As an athlete entering Brigham Young University, we are fully aware of the honor code, what it means and the standard we are being held at,” the former BYU athlete said. “During the recruiting process, our coaches make sure the athletes understand it, and show them a video about the honor code when they come on their recruiting trips. The athletes and students at BYU then sign a document that confirms their understanding and commitment to the honor code.

“I don’t really have an opinion of Davies, but to be honest, everyone makes mistakes, whether they are a Division I athlete or not. It’s unfortunate that it happened at such a crucial time in the season, and has to be broadcasted so widely, but then again he was fully aware of what he was doing and must be held accountable for his actions. “I’m personally grateful for the honor code. It helps the kids focus on what they’re in school for: an education and to focus on their skills on the field/court. It made life much easier for me, that’s for sure.”

No matter what you may think about BYU’s honor code or the Davies situation, it’s pretty clear these rules do more good than harm.

To some, it may be unfair to suspend a student-athlete for having sex with his girlfriend, but a rule is a rule, and there should be no exception for anyone, even if it means ruining a possible national title run.

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