If you follow college basketball right now, you know that BYU (Bringham Young University for those who have no concept of NCAA anything) is currently ranked in the top 10. They have a solid team and had/have a chance to actually make a run for the NCAA Championship this year, due greatly in part to their sophomore forward Brandon Davies.
BYU is a Mormon college. It is heavily funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or, as I like to call them, the people with magical underwear/the assholes who give Bill Hendrickson a hard time. I don't do religion, so to any Mormon readers, don't get offended. I am not a fan of any form of serious organized religion, and considering the LDS church gave an inordinate amount of money to Prop 8 in California (going Politico for a moment), I have as much respect for your church as I do the Catholic one, who is on that same train of discrimination. Sorry.
Regardless, BYU is indeed a religiously affiliated school. And when their athletes sign their letters of intent and head to halls of higher education at a school like BYU, they sign an honor pledge. I will not drink, I will not do anything that puts the team or myself in a bad light. They also agree to "live a chaste and virtuous life". AKA, no fucky fucky.
Okay, now, for someone who went to college at Maryland and hooked up with like, 20% of their male athlete population (I'm not good at math by the way), I mean, Jesus, take away booze and boning and honestly you have just destroyed the best parts of my collegiate career. So the point is, for me, the idea of going to such a school for what is considered the best four years of your life, seems insane to me. INSANE. People do it, however, and do it willfully and happily and that's their choice. While I might not have any fucking clue how they do it, people choose that kind of college experience and hey, to each their own.
But I feel like college athletics throw a wrench into the cogs of "this is what we expect from our student body, so don't come here if you don't want to play by the rules". Because NCAA sports - basketball and football in particular - are a big deal to a lot of kids. For some, it's a way out of a shitty life. The only shot of getting an education. The way to keep their dreams of going pro alive. Some guys aren't JJ Redick (thank the Lord). They don't have 37 of the Top 50 ranked basketball programs banging down their door with hats and NLI's. So schools like BYU become not just an option, but the only chance. So in many ways, this might not necessarily be an athlete absolutely choosing this college and its way of life and its belief system, but going with the only options.
Now, in reading his roster page, he was apparently also recruited by Utah, Gonzaga (another religiously affiliated school), Utah State, Cal Berkeley, Washington State, Penn State and Santa Clara. I know nothing about his financial background or that of his family. I don't know if the kid is on dire straights or lives in a fucking beautiful mansion and has 27 cars in Utah. But to play devil's advocate, say the kid does come from a family that couldn't afford to put him through college. And say BYU offered the best financial package. Can you really say he "chose" BYU himself, or did he choose it because the circumstances he is in raised BYU to the top?
The LA Times is praising BYU for standing it's ground and sticking to its moral code, saying that in this day in age, college athletes get in trouble for all sorts of reasons and the schools do everything to make it so their punishment doesn't effect the team. BYU didn't do that, in this case, and they lost their first game without Davies in a big way. However, as someone who just doesn't do religion, the idea of suspending someone for something that isn't criminal seems retarded. The fact that ESPN had to clarify that Davies' suspension was NOT the result of criminal activity says a lot. This kid got fucking suspended for an ENTIRE SEASON for doing something completely legal and something that is a personal choice. You are potentially ruining a kid's career and a team's achievements, for what? Moral codes? For someone disagreeing with the college's personal faith belief system? Is there really anything moral about demanding a student athlete adhere to a belief system that might not actually be his own, just so he can go to classes and play ball there? And should this issue really have cost him an entire season?
Travis Reed, God love him, played (and maybe still plays, I'm old) for Maryland lax. And my senior year, dude was arrested for driving a moped drunk in the parking lot of Wawa on route 1 (this is how we entertain ourselves in the great state of Maryland) and having weed on him. He was suspended I think 4 games and we lost two of those games, a big one to Navy. The kid didn't change due to suspension, I know that for a fact. Had he been suspended longer, I don't think it would have done anything more to change his behavior.
Here's the deal - it's fucking college, okay. And maybe I'm wrong for believing college should be about figuring shit out. Fucking up. Getting a little too wasted and realizing 5 shots of whiskey make for the worst hangover ever. Learning how to have safe sex. Figuring out if and when you WANT to have sex. Making decisions for yourself. That, in my opinion, is what makes us all adults. That ability to have a safety net of "it was college", but also saying "fuck, I'm 20, 21, I should figure it out". Making the rules for kids at this age, and enforcing them in such a serious way, takes away the self discovery. Takes away the ability to learn how to make judgments for yourself. There are consequences for this kid here, and for what? Because he did something TOTALLY LEGAL and something very biologically innate. He made a personal choice for himself to have sex, and now the college is all "JOSEPH SMITH WILL SMITE THEE!!!" I mean, did he have a one night stand? How do we know this isn't a serious girlfriend? You're punishing a kid in a huge way for basically being 20. If he did something illegal, I'd be all for suspension. But punishing a kid in such a ridiculously harsh and devastating way for doing what most 20 year olds do is, to me, unfair.
But then on the flip side, kid chose BYU. I mean, if he isn't financially strapped, if he had better offers, he signed onto BYU knowing the situation of the so call morality code. He signed it. Penn State, Washington State, Cal Berkeley, those places wouldn't have made him promise to not use his dick for four years. And still he chose BYU. So perhaps it is his own fault. I personally would never choose a school affiliated with a church that had such a sneaky ass agenda against the gays, but again, that's me. I also wouldn't choose a school that told me "you can't take classes about math if you choose to utilize your vagina". If my fucking mother didn't tell me I couldn't have sex, you think some Mormon fuck in a bowtie with glasses in some office is going to tell me when I can't get laid? Fuck off. That is NOT a decision a college should FORCE a person, an ADULT, to make. If an 18 year old kid can decide to go to the fucking army and possibly die, all by himself, he can choose if he wants to use his dick or not and if it conflicts with his OWN moral code.
I am very torn. I believe a college has the right to have a set of rules. But I also believe the college's religious beliefs and foundations shouldn't dictate the lives of those who do SO MUCH for the school. Brandon Davies is doing a LOT for BYU right now. He did nothing wrong. Premarital sex is NOT wrong in terms of anything other than PERSONAL belief code. And I just find it ridiculous that the school chooses to put such a rule in with things that are illegal like underage drinking, drugs, drunk and disorderly behavior, etc. Lumping sex into a pile of shit that includes all things that will get you arrested is just another knock for making your own choices about sex. It paints sex in a terrible light and makes people who do choose to have premarital sex look like they've made the wrong decision. I did not make a wrong decision. Maybe other people wouldn't have made the decisions I made, and hey, totally fucking cool. But I would never want someone to use religion as a means of dictating my athletic career.
Brandon Davies should pack his shit up, tell the Mormons at BYU to go fuck themselves since they can't fuck other people, and hike his ass to a college that allows him to be a 20 year old college kid. Even if he IS Mormon, it's very clear he isn't jiving with every part of the faith and has some questions, like "what does my dick do?". And at 20, he should be allowed to test his own faith and decide for himself if its the right faith for him. I'm sorry, God and basketball have NOTHING to do with one another. And as such, I just don't believe BYU should have the right to enforce codes of conduct based on religious practices.