By: A. True Ott, PhD
Brigham Young University is today under the national spotlight, and this time no amount of “spin doctoring” by ex-BYU Cougar/Boston Celtic great (and LDS Bishop) Danny Ainge, and the PR department of the LDS Church “Brethren” in Salt Lake City will be able to obfuscate the truth.
In case you didn’t know, the BYU men’s basketball team has enjoyed great success this season. Following a nationally televised win against top-10 ranked San Diego State, the Cougars ascended to a #3 national ranking and a possible #1 seeding in the NCAA Tournament event known world-wide as “March Madness”. The following day after this amazing win at SDSU, however, brought a “confession” from the lips of the young and highly-talented 19-year old sophomore center and key-player Brandon Davies. He confessed to his coach Dave Rose that he had gone too far with his girlfriend. In a moment of passion and guilt, he freely admitted that he had lost his virginity, and of course, felt incredible personal guilt about his sinful act – which then led him to his open “confession”. Coach Rose then contacted BYU athletic director Holmoe, who then in turn reported the indiscretion to the “BYU HONOR CODE GESTAPO POLICE” – and by Monday afternoon, Brandon Davies was forever branded with the ultimate scarlet letter – he was immediately booted off the basketball team – for starters.
I know, I know. Davies signed a contract that he wouldn’t engage in pre-marital sex, smoke cigarettes, drink Budweiser or Hard Lemonade, cheat on tests, grow a scruffy beard and/or have his hair in a pony tail. Ainge is right, of course, when he tells the press that this “builds character” in young people – that they need boundaries to guide them. This, I submit with all due respect to Mr. Ainge, is NOT about boundaries, but rather – is ALL ABOUT METHODOLOGY – I submit it is all about how to handle those boundaries.
Here is the dichotomy. What Brandon Davies did would not have cost him his LDS membership. Far from it, as a matter of fact. Thousands of young LDS 19-year-olds have found themselves in the exact same situation. That’s what raging hormones do, after all, in the bodies of young 19-year-olds. Why then, is it such a vital imperative for BYU student-athletes to be held to a much higher code of conduct than say LDS student-athletes at arch-rival University of Utah? Let’s be honest, this is why BYU is villified and mocked by fans and students at other NCAA university venues. It’s NOT that they are mostly white and often have cherubic, angelic faces (ala poster-boy Jimmer Fredette). No, it’s not that, folks. Americans respect and honor virtue, fair-play and integrity – for the most part. No, what brings out the venom is the double standard – the haughty “I’m Better than You Spiritually and Morally” nose-in-the-air superiority complex – while often bending the rules with dirty tactics to “gain the edge”.
Here’s the TRUTH, folks. It is human nature to OVER-COMPENSATE IN PUBLIC for short-comings, inadequacies and failures realized in private. For instance, a father who himself has a problem with morality, will do his best to APPEAR doubly chaste to his friends and colleagues. This, in the warped psyche of the imperfect human being, is the coping mechanism employed. I submit this is exactly why BYU continues to employ such a ridiculous “Honor Code”.
Consider just a few facts.
1. Predominantly Mormon Utah leads the nation in on-line pornography subscriptions. Let’s see, the public “front” is one of wholesome family-values of chastity and morality. In private, however, porn sites give “the priesthood” an outlet. See http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705288350/Utah-No-1-in-online-porn-subscriptions-report-says.html
2. Brigham Young – the very namesake of the University – had at least 55 wives. Think about it. Brigham’s (and for that matter LDS Founder Joseph Smith) sexual conquests make young Brandon Davies’ indiscretions pale into insignificance. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Young