During the BYU basketball game last night, I checked out Twitter, since I wasn’t able to actually watch the game. I was really only mildly interested in the score, and how BYU was doing, since they have been playing exceptionally well this year. As most people also already know, BYU suspended one of their starting players this week for violating the Honor Code, so I had to wade through thousands of comments about how strict BYU is and how crazy their standards are. It got me thinking.
1. As has been mentioned so many times already, but needs to be stated again: BYU is a private, religious university. There is an Honor Code that every student understands and signs an agreement stating that they will live by it. No one is forced into this, and if they do not want to live those standards, there are plenty of other universities out there. If a student attends BYU it is because they choose to, and by so choosing they willingly place themselves in that environment.
I have the same problem with people who join the Army Reserves to get their college paid for, then complain when they are called up for active duty and shipped off somewhere. That’s what you signed up for. You knew what you were getting into when you volunteered.
2. These standards really are not that unreasonable. Read it. It’s not that bad. There is a short video clip of some ESPN commentators discussing this incident that is really worth checking out. I love the guy who says that this Honor Code at BYU helps make men. He also laments that any coach could even live up to the first part of the Honor Code, “Be Honest”. Sad, isn’t it. But this Honor Code really just asks people to “Live a chaste and virtuous life”, and what’s wrong with that?
3. Life is not all about sex. I just had to say it. Although BYU has not (and really should not) disclose the exact nature of the Honor Code violation, there are plenty of rumors flying around, and everybody’s sure that he was suspended for having premarital sex with his girlfriend. I am absolutely shocked at how many people are commenting on sex. Is it really that hard to believe that young people will willingly and gladly abstain from sex until marriage? Why does everybody think that having sex is just ‘part of the college experience’?
I just have to say it one more time: Life is not all about sex. I don’t care how much TV you watch, how many movies you see, how many songs on the radio you hear — There is more to life than just having sex. Seriously. There is more to marriage than sex. And as I look at the current debate about marriage and its meaning, as I look at the appalling divorce rate in this country, it becomes very obvious to me that too many people do not understand that there is more to a relationship with another person than just wanting to get them naked.
4. It’s all about principles. It really is. One other thing that I really appreciated about that ESPN commentary, they said that this situations says a lot about BYU: That they value their Honor Code above even winning a national championship. As I said that life is not all about sex, life is not all about basketball, either. Life is about taking responsibility for your actions, about finding out who you are, about developing character and living by your principles. I have a lot of respect for BYU for not looking the other way, or excusing this behavior because the kid was a good basketball player. I think a lot of people are fed up with that kind of behavior in professional sports and elsewhere. Those who have money or prestige or power or fame should be held to the same standards that everyone else is. It’s just that simple. I even saw that these last few weeks in Germany, where the Defense Minister just resigned because it came out that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis. He thought he was special, he thought he could get away with it – he didn’t. And while I am sad for him, he made his own decisions and must now live with the consequences.
That’s my final word. So many people are deriding BYU for this decision, but it wasn’t BYU’s decision. This player made decisions and must now live with the consequences of those actions. That is what Honor is about, and that is why BYU had no choice but to enforce the rules and regulations that were already in place and that had been agreed to. It is justice, pure and simple. But I’d like to hope there will be mercy involved as well. If the allegations are true, I hope somebody is looking out for the girl who was involved. I hope she is doing all right, and I sincerely hope that no crazy fans blame her for the suspension.