I got tired of Florida fans (especially those within my own family!) ragging me for former FSU Coach Bobby Bowden’s “forgiving” and giving “second chance” to wayward players doing things like, well, breaking the law. Mostly because they were right. In the end, FSU’s standards amounted to either a simple desire to win with the best players, or an enabling spirit which leaves college students unaccountable and only reinforces their behavior. Neither is loving.
But if you’re like me, you also have to wonder what the deal is with BYU dismissing star center Brandon Davies from their team.
We don’t know anything, and its really none of our business. Yet most folks aware of the situation are intrigued because the reason for his dismissal comes down to a “violation of the honor code.” An honor code in some colleges like Presbyterian College will include things like “no cheating” or “plagiarism.”And violations often lead to dismissal from the college.
But a Mormon honor code, since it is not informed by THE gospel, but ANOTHER gospel, is naturally going to include violations which differ greatly from biblical standards. Some of them differ from not only the law of Christ and the United States, but that of common sense or “night owls.” Here’s a list of honor code commitments from BYU’s honor code office website.
You can find answers to your burning questions like “how do I get a beard exception” at the website as well.
Live a chaste and virtuous life
Obey the law and all campus policies
Use clean language
Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
Participate regularly in church services
Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code
Now if this lad violated the law or substance abuse, I applaud BYU. That would be a rare display of concern for integrity, even at the cost of winning. BYU has only two losses and could get a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. This dismissal could end up costing them a national championship.
But of course, if he were dismissed because of a cuss word or a trip to Starbucks, then, wow. I have a hard time imagining that was the case but I don’t want to slander the school or the lad. Yet in some strange way, I think I would applaud such punishment for “minor” violations. At least they are consistent.
When a group of folks add anything to the gospel, whether it be the Book of Mormon, political affiliation, or even an unhealthy family dynamic (the unwritten rules that have to be embraced to be accepted), it will inevitably lead to rules taught by men and a concomitant slavery to them. That much will consistently be true in every situation where the gospel is subverted.
Sad for the lad, but maybe their rejection will lead to God’s approval for him in Christ, who offers us not only a new record but a new freedom.