Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ruminations on the Brandon Davies Debacle

First of all, I want to say that I agree with what Beky Beaton says on the subject.

Secondly, while this is a hit to the BYU basketball program and to the upcoming NCAA tournament hopes, I have to say that this isn't an entirely bad thing. There will always be detractors that bash on BYU and the honor code and nothing that anyone says or does will ever change their minds. But think of it this way. BYU is currently the number 3 ranked men's basketball team in the country. The play of Jimmer Fredette and the rest of the team has resulted in a veritable media maelstrom hovering over the BYU campus over the past month and a half. 4 out of 5 dentists agree that Jimmer has gotten more air time on ESPN than 99% of all professional the course of their entire careers. (Yes that is data that has been painstakingly researched and can be backed up by 6 or 7 trusted sources.) The most respected news sources in America, from the Wall Street Journal, to USA Today, to the New York Times have been running stories on BYU and their March Madness chances. And it has all climaxed this weekend with BYU's victory over San Diego State. What I'm trying to say is this: BYU is a staple in the current American cultural consciousness. They're talking about us. (Again with the ethereal they. Who are they?)

Enter the Brandon Davies debacle. (You can't help but to really feel for the kid. He's really got to be beating himself up here. Thank heavens for the doctrine of repentance.) The way I see it, this couldn't have come at a better time. BYU is now, as much as at any other time, on the forefront of public thought. So while everyone is thinking about BYU, the public is being told that BYU has willingly shot themselves in the foot with regards to postseason advancement by suspending one of the three best players on the team. And all that comes as a direct result of something called the honor code. I've found at least two different places on ESPN's website where BYU's honor code is laid out in full. People are asking themselves, "do BYU students really agree to that? more importantly to BYU athletic stars agree to that?" And behind all of it there is the underlying assumption that the Mormon church is the impetus for all of this.

I can't help but to think that some people who before had little or no interest in the church will be curious to know why 30,000+ students would willingly agree to such highly conservative and "unrealistic" ideals. They have to wonder why a school, in the midst of such success and positive press, would take such drastic action rather than just quietly brushing it under the rug or waiting until the off season to act. There have been and there surely will be those who lambaste BYU and the church for their actions, but I am just as sure that there will be a few honest seekers of truth who will take notice of this event and as such will be softened somewhat in their hearts with regards to BYU and the Mormons. As such, some time down the road when two young men knock on their doors and ask to share the message of the restored gospel, these people will be more easily entreated to learning about the doctrinal foundation behind what has happened these past couple of days.

Publicity for the moral standards of the church is and always will be a good thing. While in this instance it may perhaps come at the expense of "the season that might have been," it may serve a greater good. I just hope that Davies himself uses this as a learning rather than an embittering experience so that it might serve his own greater eternal good.


  1. Nice Sam... love the post. From an X and O perspective, I have my own thoughts, and they are very positive actually. BYU has a magic number of 50. That is 50% - 3 pointers that is. BYU is a run and gun team in the open court. They drive, dish, shoot. Davies is not a slasher, disher, or a shooter. I think by his suspension we will be fine on the court. Yes, we will miss his rebounding and his presence against other bigs. Saying that, if BYU plays their game by shooting and running the floor like they do best we still stand good chances against other good teams. Now is the time for others to step up (Magnuson, Anderson, Collinsworth, Hartsock). They will pull out the spirit of Rudy and make this happen, I'm excited for the push forward and I think it will be good in the long run. I hope Davies can take all into consideration and feel he is welcome back with open arms if that is his decision.

  2. I really appreciate this perspective. It made me realize that this can be a great teaching opportunity for my boys: integrity and honor trump chances to be a seed in the final four any old day.