A stud college basketball player for a Division I program was kicked off the team a few days ago for having pre-marital sex.
It was consensual. It was admitted. It was also a violation of the BYU school honor code and so, the nation’s top rebounder (and if you don’t know anything about basketball, rebounds and the boards are where games are won and lost) has been sent packing.
And I wish more schools would follow BYU’s example. Not by banning pre-marital sex. That’s between the people engaged in the act. (And these are college kids.) I am talking about actually enforcing the rules – and the school honor codes – that are so clearly set forth before the year even begins.
I mean how many times have I felt like a school where I worked has allowed a kid to get away with murder (metaphorically speaking, of course? And I see it all over. It’s like we have rules and yet, we allow the lines to be soft and fuzzy and loosely adhered to and the old saying of “give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile” comes into play time after time after time.
Sure, BYU probably just cost themselves a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney and perhaps a boatload of sheckels should they not advance deep into March Madness as many would have predicted last week. But chalk one up for integrity, justice being blind and all that other goody-two-shoes stuff.
Young people will always test the edge of limits. And when they cross the line and then the line accommodates their infractions by shape-shifting so that the rule which was broken wasn’t really ever a rule but rather more of a hopeful guideline, it sets kids up for worse things later down the road when the reed no longer bends with the wind but instead snaps.
Schools who tolerate the smaller infractions see way more incidents of larger infractions… because kids are always seeking that aforementioned edge. Go soft on tardies and soon you have truancy. Go soft on the dress code and soon you have indecency. Go soft on high expectations for academic rigor and soon you have middling effort characterizing the top end of the spectrum.
BYU might take a short term hit (most probably, they will) but the principles by which they run their school were just tremendously reinforced.
And if you want to play by different rules, BYU is not the school for you. But if you want to attend BYU, you better keep your chin up and your nose clean.
Sure, I can be as big a softie when it comes to second chances and breaks and so on that there is. But when the integrity of the entire institution is on the line, you either have principles or you do not. It’s why revenge killings don’t fly in the U.S. even if someone deserved to die for their actions; we let the courts mete out justice. Otherwise, if we go case by case, it’s a society ruled by principle-less chaos.
And you can’t tell me when you look out on the educational horizon in America, we couldn’t use a few more folks like the powers-that-be at BYU to take a hardline against discipline violations on our nation’s campuses.
Brandon Davies (the ball player) will land on his feet. And so will BYU. I only hope people are paying attention.
Sex Ed as taught by Brigham Young University, a lesson for many of us.