The BYU men’s basketball team is on a roll this year. Ranked #3 in the nation, and boasting a leading candidate for the Player of the Year Award (Jimmer Fredette), BYU is 27-2. On Tuesday, though, their chances of winning the National Championship were dealt a crushing blow when Brandon Davies, a starter, was dismissed from the team for the remainder of the season for “a violation of the school’s honor code.” The nature of the violation has not been made public (UPDATE: Thursday morning, Davies was said to be dismissed for having sex with his girlfriend), but the nature of the violation is not what I’m writing about here. I’m also not writing about whether or not someone should be dismissed from a team because of such violations. What I am writing about is the code itself, and a question posed by ESPN’s SportsNation on Wednesday: “Could you live up to BYU’s honor code?”
A famously Mormon school, named in honor of the second most famous Mormon ever (and wearer of the most famous Mormon beard ever
), here is BYU’s code in its entirety:
1. Be honest.
2. Live a chaste and virtuous life.
3. Obey the law
and all campus policies.
4. Use clean language.
5. Respect others.
6. Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse.
7. Participate regularly in church services.
8. Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards.
9. Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code.
My seminary had a similar Code of Conduct that I had to sign before being admitted. I signed it, knowing that I could fulfill it only by the broadest and most superficial definitions of the “commandments.” Be honest, indeed.
posed the question, though, and what do you think the answer was? Interestingly, there have been 13,700 votes cast (as of this writing) and EXACTLY 50% of people said that, yes, they could live up to the Honor Code for a year.
What are people thinking? That they can be completely honest for a year? How regular does regular church attendance have to be? How clean does clean language have to be? That a “virtuous” life only refers to their naughty bits and not to their minds? And that’s not even bringing up the uber-amorphous “respect others” dictum. Do we think that 50% of people are being dishonest about their human capability, or do we think that 50% of people underestimate the power and depth of a commandment like Be Honest? Could you survive at BYU?
UPDATE: You have to vote yourself to see the results, but there are now 56% of respondents claiming to be able to follow the Code for a year, out of 23,258 votes.