College basketball at its highest level is a corrupt cesspool (and that’s probably understating things). Agents/handlers sell players to schools. Players cheat on tests and run afoul of the law with minimal consequences. The NCAA and its member schools make billions of dollars a year off the backs of unpaid “student-athletes”, many of whom come from impoverished environments. Schools revoke player’s scholarships if they suddenly become unproductive on the court. So, considering all of this, what has recently transpired with the BYU Cougars basketball team is shocking and a breath of fresh air.
In case you haven’t heard, the Cougars have dismissed their leading rebounder and best big man, Brandon Davies, from the team due to him breaking the school’s honour code (I’m Canadian and we spell honour with a “u” – deal with it). What horrible, dark, twisted, heinous act did Davies commit to get himself booted from the team (and perhaps from the school)? He admitted to having premarital sex with his girlfriend, which is a no-no at the strict Mormon school. This might seem like a laughable, trivial offense to us (especially when you consider that an unnamed University of Washington player was allowed to play this season despite being accused of raping a 16-year-old – no charges ended up being filed), but it isn’t to the school and they did the right thing. Which is shocking – a big-time NCAA school doing the right thing, before being forced to by outside forces. The school could have looked the other way, or at least keep the issue quite until after the season, but instead they removed one of their best players at the most crucial time of the season. The Cougars played their first game without Davies last night and got upset at home by New Mexico, basically eliminating any chance that they had at getting a number one seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
While BYU fans (and college basketball fans in general) must be devasted by this decision, the school has to be applauded for its actions. Considering the team probably won’t be able to go as deep into the Tournament without Davies as originally hoped, they are in effect giving up millions of dollars in NCAA money and countless millions more in donations, not to mention a huge uptick in applications to the school. But rules are rules, especially at a religious school like BYU. While it is disappointing to see this have to happen, it is also refreshing – morals over money for a change. Imagine that (in college athletics, no less).