As the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament gets underway, the madness of March had already been in full swing at Brigham Young University weeks ago. A school founded by, and named after, a well known adulterer and bigot.
Brandon Davies was an important post player on the basketball team that was ranked third at one time. The school suspended Davies for a violation of an honor code the school claims they live by. Few members of the media questioned the ruling, and none even acknowledged who spawned these guidelines. Guidelines he hardly lived by while alive.
Students at BYU are required to "live a chaste and virtuous life." Students are also required to be honest; abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse; and attend church regularly."
While no one has said how the school found out initially, Davies was suspended from the team for the rest of the season for having premarital sex with his girlfriend. Davies, who grew up in nearby Provo, future at BYU beyond this year is also in doubt.
His girlfriend is from Lindon, Utah. She plays volleyball at Arizona State University. Her private life has been exposed to the media now by a school who is crying this is all about an honor code. Other athletes have gone through what Davies has. Reno Mahe, who played in the NFL, also was once suspended for an honor code violation.
Brigham Young founded the school in 1875. He lobbied for the "Act in Relation to Service." This law made slavery legal in the territory of Utah. It also made it illegal that "any white person guilty of sexual intercourse with any of the African race," regardless of their being married, consenting adults."
The law was in effect in Utah until the 1960's. Young also once announced a priesthood ban which prohibited all men of black African descent from holding the priesthood. This rule stood until 1978.
Davies is, how Brigham Young worded it, from the African race. His girlfriend is a white person, It seems obvious that, though these laws were repealed 30-40 years ago, Brigham Young University still enforces them in remembrance of their bigoted founder.
This is a school that was amongst the first to tap into the Tongan and Samoan communities to get athletes to keep their programs competitive. Vai Sikahema was the first on 13 Tongan players to play in the NFL. In 1978, the same year the banning of black men from priesthood was repealed, Mekeli Ieremia joined Mosi Tatupu of USC to become the third and fourth of 29 Samoans to get to the NFL.
Davies had offers to play basketball at schools like Gonzaga, Utah State, Cal Berkeley, Washington State, Penn State and Santa Clara. It seems likely he decided to stay in Provo to stay close to his family.
The Church of Latter Day Saints were spinning expressions like BYU is "special." One On Faith panelist said, "I've always shared this with people, that it was probably one of the best things that had happened to me. I appreciate what BYU did to me. I appreciate the honor code and what it stands for. I appreciate that they enforce it. You get a lot of schools that say they have codes, but I don't think anyone enforces it like BYU does. It's a great school. It's a one-of-a-kind school."
Yet this is a code of conduct drawn up by hypocrites who rarely lived the code themselves. Let alone the dismal reality that bigotry is smeared all across the "honorable tradition". But hypocrisy didn't just start with Brigham Young.
Joseph Smith is the founder of the church that runs the school His son, Joseph Jr., took over when his father died. He was not the bigot that Young was, but he fathered children out of wedlock just as Young would later. When Joseph Smith Jr. was murdered, Young was named the successor and started calling himself "American Moses".
He started his school almost 30 years later. Young was also a rabid Polygamist, marrying at least 55 women in his lifetime. While he had 56 children with 16 wives, historians note he had children with women he did not marry. He was viewed as a autocratic ruler.
Young died in 1877, and his school seems still set in that year on many issues. Some think the school has views on interracial relationships much like Young did over 134 years ago. Davies has seemingly fallen from this point of view.
This hypocrisy BYU carries as a proud banner will now hopefully be noticed by future prospective students now that the school has shown their true colors. Those rules of "do as I say, not as I do" should have someone think twice.
Rules that may keep star basketball player Jimmer Fredette from at least duplicating the successes Danny Ainge had for the school in 1981. Though Fredette is not as tall as Ainge was, he can score at will seemingly.
Yet BYU has struggled since their moronic suspension of Davies. Losing the 6'9" power forward, on a team that wasn't rich with height and athleticism in the first place, has been a tremendous blow. The Cougars are young, with guards Fredette and Jackson Emery as the only seniors on the squad. They also have just three juniors.
Before the school somehow discovered Davies was doing what billions of people his age have tried, fans were excited about BYU's prospects. With opponents getting "Jimmered" with such regularity that whispers of comparisons went beyond Ainge to a certain player that Ainge had played with in the NBA.
In 1979, Larry Bird was a senior averaging over 28 points per game. Fredette is averaging over 28 points in his own senior year. Bird took a small school called Indiana State University to the NCAA Finals before losing.
Like BYU now, Indiana State was not full of talent. The only other player on that team who was drafted by the NBA was guard Carl Nicks. Nicks also happens to be, so far, the last player drafted out of Indiana State by the NBA.
Some scouts think Davies has the talent to play at the next level eventually. While Nicks helped Bird by chipping in 19 points a game in 1979, Davies was helping Fredette by leading BYU in rebounds while being third on the team in scoring.
If someone were to open a history book in front of the BYU elders now, perhaps Davies could be reinstated? Yet it appears the great season Jimmer Fredette has had will end up somewhere in the realm far behind a "Pistol" Pete Maravich as the great gunner who was never able to do all he was capable of.
Unlike Maravich, Fredette can look at the flawed hogwash of a small group of blind hypocrites in a leadership role as the reason his team is circumcised before they get started.