Division I athletes usually get away with anything and everything, just as long as they continue to dominate on the court or on the field and bring in revenue for their university.
Usually schools have codes of conduct that the athletes have to abide by and if they do not they have to suffer the consequences, unless the athletic director and school president choose to turn the other cheek.
Garrett Wittles, a junior infielder for Florida International University, is accused of raping a17 year-old girl while vacationing in the Bahamas. At the time of the incident he also had a 56 game hitting-streak, the second longest in NCAA history, so instead of losing money and publicity for their school, FIU Athletic Director Peter Garcia chose to continue to let Wittles play. His hitting streak ended the very first game of the 2011 season, sending FIU’s athletic program back into obscurity.
BYU sophomore center Brandon Davies did not get the luxury of having school officials ignore his offense. Davies did not get caught with drugs, did not get a DUI, nor did he get caught accepting money from sports agents but he willingly admitted to having consensual sex with his girlfriend.
As a result he was suspended for the rest of the basketball season, including the NCAA tournament next week. To many people this does not seem like an offense that deserves a suspension, but to the students of BYU it is a major offense to their honor code.
When a student enrolls at BYU they must sign and live by the honor code and they know the commitment they are making. The honor code states that the students must “live a chaste and virtuous life” and if the code is broken it is up to school officials to deliver the consequences.
According to the sports world the suspension of Davies is a huge mistake on BYU’s part because he is a critical part in the success of their basketball team, who at the time of Davies’ suspension was ranked No. 3 in the country, but their actions should not be ridiculed, they should be applauded.
All Division I schools and their athletic programs should follow in BYU’s footsteps and actually punish their student athletes for the things that they do wrong, not just ignore the problem. If the athletes see that there are no consequences for their actions they will continue to violate the rules and regulations over and over.
No matter how much revenue these universities lose by suspending their star athletes, it is time for them to start enforcing the rules that they themselves impose.
Whether or not one agrees with the code that BYU has their students sign, we can all agree that suspending Davies was the right call.