"Criticism of the school's policies (is) not necessarily fair to BYU," he wrote. "The school has worked hard to establish its reputation, and its no-tolerance policy for violators is a big part of that. … BYU does deserve commendation for holding true to its principles."
Baumer, less than one year removed from college graduation, continued that he "didn't know one student at school that could have complied with all of the standards listed in BYU's honor code." However, maybe Baumer was wrong — maybe he really did know people who could have complied with the honor code. ESPN's Sports Nation web poll asked the question, "Could you live under the BYU honor code for one year?" Late Friday, the results were 57 percent to 43 percent in favor of "yes."
Writing for Commentary magazine, Peter Wehner praised the traditional values of BYU's honor code at a time when many universities no longer emphasize efforts to instill a moral compass in their students.
"Once upon a time, universities were committed to the formation of character and shaping the inner lives of their students," Wehner said. "This commitment traveled under the name 'in loco parentis.' For most universities today, this is a quaint notion. At BYU, it's alive and well. And even those who don't agree with the honor code itself are willing to praise those who aspire to live their lives a certain way, in accordance with certain principles and core beliefs."
The Davies coverage has appeared in such unexpected places as a piece in the British tabloid Daily Mail about how more than a quarter of young Americans say they are virgins and a Glen Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star article suggesting punitive measures for a politician who isn't keeping his word.
As difficult as it may seem with such a saturation of media coverage for the Brandon Davies saga, this week was really just the first chapter of a larger story. Some important questions won't have answers anytime soon (i.e., will Davies ever suit up again for BYU?), but one pressing issue will now steadily march toward resolution in the days and weeks ahead: how will the Cougars finish the Year of Jimmer without their best big man?
"There are a few … who do not think the Cougars are finished," the New York Times noted Thursday. "But everyone is looking on with a slightly puzzled expression."
Others who have commented:
"Many schools have honor codes, with students mandated to live and learn by certain standards. Still, the one that applies for students at Brigham Young's campuses in Utah, Hawaii and Idaho is more extensive than most, part of a conscious effort to 'provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.'"
ESPN columnist Pad Forde:
"In my youth I was not sober enough, chaste enough, conformist enough, dogmatic enough or decaffeinated enough to have been a very good student at BYU. But today I am impressed by the school's commitment to its rules, even at a potentially tremendous cost to its basketball team."
Wall Street Journal blog:
"While most universities don't have honor codes as tough as Brigham Young's — which also forbids the consumption of alcohol and coffee — other universities also aren't BYU, and thus don't require their students to abide by the rules of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
ESPN blogger Andy Katz:
"Reaction … has been mixed with alumni applauding the move of upholding the code and other outsiders wondering why Davies couldn't be suspended in six weeks. But as one source said, 'We are who we are, and that's not going to change. We represent the [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]."'
Washington Post columnist Tracee Hamilton
Fox Sports columnist Jeff Goodman
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