PROVO — In the midst of one of BYU’s greatest basketball seasons to date, starting center Brandon Davies was suspended Tuesday for violating BYU's Honor Code, letting some of the air out of the No. 3 Cougars' growing case for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
The decision to suspend Davies garnered varied reactions from students around BYU’s campus.
“It’s a mixture of feelings,” said Jacob Cosby, who is majoring in accounting. “You feel really bad that it has to be such a public ordeal for him. But the rules are there and he did sign it. It’s sad for him and hard for the team but probably what needed to be done if he’s getting cut from the team.”
Despite the Cougars’ success, students firmly stood by the school’s decision to punish Davies for violating the Honor Code.
“We came to BYU and we signed a contract,” said non-LDS advertising major Andrew Tiu. “If you are a member (of the LDS Church) or not, it doesn’t matter. You’re bound to the same code and law that the school has provided simply because you signed a contract. It doesn’t matter what religion you are.”
Some fans and observers are criticizing BYU for not postponing or avoiding the suspension, but Pat Matheson, a member of the BYU lacrosse team, said the University would be ridiculed either way.
“Those who would mock BYU for suspending their starting center right before March Madness do so thinking only of sports,” Matheson said. “Had he not been suspended, the same people would have mocked BYU thinking that the Mormons have a double-standard for athletes.”
While supporting the school’s decision, students’ reactions to Davies’ conduct differed greatly.
“I just think it’s really unfortunate that (Davies) wasn’t living the way that he committed to live,” said BYU diver Nikki Przybyla. “I think it’s really selfish. It’s not just impacting him and his life, it’s affecting his team. He has kids around the country that look up to him and that’s not a way to set an example.”
Many students felt bad for what happened to Davies.
“It’s the difficult times when you need to support him the most," Cosby said. "It’s tough. It’s a bummer, but people make mistakes."
A lot of BYU students do believe that the Cougars still have a chance in the postseason, but that they have been limited because of the suspension.
“I think the biggest problem for BYU is an inside presence,” Tiu said. “We’ve got the outside game on lock. It’s the inside game that really needs work, when you lose a presence like Davies, that’s not good.”
However, many admitted that it might take a miracle for the Cougars to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament as once expected.
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“It would take everybody being on fire the whole time,” Cosby said. “The comfortable thing about (Davies) is that he’s a go-to low-post guy so it makes it difficult.”
Przybyla said the rest of the team will be able to make up the absence.
“I think that they’ll be fine,” Przybyla said. “Jimmer (Fredette) is the leader and all of them are really hard working. A team is all of its players and missing one isn’t enough to jeopardize their success."