by Justin Froeber
Imagine this: Your coaching a Division I basketball team. Your team is having a dream season. A 27-2 record. Ranked #3 in the nation. With only two weeks left until March Madness begins your team has a great shot at earning a #1 seed to the big dance.
You arrive at your office on Tuesday morning only to find out that one of your players, a starter and the team’s leading rebounder, has violated your school’s honor code. At most universities his behavior would not even be considered misconduct. However, at your school, his actions clearly violate the standards set forth by the university. With your dream season on the line, what do you do? Do you suspend him, or do you compromise your values and let it slide?
In the case of Bringham Young University this situation recently became a reality. On March 2nd, Brandon Davies, the teams leading rebounder, was dismissed from the team for violating the university’s honor code. With a shot at a #1 seed and a possible national title, BYU decided that upholding their values and principles and potentially losing their shot at a national title was more important than compromising their values.
Since the university’s founding in 1875, BYU has chosen to put their values first. While other universities consistently compromise their values for athletic glory by letting arrests and academic underachievement slide, BYU chooses to hold its athletes to a higher standard.
BYU’s honor code is strict. Many critics ridicule BYU for having an “unreasonable” honor code. Could you hold yourself to such standards? I know that during my college career there are a few pieces of BYU’s honor code that I would have had difficulty upholding, and there are many athletes out there who turn down the opportunity to attend BYU because of the strict honor code the university upholds.
With such high standards and values one would imagine that it would be difficult to recruit players and enjoy consistent success. Yet BYU has found a way to do it. They have enjoyed high levels of success in both basketball and football. BYU produces bowl-eligible football teams year in and year out, and in 1984 they brought home a Division I national title. Despite the Davies’ suspension the BYU basketball team is on it’s way to earning its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament bid.
I think that as a fraternity we can learn a thing or two from BYU. BYU holds their athletes to a more elevated standard than anyone else in the nation, and they are still able to compete with best of the best year after year. I think many times we compromise our values as Chi Psis for little bits and pieces of glory. We bid a man that we probably shouldn’t just so we can “have numbers.” We allow Brothers who fail to meet our academic standards to continue to attend social functions just because he is “part of the team” and we don’t want to hurt his feelings. We engage in activities that do not align with our values or fail to adhere to our policies just so we can be the talk around campus for a few minutes on Monday morning.
By compromising our standards and values for little pieces of glory, what kind of message are we sending to our members? What kind of message are we sending to our stakeholders? What kind of message are we sending to the community?
I think it is time for us to start holding our members to a higher standard.
What if every man who passed through Chi Psi had lived up to the values and principles Chi Psi was founded on? What if all of our Alphas started holding our recruits and members to a higher standard? What if we held all of our Brothers accountable for living up to our values? What kind of difference would it make? Could your Alpha become the best fraternity on your campus while holding your members to a higher standard? What kind of Alpha could you build? What kind of men could you attract?
Even with it all on the line, shouldn’t our values matter?
- A Look At BYU’s Honor Code, Which Brandon Davies Violated By Having Premarital Sex (sbnation.com)
- You: BYU Sports: The Cougars Made the Right Decision in Suspending Brandon Davies (bleacherreport.com)
- National pundits weigh in on BYU’s Honor Code, Davies’ dismissal ()
- BYU Kicks Brandon Davis off Team for Having Sex: Has Honor Code Gone Too Far? (bleacherreport.com)