Things People Don’t Understand

Like principles, right vs wrong, personal responsibility, higher law.

Allahpundit put up an article regarding BYU (a Mormon University) and their basketball forward who got in trouble. And Allahpundit showed he just doesn’t understand.

The quibble is over how long the suspension should be. BYU’s sentence: He’s done for the rest of the season, an astoundingly serious punishment given that they’re a top 10 team and a legit shot to win the tournament.

Actually, Allahpundit’s emphasis is on the wrong clause. “Given that they’re a top 10 team” means absolutely nothing. But that’s where Allahpundit’s emphasis should be, because that’s the point, isn’t it? You cannot follow your code if following your code actually causes you some discomfort? If principles can be cast aside for glory and money, then those aren’t actually principles. They’re options.

This is a national-championship-caliber team likely throwing away its chance at glory to make a point about honor.

Here, too, Allahpundit shows he really does not understand. As one of the commenters, Ronnie, said, “that all depends on what your definition of glory is.” Aquaviva added “No, it’s about honor, not to make a point about honor.” When you misplace your goals of glory and you redefine downward what honor is all about, you come up with reasons to throw your principles away. And you expect everyone else to throw theirs away, too.

BYU is doing the right thing, even though doing the right thing will likely cost them scads of money. Davies is taking personal responsibility for his actions and not blaming BYU or anyone else. And that’s the way it should be.

And most of the comments have been on the side of BYU. I suspect Allahpundit’s going “oops, I shouldn’t have said that.”

22 Comments

  1. Players who are offered athletic scholarships to Brigham Young University are informed just what those scholarships mean, and what rules they have to follow to retain their scholarships and remain on the teams.

  2. Agreed w/ you and Dana. Davies is LDS – heck, he even grew up in Provo. He knew what would be expected of him when he chose to go to BYU. You have to respect a school that places principle over athletics.

    Look, I sympathize with the kid for one reason – my father was kicked out of BYU for an honor code violation (he was in a pool hall that was off-limits to students). But Dad was never really interested in living a Mormon life, and he ended up being happy at Utah. If Davies wants to live a secular life, he should just head up I-15 and don a red jersey – I’m sure the Utes would be happy to have him. But my understanding is that Davies has accepted his punishment with grace and will remain at BYU and a member of the LDS Church, so kudos to him on realizing he violated not only BYU’s strict moral principles but also his own.

    I mean, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if it were a school like Northwestern or Stanford kicking a guy off the team because of academic issues, right?

  3. On the other side of the coin there will be the people who do not understand. You will hear jaded sportswriters that it was “just about sex” as if that had no bearings on the moral issues. There seems to be very few places left where morals are the one thing that counts, and all else is secondary.

  4. Heck, at most schools — though not the University of Kentucky, I’m certain — the Athletic Departments provide the girls for the players!

  5. Well, so much for Huck’s presidential aspirations, unless he thinks he can win without the 50% of men who are fantasizing that Natalie’s kid is theirs…

  6. Natalie Portman’s unborn children, Luke and Leia, were fathered by Anakin Skywalker; they had to keep their marriage secret.

  7. Could he get back on the team if he married the girl and 5 or 6 of her girlfriends?

  8. Dana – I’m suddenly moved to want to remain a galaxy far, far away from Portman’s fiance. Wonder if he breathes funny.

  9. Hitch, I don’t have a problem with BYU enforcing it’s rules, both faculty and students must sign a pledge to uphold the Honor Code. And, BYU is an exemplary institution in so many respects, but given the LDS association with polygamy, this particular rule strikes me as wide open for ridicule on a variety of grounds, especially since the school’s namesake had 54 “wives.”

    Moreover, the rate of married students at BYU is about 5 times that of similar American colleges and universities, students at BYU tend to marry early and in remarkably high percentages. It’s not unreasonable to speculate on the relationship between BYU’s ban on premarital sex and the extraordinarily high rate of early marriage. Given the open climate of sexual activity among college age youth, there must be quite a few opportunities for campus authorities to bring sanctions against Honor Code violators.

    Now, I don’t know if a quick and quite marriage was on the table in this case as an option for avoiding suspension, but if it was that would add another layer of complexity and help to reveal if we’re looking at an even handed application of the rules, or if a high profile athlete was singled out as an example.

    Granted, my comment failed to include the points made now, and it was flippant, but it did call attention to an historical fact which is germane in the broader context raised by the controversial suspension.

  10. the controversial suspension.

    The only reason it’s “controversial” is because moral relativists don’t like it when principled people hold to their principles.

    but given the LDS association with polygamy, this particular rule strikes me as wide open for ridicule on a variety of grounds, especially since the school’s namesake had 54 “wives.”

    Hogwash.

  11. Jeff says:
    4 March 2011 at 09:19 (Edit)
    @Dana – yeah, UK just provides them with pre-answered exams :-)

    But where they got them was when they asked them to put their name on the paper. 8-)

  12. I’m with you, John. The LDS Church turned against polygamy over 100 years ago, and current Mormons HATE the polygamists. (At least, the ones I’m related to do.) Joke all you want to, Rope, but the reality is there’s no questioning the sincerity of the Mormon code of ethics.

  13. Hitch, the reason the suspension is controversial is because a school named after a polygamist is enforcing a ban on premarital sex. Now, while the ban can be seen as instrumental in reinforcing early marriage, it can also be seen as fertile ground for ridicule. I have no problem seeing those two sides and agreeing with your points as well, people should live up to their principles.

    As stipulated above, I have no objection with BYU employing sanctions to support it’s rules, but that doesn’t place the rules or the institution above criticism or make them immune from the sting of ridicule.

    As for Brigham Young’s wives, the excerpt below is from Wikipedia and explains the confusion over the actual number. (He married his first wife while he was still a Methodist, she died early.)

    “Young was a polygamist, marrying a total of 55 wives, 54 of them after he converted to become a Latter Day Saint. The policy was difficult for many in the church. Young stated that upon being taught about plural marriage, “It was the first time in my life that I desired the grave.” By the time of his death, Young had 56 children by 16 of his wives; 46 of his children reached adulthood.

    Sources have varied on the number of Young’s wives, due to differences in what scholars have considered to be a “wife”. There were 55 women that Young was sealed to during his lifetime. While the majority of the sealings were “for eternity”, some were “for time only”. Researchers believe that not all of the 55 marriages were conjugal. Young did not live with a number of his wives or publicly hold them out as wives, which has led to confusion on the number and identities…”

  14. Jeff, questioning the sincerity of those who profess to adhere to the “Mormon code of ethics” is practically an art form among many of the Jack Mormons I’ve been acquainted with. It’s rather similar to listening to Presbyterians or Methodists talk about Baptists.

  15. Ropelight, cool it with your vendetta against Mormons. It is not at all germane, and you should know better. I brought up the fact that BYU is a Mormon University to point out that it is a private, religious school that is not bound by government rules as to who they accept and who they decline or as to their chosen Code of Conduct.

    You want to heartlessly bash Mormons, go ahead, but know this: you look the fool when you do, and I don’t got yer back. In fact, I’ll blast you down from the hilltops for your blather. You’re being a trollish idiot.

  16. Hitch, I have no vendetta against Mormons, I admire them, and I’ve agreed with your point about living up to principle. Nor have I any interest in bashing Mormons, heartlessly or otherwise, nor am I bashing any other religion, collectivism and global warming excepted, of course. But facts are facts, and other than my acknowledged flippant initial comment, I don’t see where any of my subsequent comments deviate from the easily verifiable historical record.

    As for your threat to blast me and your name calling, I’m not only unimpressed, I’m disappointed. We share many similar positions, not all by any means, and other than an initial dust up, we’ve never been at odds. This however is different. I’ll state my position and you can take exception or not, if that’s your inclination. But don’t try to tell me what I can or can’t say. Don’t threaten me, and don’t expect any honeybells.

  17. “As for your threat to blast me and your name calling, I’m not only unimpressed, I’m disappointed. We share many similar positions, not all by any means, and other than an initial dust up, we’ve never been at odds. This however is different. I’ll state my position and you can take exception or not, if that’s your inclination. But don’t try to tell me what I can or can’t say. Don’t threaten me, and don’t expect any honeybells.”

    Well stated, ropelight! Join the crowd.

  18. BYU can do whatever they like, it’s a free country, but the notion that their policy is anything but moronic is kind of hilarious – there’s nothing especially honorable in waiting until marriage to have sex. Adhering to one’s own principle, sure, honorable enough, but the principle in question here is completely idiotic & most of the world knows it — a few loud backwards types care at all who has sex before they get married, but that’s all, and in twenty or thirty years there’ll be so few of these people that the rest of the world will once again be able to go about its business without worrying about it. The brief historical window within which anybody cared about this kind of thing will shortly be remembered as a fairly bizarre moment.

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