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Saluting honor,integrity, & BYU

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve heard by now of the dismissal of one of Brigham Young University’s starting basketball players. It’s quite a story because BYU is having a lights out year at 27-2, is ranked #3 in the country, and is a strong possibility to secure one of the number one seeds in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Of course, the suspension of this key player will probably impact the team’s chances for sustained success in post season play. He was their leading rebounder and was averaging 11 points per game.

But that is just a small part of the story.

The more significant aspect is that the player wasn’t guilty of committing a crime, an NCAA violation, or breaking a Mountain West Conference rule --- he violated the school’s honor code. The dismissal didn’t occur after lawyers employed every legal maneuver possible in an attempt to aid the young man in avoiding the consequences of his actions. It happened almost immediately after BYU became aware of what happened. No one was forcing them to do this. There would have been no ramifications at the conference or NCAA levels if they didn’t take any action. It was totally their call. They seem to have understood that while some things may not be unlawful, they are unethical and had the courage to follow through on those convictions.

I don’t know who will win the tournament this year, but I know this, BYU has already demonstrated both on and off the court the excellence that should characterize athletics. They’ve done this on the court by having a great team that is fun to watch and off the court by having an honor code and the integrity to enforce it. Whatever else athletics are about, shouldn’t they be concerned with honor and integrity? Can athletic excellence be worth celebrating if it occurs at the expense of these? It’s like a sleek, sporty car with no engine. It might look great, but it won’t get you where you need to go.

My son said, "This may cost them some wins on the court, but the statement they are making is much more valuable."

Let’s hope he’s right.
 
 
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