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BYU makes principled stand for integrity
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Brigham Young University has standards.

But then again so does Cal Berkeley.

The standards, though, aren’t the same.

BYU is a church university associated with the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those who go to BYU do so not simply because they are Mormon. It is a place where higher education is taken seriously as evidenced by the number of U.S. Supreme Court law clerks who have hailed from the Provo, Utah campus over the years.

There have been non-Mormons attend BYU. One of the more infamous ones that comes to mind is Jim McMahon who ended up having a storied career with the Chicago Bears complete with wild off-field antics.

BYU is currently in the chase for what many believe could be their first-ever national NCAA basketball championship. Yet they did something that could severely cripple their chances of making it to the promised land of the Final Four. What they did was put integrity above winning.

They kicked one of their key players - Brandon Davies – off the team for the rest of the season for violating the school’s honor code that he agreed to when he enrolled at BYU. His violation? He told BUY school officials that he had sex with his girlfriend.

In a day and age when college athletes still play when they are standing trial for rape, some believe BYU was wrong.

There is nothing farther from the truth. The NCAA championship trophy is worthless compared to an individual’s integrity.

Davies, and every other student at BYU, agrees to a specific code of conduct for the privilege of getting a high quality education. That goes for Cougar athletes as well.

During the Cougars’ 1984 run for the national college football championship when Roseville’s Robbie Bosco quarterbacked the Cougars, I spent four days in Provo profiling Robbie who was also a Heisman Trophy candidate.

It was as series for The Press-Tribune on a hometown boy.

And while I met storied names in football such as Mike Holmgren, who was the BYU quarterback coach at the time, BYU head coach Lavelle Edwards and Steve Young who had just dropped by the campus after signing his $38 million deal with the Los Angeles Express of the now defunct USFL, the thing that impressed me the most was the campus and the code of conduct.

While I personally disagreed with the fact the dorms at the time had kitchens for the women dorms and not for the men, you could not find fault with what they asked of students.

Women could not wear skirts above the knee. Men had to have hair off their collar. Profane language was absolutely forbidden as was the consumption of alcohol.

There were no co-ed dorms. The other sex was allowed to visit but if they were caught on beds without two feet on the ground they were kicked out of school.

It promoted a way of life with specific standards. Those standards weren’t applied to everyone in the world, just to those who wanted the privilege to access an education at “The Y” as the campus was referred to by locals.

And if you think that makes those students – or Mormons in general – closed minded, guess again.

I have met bishops who were college professors who taught evolution. There are scientists of every religious persuasion and some who aren’t – that believe in evolution but in marriage with something bigger that can’t be explained by science.

It takes a principled individual to hang onto their strong personal beliefs and be open-mind enough to consider – and tolerate – other views.

History shows the Mormons have been treated otherwise by the government of this country. Yet they are still among the first to put 100 percent faith in the public schools.

BYU provides a higher education with higher standards also expected of students in terms of their conduct.

It is a contract they enter into.

The honor code at BYU isn’t just a bunch of words. It is a way of life and it is about personal integrity not just for those that agree to it but for those who enforce it as well.

And in the greater scheme of things, one‘s word is much more valuable and important than a shiny basketball trophy.