Thursday, March 3, 2011

Love and Basketball

It’s March and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for me to get really, really, really excited about college basketball. After all, there are two things that dominate conversations in my world… basketball and reproductive health.

An odd mixture of conversations for sure, but today the two issues collided and I am therefore compelled to blog about them, together. Those of you who are not die hard college basketball fans like me may have missed the news coming out of Povo, Utah today. Brigham Young University (BYU) is having an absolutely remarkable basketball season and has been ranked as high as #3 nationally… yes, BYU! But, this post isn’t about the team’s unprecedented basketball prowess, rather about the university’s honor code. News broke today that one of the team’s star players had been suspended for the rest of the season. Pat Forde of ESPN broke down the situation like this:

“Key player on probably the best team in school history gets in trouble in the final week of a 27-2 season. With a Mountain West Conference title and a probable No. 1 NCAA tournament seed there for the taking, the school learns of an honor code violation on Monday, a violation that school officials said was not a criminal offense. On Tuesday, Davies is suspended for the rest of the season.”

That report from ESPN was before we learned that the violation was… wait for it… wait for it… young Mr. Davies was busted having premarital sex with his girlfriend! Yikes! Are you serious?

So here we go, let the debate begin. Was the suspension justified? Was it too harsh? The kid’s a sophomore in college, what’s the big deal? It will make for interesting dialogue on the sports blogs for sure, but here’s the deal: BYU has a standard, an honor code, and expectation of its students. Davies didn’t live up to that standard and he was dismissed from the team. He knew the expectations, was well aware of the code and chose to violate it.

What if we all held young people to a standard and let them know there were associated consequences? What if conversations about love, sex and relationships included our young men at the same level they target young women? What if all young men, especially young male athletes, knew they weren’t exempt from the rules? What if…

By the way, as I write this post BYU is well on their way to losing a basketball game tonight (their first post suspension) ostensibly crashing their dream season. But, tonight’s lesson is about much more than wins and losses on the court. It’s about expectations for our young people, and a reminder that indeed we can have them!! What if…

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