Senior Writer

Real life deals hard lesson to BYU's Davies


First things first: BYU isn't that bad without Brandon Davies.

Granted, the Cougars aren't as good without Davies as they were when Davies was available for their first 29 games. But I can't imagine they're as bad without Davies as they showed in Wednesday's 82-64 loss to New Mexico. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. And has premarital sex ever had this kind of impact on college basketball?

That's what brought us here, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.

It's true BYU missed its top rebounder Brandon Davies vs. New Mexico, but it's not as bad as the score suggested. (US Presswire)  
It's true BYU missed its top rebounder Brandon Davies vs. New Mexico, but it's not as bad as the score suggested. (US Presswire)  
The paper is reporting that Davies acknowledged to BYU officials on Monday that he had premarital sex. On Tuesday, the school announced Davies is off the team for the remainder of the season. Then on Wednesday, BYU played its first game without its leading rebounder and lost in a blowout. The Cougars will be better Saturday against Wyoming and next week during the Mountain West Conference tournament, I'm certain. But they'll never again be what they were supposed to be, clearly.

Not because of a torn ACL.

Not because of a broken leg.

But because of some premarital sex, which has led to much of the nation debating the BYU Honor Code that prohibits premarital sex and also requires that students attend church regularly, be honest, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse. On one hand, people believe dismissing a player from a team for premarital sex is the craziest thing this side of everybody's favorite television star. On the other, folks argue BYU is a private institution owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that students know the deal when they enroll.

I agree with both points to some degree.

Obviously, I think any code that requires -- not encourages, but requires -- college students to abstain from premarital sex and alcohol is bananas because premarital sex and alcohol were my two favorite things about college. Taco Bell was third. So my three favorite things about college were sex, alcohol and Meximelts, and the nights when I experienced all three are now considered my best memories. Those were good times.

That said, I'm not a Mormon and I didn't go to BYU. If I were and if I did, I would've been made aware of the school's Honor Code before I enrolled (just like Davies) and been required to live my life accordingly (just like Davies). So when people say Davies knew what he was getting into, I get that. But that doesn't make this any less complicated because knowing what you're getting into doesn't mean you understood what you were getting into.

I was once a high school senior with core beliefs, too.

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Nothing like a typical BYU student's core beliefs, I assure you. But I had lines that I never planned to cross in a variety of areas, and I can't begin to count how many of them I crossed in the subsequent four years. In other words, knowing what you expect of yourself or what others expect of you is one thing, but real life has a way of messing with your plans even when you have the best intentions. I know Jessica Simpson never planned to have sex outside of marriage, but at some point -- perhaps on the set of Dukes of Hazzard -- that changed. And I'm sure Miley Cyrus never planned to hit a bong, but I saw her do it on I could provide examples forever, but you get the point.


I bet he had the best intentions.

I know he knew the Honor Code before he enrolled.

But he enrolled two years ago and things have obviously changed. It's easy when you're in high school to promise what you will and won't do. But then it's a Saturday and you're on the couch with an attractive lady, and, well, things happen. In most cases, it's called life and nothing more. At BYU, it's a violation of the Honor Code. So here we are.

Bottom line, I don't know the answer.

Yes, I think the whole thing is crazy. But I respect the religion. Yes, I think this stinks for Davies and his teammates. But I know why it was done. Yes, I think Tim Tebow is awesome. But he's not even human in my eyes. So I guess my best advice is this: Be careful, future prospects. Go to BYU if you want, and I'll wish you luck. But understand that your beliefs and desires will likely change greatly between the ages of 18 and 22, and if they do and if you slip your life will be turned upside down.

If you don't care about those risks, go ahead and enroll. But if you do care and think there's a chance you're more like a typical human than not, well, you might want to check out a different campus, you know, just to play it safe.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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