BYU makes ‘good call’ for integrity

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, March 6, 2011

Theirs is a championship year. All of the pieces have beenfalling into place. Games have been won, the national rankings havebeen awarded, players are healthy, student and alumni support -already extremely strong – is reaching a fever pitch. Then cameTuesday.

Brigham Young University’s star player and leading rebounderBrandon Davies got into trouble.

He admitted to violating the school’s honor code, a code he andevery other student at the Mormon university must agree to andsign. Tuesday afternoon Davies was kicked off the team for notupholding that code.

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Wednesday night the third-ranked Cougars tumbled dramatically toa lesser team. The spark was gone; the championship season may begone, too.

There is much disappointment on the BYU campus.

The honor code requires all students – athletes and non-athletes- to be held to certain standards.

Upon arrival on campus, each signs the agreement that outlinescertain things they will and will not do while attending theuniversity. As one university official put it, “it is not aboutright or wrong, it’s about commitment.”

An interesting TV commercial about honesty and integrity hasbeen running in recent months.

It shows the final huddle of a high school team preparing totake the ball for the last shot of the game after being given anout of bounds ball with seconds left on the clock. The statechampionship is on the line. Everyone is excited, jumping andcheering – except one player. He looks at the coach, as the coachis trying to calm the team’s composure, and says, “Coach, I touchedthe ball!”

Teammates glare back at him, criticizing his honesty.Bright-eyed, the coach summons the official and sends the team backon to the floor. The coach summons the honest young player and,looking him straight in the eye, says, “Good call!”

In Utah, on the campus of Brigham Young University, students andalumni are also saying, “Good call!” Holding up the honor code theylive under against the championship season they may lose, they arechoosing the code.

In this day where everything goes, where coming out on top isthe most important goal, where winning is everything – regardlessof how one got there, the actions this past week at BYU are abreath of fresh air.

It used to be integrity was the most important goal for everyone- parents, teachers, bosses, community leaders, politicians -winning was the byproduct. It was a philosophy that has carriedthis country very well over the past 200-plus years.

In the troubled times we live in these days, here and around theworld maybe a little more integrity could restore the trust that isso desperately needed right now.

BYU may not reach their national championship goal on thebasketball court. But in my book, they just won something moreimportant than a trophy can ever bring.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, orsend e-mail to