Deadspin Exposes BYU Honor Code, But is it Unfair to Black Athletes?

It is my opinion the BYU Honor Code is a farce.

I have had many former and current BYU students and athletes reach out to me confirming to me what I already knew, that the Honor Code is like a speed limit.

The law says you are suppose to go 60 MPH on the highway, but who actually goes 60?

The interesting thing in this Deadspin report is similar to if you are driving in the suburbs at night going 75, who is more likely to get pulled over the white woman in the minivan or the four brothers in the Impala on 22s bumping Rick Ross?

While you ponder that here are some of the details Deadspin compiled.

Since 1993, according to our research, at least 70 athletes have been suspended, dismissed, put on probation, or forced to withdraw from their teams or the school after running afoul of the honor code. Fifty-four of them, or nearly 80 percent, are minorities. Forty-one, or almost 60 percent, are black men.

Clearly, though, something is amiss at BYU, where around 23 percent of the athletes are minorities, according to the university. Only .6 percent of the student body is black (176 out of the 32,947 students enrolled in 2010). Yet a majority of the honor code violations involve black athletes. Do these numbers mean these athletes “sin” more than everyone else? Hardly. Several former BYU football players told us that their white teammates routinely broke the honor code and got away with it, either because they didn’t get caught or because their violations were covered up. (To a lesser extent, this holds true for Polynesian athletes. More on that later.) Mormon athletes can turn to bishops and church leaders from their own homogeneous communities — people who look like them and might even be related to them — to “repent” and avoid official punishment. Black athletes, who are typically non-Mormon, rarely have this option.

The report speaks to several former African-American BYU athletes who point out during their recruitment the Honor Code was rarely mentioned and they were seduced to the University with women (in one case an Orgy).

In essence they are saying they were lead to believe that BYU was like any other college campus, but the African-American athletes are made out to be scapegoats.

Read the story of Ray Hudson:

“When I first came to BYU and signed the honor code, they knew I had a girlfriend who was pregnant,” Hudson says. Administrators, coaches, teammates — everyone knew, according to Hudson. “My son [Raymond Hudson III] was born September 9, 2004. That was the first game that we had. I went to that that game instead of going home to watch him be born. I stayed there. I was on the phone while he was being born. I wanted to show people how dedicated I was to the program.”

This was before he had become collateral damage in a sex scandal that brought about some of the biggest honor code investigations in the history of BYU sports — before his dedication would be repaid in ugly fashion and his infant son would be used as a cudgel against him. In’s “America’s team” story, Steve Young said of the honor code: “There’s no bait and switch. It’s very out in the open, very clear. It’s compassionately administered. …” Hudson’s saga, not to mention the experience of several black athletes, suggests otherwise.

One thing should be made clear, regardless of what you think of the BYU Honor code, the players black, white or yellow all sign the agreement.

When you sign a contract you are responsible for living up to your part of the deal.

Some of those violations in the Deadspin article at legit. Ranging from theft to sexual assault.  You can’t blame the BYU Honor code for trying to go Bathroom Ben on a young woman.  But there are others that you know everyone is violating, but it only appears a certain section of the student population is being punished.

Going back to our speeding analogy, of course the black guys in the Impala are more likely to get pulled over, just like Non-Mormon athletes are more likely to be “turned in” and punished for getting a little frisky with their girlfriends.

While it might not be fair, the fact is when you are speeding you have to know that as a minority you are putting yourself at risk of getting unwanted attention from the authorities (sometimes you don’t even have to be violating any traffic laws to do that).

Life isn’t fair.

Trust me anyone who tried to turn in Jimmer Fredette for any violations of the Honor Code (not accusing him of anything) would have been patted on the head and led away, Brandon Davies not so much.

My issue will always be the hypocrisy of the code and its selective implementation. The fact that BYU is trying to stand on a higher moral ground when they are in the gutter just like everyone else is troubling to me. When it comes to African-Americans or non-Mormons my suggestion is now you know, if you still choose to go to BYU, you have no one to blame except yourself.

7 thoughts on “Deadspin Exposes BYU Honor Code, But is it Unfair to Black Athletes?

  • I've been told by my family growing up that there always has been and continues to be a double standard. It's the world we currently live in. The only way things will change is if enough of us have enough strength to rise up despite this standard and become the decision makers.

  • I've always asked wny a black student athlete would go their especially if their not morman, if you have offers from BYU I'm sure you have similar ones as well. Why put yourself in a situation that you cant possible win with out complications? They got folks sneakin looking in your windows waiting to snitch on you. My biggest problem with it is when they are recruiting these kids they are obviously not telling the entire truth or showing them the real consequences of what happens if they break the code. I also blame the parents who are not checking out these situations fully that they are sending their kids into.

  • This Deadspin article was written by a former BYU professor who was dismissed from the school, and focused on the narratives of athletes who were kicked out. Pretty clear there was an axe to grind with this article.

    Furthermore, the statistics quoted in the article are filled with intellectual dishonesty. Who is more likely to have an easier time obeying the Honor Code at an LDS school: LDS or non-LDS students? LDS, right? Yet they don't mention how many of the black athletes disciplined by the Honor Code were LDS. While there might be a greater percentage of black athletes getting reprimanded by the Honor Code Office, statistically it makes sense – not because black athletes are bad guys, but because the principles in the Honor Code are not the ones they were taught all of their lives.

    I agree that during the 2001-2005 years with Gary Crowton (when a lot of this stuff seemed to go down), the Honor Code was glossed over during recruiting. But the program has made great efforts to change that in the years since. Players are told explicitly during the recruiting process. Why no interviews with the black athletes that would disagree with this story? Brandon Bradley, Brian Logan, Bryan Kehl, and many others. I think it is pretty clear why.

    Bottom line: the statistics presented are flawed, and the testimonies are from guys whose lack of performance and Honor Code violations gave an axe to grind.

  • The article is ridiculous. Bryan Kehl explained yesterday in an interview that he was in the room with at least one of the cited players when the Honor Code was explained to them.

    The whole argument doesn't make sense, anyway. BYU recruits minority players to help win them a championship, then keeps them off the playing field and then kicks them out essentially for being minority students? I don't get it, does BYU supposedly want or not want minority athletes?

    The stories they cite are all old news, anyway. Most of the expelled were involved in big, nasty events that involved a lot of people (skewing the perception of how many occurrences there were) and occurred under previous coaches and athletic administrators. A lot has been done to help non-LDS students generally feel welcome and avoid culture shock or feeling ostracized. Why no mention of new programs and outreach?

    The authors clearly have an axe to grind and should be embarrassed by their intellectual dishonesty. Some of those players were apparently not even interviewed for the article; their quotes were taken out of context out of old interviews and perhaps even Facebook posts. That's pretty disgraceful, really.

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