Category: BYU

Getting into BYU

My sister started a very interesting thread on Facebook. It began as a question about how GPAs are calculated in the BYU admission process, and it morphed into a “how do you get into BYU” discussion, with people offering a lot of helpful suggestions. I’d link to it here, but it’s a Facebook discussion, and so of course the link doesn’t exist, and it wouldn’t work even if I did.

In any case, someone linked to a site BYU has set up to discuss admissions criteria. It breaks it down by what kind of student you are (incoming freshman, transfer student, international, etc.), talks about average qualifications, scholarship–you name it. I’ve read it over with great interest, even though my oldest child is 8 years away from attending BYU, and things will likely change in the meantime.

But back to the discussion at hand: how exactly do you get into BYU? I would love love love for all my children to go to the Y. I’d take the Y over Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or Stanford–no need to even consider it for me. (Though I recognize that my children will, of course, have some say in the matter. 🙂  ) Why? Because I think college is more than just setting you up for a career. I think it’s about setting you up for life. I work at a university, and I interact with college students every day during the school year. I see the lives they lead, listen to the conversations they have as I pass through the student center. And as I watch all of that, it just makes me more convinced BYU would be the best for my kids. It gives them an opportunity to be in an environment where religion isn’t just accepted–it’s encouraged. It gives them a chance to meet other Mormon kids who share not just their values, but their beliefs. And it does all of that while providing a top notch education at the same time.

But you didn’t come here to read about why BYU is teh awesome. You came to talk about how to get in.

Looking at that site I linked to, I think it’s easy to start trying to obsess over numbers. They’ve got a helpful pie chart that says admissions criteria are based on

  • 20% GPA
  • 20% ACT/SAT
  • 10% Seminary
  • 10% AP/IB Courses
  • 10% Service
  • 10% Unique Personal Circumstances
  • 10% Talents and Creativity
  • 10% Leadership

Then it pairs that chart with helpful facts like these:

  • They accept about 55% of students who apply (Though that’s a bit misleading. Remember, only students who think they have a chance at getting in apply in the first place, so there’s a certain amount of self-selection at work.)
  • Average GPA of incoming freshmen is 3.82
  • Average ACT score is 28.52
  • 82.3% of incoming students earned their Duty to God/Young Women recognition award
  • 1.9% earned a national math or science award
  • 78.7% participated in performing arts
  • 97.1% participated in a quorum or class presidency
  • 95.8% graduated from four years of seminary
  • 70.5% participated in high school sports
  • 75.9% were employed during high school
  • 70.7% of boys are Eagle Scouts

Looking at all those criteria, it seems like getting in is just a simple matter of making sure your child earns his Duty to God and Eagle Scout while working a job, getting a varsity letter, playing in band, starring in the school musical, being a quorum president, graduating from seminary, and making sure to get as close to all As and a fantastic score on the ACT as he can.

Easy peasy.

Oh wait–that’s just the average. So to be a shoo-in, do all of that, and more.

But here’s the thing. All that admissions criteria exists to help admissions officers fulfill their goal, which they sum up as follows:

“The Mission of Brigham Young University—founded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. That assistance should provide a period of intensive learning in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued. (‘The Mission of Brigham Young University’)

“To this end, the university seeks qualified students of various talents and backgrounds, including geographic, educational, cultural, ethnic, and racial, who relate together in such a manner that they are ‘no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God’ (Ephesians 2:19). It is the university’s judgment that providing educational opportunities for a mix of students who share gospel values and come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences is an important educational asset to BYU.”

I added the italics to show what I wanted to emphasize. Getting into BYU is going to be easier for some students than others. Fact. If you live in Utah and are a white kid from pioneer stock, you’re going to have a much tougher time getting in than a student from Slovakia. (Case in point: my wife never took the ACT. Never graduated from even a single year of Seminary. Had great grades, but still–didn’t fall into many of the categories listed above. But she was a convert Slovak citizen who brought a whole boatload of “variety of backgrounds and experiences” to the table.)

The numbers help exclude or include applicants. If you’ve got perfect numbers but a rotten Bishop’s interview, it’s lights out. If you didn’t graduate from four years of Seminary when you easily could have? See ya. After that, it becomes a process of elimination. In 2013, 12,921 students applied to BYU. 7,259 were accepted. So let’s get this out of the way right off: that’s a pretty darn good acceptance rate, from a student’s perspective. Princeton had 26,498 apply and 1,963 admitted (interesting side note? 2.5% of accepted applicants to Princeton had a GPA below 3.5.). BYU accepts 56% of applicants. Princeton something like 8%–and Harvard and the others are even worse.

In any case, to get into BYU, you have to prove that you’re a better fit than 5 out of 10 applicants. Some of that is in your control. Live a clean, moral life. Graduate from seminary. Those are baselines. Once you’re beyond that, then it becomes more nebulous. Clearly you’re not likely to get in if you’ve got a report card full of Cs. But what about a slate of classes that are all AP? Is it better to get all As in regular classes or some Bs and A-s in AP classes?

My take on it? Take the classes that will challenge you at the appropriate level. If you’re going to drown in AP classes, don’t take them. If you’re going to breeze through regular classes, don’t take them either. Challenge yourself. Show that you’re up to expanding your horizons.

Your application becomes a sort of story, and admissions committees look at the complete story to get a picture of who you are and what you’re capable of. If you get a 34 on the ACT and took no AP classes at all, that will seem strange. Why didn’t you? Was it because they weren’t offered? Fine. Was it because you wanted a 4.0 more than you wanted to learn? If that’s the case, then why in the world would they want you at their university?

Remember: they’re looking to fulfill their stated goal that I quoted above. If they have 500 white LDS people from Texas apply, there’s honestly only so many of them they’d like to take. Why? Because they want a mix. It’s not about discriminating against white Texans. It’s about having a good array of world views and backgrounds at the Y. BYU already suffers from a huge lack of diversity in some areas. If 7,000 Utah students all scored 36s on the ACT and graduated with a 4.0 from their high school, BYU still wouldn’t take all of them.

To me, it comes down to being the best student you can be. If you hate band, don’t take band. If you’re not into sports, don’t sign up. If you don’t want to be a scout, don’t be a scout. If you don’t want to go to seminary . . . don’t apply to BYU. 🙂 You’re going to be happier exploring the areas of life you’re interested in than you will if you’re constantly checking to see if what you’re doing is okay by BYU. If you’re ambivalent, then sure–do that which will give you a better chance of getting in.

But even though I want my kids getting into BYU, I want them to be happier more. Happier in grade school, and happier in life. Maybe that means BYU isn’t right for them, and that’s okay. The great thing about all of this from an active faithful Mormon’s perspective is that BYU is a church-run school. It’s a place that I feel most confident saying “if God wants your child to get into the school, then your child will get in.”

Now, me personallyI’m just hoping that there’s a dearth of half Slovak, bilingual LDS students from Maine who apply the years when my children are trying to get in. 🙂 You can be sure I’ll make sure that details like that come up in their application and essays. Bottom line? Focus on the stated admissions goals, not just the average numbers.

It’s all about the package deal.

But that’s just my 2 cents. (Okay–more like 4 cents.) I’d be interested to hear what other people thing. Fire away!

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On Racism, Rivalries, Idiots, and Bill Murray

It’s Monday on Bryce’s Ramblings, and usually that would mean a Vodnik Chapter Commentary. But not this Monday, because I’ve got something to say to you people, and it’s gotta be said today. Why today? Because the BYU/Utah game was Saturday evening. Because we’re coming into the home stretch of Major League Baseball games. Because the November elections are right around the corner.

And because I’ve had enough of all of it.

Yes, BYU lost the big rivalry game–something that BYU has been very good at doing (losing the big rivalry game) for the last while. Why do we lose? I have no idea. It seems like typically Utah is far more pumped up to play the game than we are. But I’m just watching from the comfort of a living room, so I really don’t know. I *do* know what I would do to motivate the team next year–if we were playing Utah, which we’re not. I would sit them all down, and show them this movie clip.

In fact, this is a clip that I think all sports fans would do well to watch and understand–and be forced to keep watching until they understand. Because do you know what?

It just doesn’t matter.

It matters to the players, yes. But what really doesn’t matter is what sports team you support. You’re not a better person than anyone else because the team whose logo is emblazoned on your sweatshirt happened to beat a team whose logo is emblazoned on that other guy’s sweatshirt. It doesn’t grant you the ability to fly, or laser vision, or even a lifetime pass to cut in line at water parks. You’re still just you.

At Saturday’s game at Utah, my little sister (a BYU fan) was in attendance. Here’s part of her status update after the loss.

I may have been a Cougar on Ute trurf, but I am also a human being. I had men, women, and even a seven year old boy spit on me. I was told I wasn’t good enough to walk on the sidewalk, sworn at, laughed at, and had smoke blown in my face.

I haven’t had the chance yet to talk to her to get the whole story. I’d like to think it wasn’t as harsh as that sounds. Surely people wouldn’t spit on a girl just because she roots for a different team. I know my sister. She’s not the kind of gal to be being obnoxious at a rivalry game. This is uncalled for, and I don’t think anyone would argue that point with me.

What makes this all even more pathetic is the fact that–for almost all values, BYU and Utah fans are pretty much identical–especially to an outside observer. They are by and large Mormon. They live in the same towns as each other. Drive the same cars. Make the same money. Share the same skin color. Typically have the same political views. Yes, you might get some anti-Mormon sentiment among some Utah fans, but I don’t think that’s the basis of the rivalry.

The one thing that makes these two groups of people stand apart is that half of them like to cheer for the Cougars on Saturday, and half of them cheer for the Utes.

Of course, if you actually ask the fans of one team about the fans of the other team, you get a much different story. “BYU fans are ___________.” “Utah fans always ____________.” Let me fill in the blanks with some descriptions I’ve heard lobbed at each side over the years.

“BYU fans are all so holier-than-thou. They’re a bunch of arrogant imbeciles.”

“Utah fans are nothing but a bunch of drunk frontrunners. When their team is doing well, they care, but as soon as the team’s doing poorly, they don’t.”

I wrote a post after last year’s loss, in which I wondered why Utah fans were so dead set against BYU sports. And I heard some very valid answers. But what I *don’t* understand, and what I doubt anyone is going to be able to justify to me, is why fans hate other fans. Why they make generalized statements like the ones I just threw out there above this paragraph.

Because here’s the fact: people are uniform. They’re always people. Take a group of anybody, and you’re going to have some geniuses, some idiots, some jerks, some gentlemen–some of any description you want to look for. People are people.

Are some BYU fans full of themselves? You bet. So are some Utah fans. Are some Utah fans drunk frontrunners? You bet. So are some BYU fans, no doubt (and highly ironically).

When people start making broad generalizations about another group of people, that smacks strongly of racism.

LET ME BE PERFECTLY CLEAR: I am not likening the problems of being a BYU or Utah fan to the situation dealt with by minority groups. What I *am* saying is that it seems to me a lot of the same issues are involved in both areas, just on drastically different scale.

What it seems to come down to is an inherent belief that anything “Other” is “Worse.” This extends beyond sports rivalries into any number of other areas. Politics and religion are biggies, too. I’m friends with Republicans and Democrats on Facebook and Twitter. The amount of bile that’s spewed both ways is deplorable. As a Mormon, the arguments I’ve heard made about Mormons in general are just depressing.

It seems like it’s more justified or acceptable to dismiss another category of people (Republicans, Mormons, Utah fans, etc.) if they’re part of that category because of some voluntary choice. If it’s a choice people make, then it’s just fine to call them stupid or ignorant or _______ because they made that choice.

But I’m sorry, that just doesn’t hold water with me. Because again, people are people. Do you have some Republicans who just mindlessly believe what Glenn Beck or whoever is telling them? Sure. But you have some Democrats who do the same thing (just not with Glenn Beck). Do you have some Mormons who are total space cadets? You betcha. But space cadets can be found among all races, creeds, and nations.

The fact is that most people make the decisions they make, believe the things they believe, because they’ve weighed things out in their minds and made what seems to them as the best possible choice. I don’t know anyone personally who said, “I know I’m about to do something really stupid, and which ‘ll always regret, but I’m going to do it anyway.”

Here’s a tip, folks–if you’re gearing up to dismiss *any* group of people with a blanket statement that you believe covers the majority of that group, then you’re out of line. And you’re wrong to do it.

Why can’t we just learn to evaluate people by the decisions and actions they make on an individual level?

Maybe it’s because we like to justify our own decisions and opinions. We like to be right. And in some cases (sports, for example), if another person is right, then that must mean we’re wrong. We’re threatened by the idea that there might not *be* a right. Or maybe it’s because in situations like politics, if enough people believe something you believe is wrong, then you could well be out of luck come November.

I’ve been a missionary–an official representative of a church, tasked with talking to strangers about that church. I didn’t do it in an argumentative fashion (though I know there are missionaries who do). My goal was simply to inform people who were interested in listening–tell them what I believed and why. If they were still interested and wanted to learn more, super. If they weren’t, at least they (hopefully) no longer thought Mormons were the same as Amish (a popularly held belief in Germany, where (to the best of my understanding) the Harrison Ford movie “Witness” had translated “Amish” as “Mormon” in the German version. Thanks, Harrison.) I wasn’t more or less “right” in my beliefs based on how many people I got to join the church.

Anyway. This post has gone on long enough, and I don’t want to get it all weighed down with a religious debate. But it’s been weighing on my mind ever since I saw my sister’s status update. If you’re about to cast judgement on a person you’ve never met based on anything about them you’ve heard, maybe you should question why you’re doing that. If you’re going to write a pithy post on Facebook accusing a group of being stupid, or bigoted, or greedy, or ________, realize that if you have a large number of friends, chances are some of those friends belong to the group you’re about to call names.

We’re a diverse bunch. Let’s celebrate that.

And as for rivalries? I’m all for them. I love some good competitions and hard-fought games. I’m all for being mad at the other team. Being frustrated with how they play the game. Getting upset at how the refs are favoring them all the time. That’s all part of the game.

But hating the other fans because they’re doing THE EXACT SAME THING YOU’RE DOING, just from the other side of the field?

Get over yourselves, people.

It just doesn’t matter.

About that BYU/Utah Game–Mormonism and Sports

First off, yes: we were crushed. Utah played really well the second half, and BYU continued to play really poorly. At the same time, the rhetoric between Ute and Cougar fans continues to disappoint me much more than the loss did. It’s always so black and white with these two teams. To have anyone try and say that BYU didn’t shoot itself in the foot (or blow both its feet right off) in that game–that BYU’s ineptitude didn’t contribute to the lopsided score–is just silly. Yes, some of those turnovers were due to Utah. But a good portion were 100% us. At least let BYU take credit for its own stupidity and butterfingers, folks.

Now that that’s out of the way, I wanted to get some other thoughts down on “paper.” If you’re not a football fan who happens to be Mormon, feel free to ignore this next bit.

Would a Ute fan be kind enough to explain to me (in polite, respectful terms) just why you’re so 100% opposed to BYU sports at this point? I’m not looking for some long diatribe about how prideful BYU is, or how we’re the holier than thou school. I’ve heard those arguments, and I don’t feel like they hold water for me. I don’t see BYU as being any more or less prideful than any sports team. When we were in the same conference, I could see how BYU would be really irritating. Much of the time, we were your biggest obstacle to conference success, just like you were our biggest obstacle.

We’re not in the same conference anymore. Except when we play you, your sports world isn’t affected one little bit by BYU’s success or failure. I’d love to see Utah succeed in the Pac-Whatever-Number-It-Ends-Up-Being. Why? For the same reason I like seeing the Phillies win games, even though I’m a Yankees fan: I have a lot of friends who are Phillies fans. (Of course, I can’t say the same for the Red Sox. Their success comes at expense of my team’s potential. That’s what division rivalries are all about. But if the Sox and Yankees were to no longer be in the same division? Sure. Go ahead and win. Whatever makes my friends happy. But maybe I’m strange like that.)

What it boils down to for me is one question:

If you’re an active Latter-day Saint, how else would you prefer your church run school to behave in sports?

Bronco talks about how much he emphasizes that players should put other things in front of football on their priority list. When asked at the press conference this morning if he thought coaches came in earlier on Sunday to get a bigger start on prepping for the next game, he right off said he hoped none of his coaches were prepping for anything on Sunday–that that wasn’t the right thing to be doing on Sunday.

That’s the sort of thing that makes me really happy to be a BYU fan. Ideally, I’d like BYU to succeed because of the restrictions it places on itself as a church-run school–not in spite of them. Much like I try to succeed in life because of the choices I make as a Mormon, not in spite of those choices.

When BYU gets creamed in a game against its former arch rivals, am I happy? Not a whit. I was really bummed out. But it’s a new week now, and I’m back to rooting for BYU just as much as I was rooting for BYU before that atrocity that called itself a game.*

Is there a large contingent of active Catholics who hate the living daylights out of Notre Dame? Maybe there is, and I just don’t follow Notre Dame closely enough to care. But if you’re an active Mormon, why the hate for BYU? You’re paying the tuition with your tithing. That practically makes you a BYU booster at this point. Do you feel like a church run school should have a sports program at all? You do realize how every single BYU game, the church is mentioned–almost always in a positive light. What I mean, is I can certainly see how the church can view BYU sports as being an effective missionary tool.

Loathing of BYU fans–that I can understand. There are some who are really jerks, and who view BYU sports as God’s team, and that’s just ridiculous. They can be loud and boorish and ill-informed. Since I don’t live in Utah, I don’t have to put up with those fans anymore (unless I’m stupid enough to poke my nose into the cesspool that is cougarboard).

But there are idiotic fans of every persuasion–including Ute fans (a point which you’ll concede . . . unless you’re one of them).

So for me, it boils down to a simple question: should a church run school have a sports program? If that’s okay, then (to me) that sports program should embody the principles of the church that sponsors it. In this case, no Sunday play. Encouraging players to go on church missions. Recruiting clean cut players who are willing and ready to follow the Honor Code.

I’ve heard some people say our players were playing really dirty on Saturday. I didn’t see that. The commentators certainly didn’t see that. If our players play dirty, I’d like to think that they’d be punished–just like any dirty players should be. I saw our defense play really strongly in the first half. Those were some hard hits, but no hits that looked intentionally vindictive.

Oh well. I’ll let it drop now. I’d really be interested to see some well thought out essays by people I know and trust about the topic, from a Ute perspective. Ted? Care to comment?

I suppose in the end, I fail to understand the rhetoric because I’m just a strange sports fan. Such is life. Go cougars!

*(And Ute fans, your persistence in rubbing BYU’s nose into that game baffles me. If we really don’t matter to you anymore–as so many of you seem to like to claim–then don’t revel in your victory to that degree. It’s unbecoming. Sort of like if you spent all week talking about how you smeared Powderpuff U across the field. If we do matter, then . . . congrats. We took a lead pipe to both our knee caps, and you took a sledgehammer to what was left over. Now go beat some Pac-12/14/16 teams and establish Utah dominance.)

Are You Ready for Some (BYU) Football?

Football time is here, and if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know what a junkie I am for college football. (Professional football doesn’t have the same feel to me. It’s too . . . professional. Part of what draws me to college sports is how each team needs to constantly fight to rebuild itself year after year. Building a “legacy” or simply buying a good team is much more difficult. Of course, don’t get me started on the recent string of college football scandals.)

For better or worse, a good chunk of my attention is devoted to following BYU football for the months of September, October, November, and (hopefully) a bit of late December/Early January. It all kicked off with a far too close for comfort win over Ole Miss last Saturday, and this week we have Texas. Here are some rambling thoughts I have about the season this year:

  • Independence–Nothing but good news, as far as I’m concerned. Almost all of our games are on ESPN or ESPN 2 this year, and the one that isn’t can be streamed on BYUTV for free. Nice. I was reminded of how awful the alternative could be when I heard rumblings for a while that the BYU/Texas game might be moved to Texas’s Longhorn Network. Uh . . . the same network that is available practically nowhere? Yeah. That network. This supposedly wonder-dunder network made by the big moneybags in Texas, and it’s practically nonexistent outside of the Texas area. That sort of setup would be terrible for me as a BYU fan. I love love love that the team is more concerned with visibility than it is with the bottom line dollar amount.
  • Big XII Fiasco–I am so done with all the conference realignments. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t follow this all very closely anyway, but I’ve been really disappointed with how much money and prestige in football has come to dominate all of college sports. There’s no loyalty whatsoever when it comes to college football conferences in the past year or two. Long time rivalries are getting torn up as teams play a big game of musical chairs. What does this have to do with the betterment of the sport? Very disappointing. I remember when the WAC had 16 teams. That lasted what–3 years? Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen with a super conference? In any conference, there will be the elite top half of the conference, and the not as elite bottom half. If the top half suddenly gets a whole lot of money waving at them, I think we’ve all seen what happens. Blech.
  • BYU/Utah–That said, I have to say that I’m kind of relieved BYU and Utah are in different conferences now. (Or, one in a conference and one independent). The rivalry was getting beyond ugly when I left the state, and can’t imagine it improved much in the time since. Outright hatred of anyone is never a good thing, and that’s what it was beginning to feel like. I’m a Yankee fan living in the middle of Red Sox Nation, and I get my share of ribbing and jibes (and give them right back), but it honestly has never really felt mean spirited to me in the same way that Utah/BYU fans could get. (This might be because I’m not an obnoxious Yankee fan, and my friends aren’t obnoxious Red Sox fans. For the most part. Wink wink.) BYU and Utah got bloody and yucky. Sports is supposed to be fun, and that wasn’t. So I’m glad they’re still playing, and I’m sure the rivalry will still be there, but I’m hoping this all cools it down some. People in Utah–has it worked?
  • Ole Miss game–Way closer than it should have been. We could move the ball at will–until we got close to their end zone, where we kept getting magnetically shoved away. Not cool. Our defense did great, but our offense had way too many jitters, which has left me a nervous wreck looking at this week’s schedule. Texas? At Texas? Our offense better get its act together, or we’re sunk. That said, I think it’s interesting that Texas is in about the same position we’re in in some ways. New coaches, new schemes–lots of new players for them. Hopefully it all balances out. With the beginning of each football season, it takes four or five weeks until you really know what your team is like. Maybe that supposed marshmallow team from week one is actually a dominant force. Maybe the #13 team you beat in week 2 is actually awful. So . . . we’ll wait and see.
That’s all I have time for right now. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery? Rise and shout, people!

Brandon Davies, BYU Basketball and the Honor Code

Brigham Young Cougars NCAA Logo'd Executive Cufflinks w/Jewelry BoxIf you follow college hoops at all, you’ve likely heard the story: Brandon Davies, the third highest scorer on BYU’s team, was kicked off that team on Monday for honor code violations (supposedly for premarital sex with his girlfriend). Up to that point, BYU was having a fantastic season. We were ranked third in the nation, and it looked like we had a shot at being a 1 seed when March Madness begins in a few weeks.

Last night, we lost at home by 18 points to an unranked New Mexico.

Was it all because of Davies’ absence? No. He was often in foul trouble when he was playing, so it’s not like we’d never been on the court without him. But just look at what happened to Tiger Woods’ game after all the personal troubles he had came to light. To expect a team to continue to play at the top of its game after such a big blow is unrealistic. They were bound to have issues.

How do I feel about BYU basketball right now? Prouder than ever. As much as I’d love to see BYU go to the Final Four or win the national championship, I don’t believe it should do it by compromising its standards. The school has an honor code–a strict honor code. No alcohol, drugs, coffee, tea, sex, beards, long hair (for guys)–it can seem like a pretty random mish-mash of rules to an outsider. But it’s a private religious institution, and it’s up to them to set their rules. All those rules have some basis in Mormon theology or practice. Having gone to BYU for seven years, I know the ins and outs of it pretty darn well. And I support it. (Though no beards? That was a bummer. I stopped shaving the day I graduated from BYU, and I’m happy to say I haven’t shaved since.)

It’s the Honor Code. It’s well known, everyone has to sign it every year, and you know what the consequences might be if you break it. BYU couldn’t do anything differently than what it did once Davies told the administration what he had done. To do so would have gone against everything the university stands for. Karl Maeser, one of the founders of BYU, is famously quoted at BYU as having said this about the honor code:

“I have been asked what I mean by “word of honor.” I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I might be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first.”

(In fact, there’s a stature of Maeser on campus, and students regularly draw a chalk circle around it as a joke, referring to this quote.) BYU takes its Honor Code very seriously. It’s an inherent part of the institution, because BYU views itself as being primarily a religious school. You pray before every event (including football games). I’d often be required to sing church hymns before each class. You’re not allowed to take a test in the testing center if you’ve got a 5 o’clock shadow even. You go to BYU knowing full well what you’re getting into. If you think it’s too nit picky, don’t go there. (Even with all these requirements, it’s a school that’s very difficult to get into. I always was annoyed at people who complained about the rules too much while they were at BYU. They were taking someone else’s spot–someone who really wanted to be there, rules and all.)

How do I feel about Brandon Davies right now? Extremely proud of him, too. To turn himself in after doing what most of the world these days wouldn’t even bat an eye at–and then publicly being apologetic about it and accepting the consequences. That takes guts. I wonder how many basketball courts would be empty during March Madness if only virgins were allowed to play. I feel bad for Brandon that he has to go through such a public scrutiny about something that should be a private affair, but that’s spilled milk at this point.

What will happen to us in the tournament? Does it really matter? We’ll do what we always do–play our best, try to win, and do it according to BYU’s standards. When so much of college sports these days is focused on not getting caught, to see an institution do this to itself at the height of its program . . . I find it inspiring, though I know a lot of people have been saying it’s stupid.

Maybe that’s why I went to BYU.

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