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Muller: BYU Title Run May Have Taken A Hit, But Pride Did Not

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Brandon Davies

Brandon Davies (Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: Ethan Miller)

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By Shawn Muller–

University of Kansas basketball player Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely from the school’s basketball team on February 21st for violating team rules…the second time he had been suspended for breaking team rules over the past two seasons.

In regards to the suspension, head coach Bill Self said, “Although we are disappointed in Tyshawn, he will remain a member of our team and practice with the team until he is reinstated for competition.”

For some schools, winning—despite negative public perception—actually IS everything. People like Bill Self know that the best way to detract the negative aspects surrounding a program is to win. If you win, people are going to look the other way more times than not…cough…SEC football…cough.

But if a coach has disciplinary problems within his program—and he is losing—that coach would be wise to start updating his resume ASAP.

Don’t be fooled by the “discipline” handed down by Bill Self. He had to make it look like he was actually punishing the athlete by sitting him for two games. Now, if those two games were against teams Self believed could “pose a threat” to his Jayhawks, you better believe Taylor would have been playing. His suspension would have been “postponed” until there was little threat of his team losing (kind of like the Ohio State football players for this year’s Sugar Bowl). The timing of Taylor’s return to the lineup was “convenient” for the player and the coach. I am sure the Jayhawks were shaking in fear thinking about facing both of those teams without the services of Taylor.

I just wish a coach would be honest and tell us exactly what we—as fans—already know. The real reason for the timing by Self in Taylor’s reinstatement was this: A win over Texas A&M, coupled with a loss by the reeling Texas Longhorns to the Baylor Bears on Saturday, would guarantee Kansas at least a share of the Big 12 regular season championship for the seventh straight season, and all but assure the Jayhawks a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Sitting for games against two of the Big 12 bottom dwellers in the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners, wasn’t going to affect the outcome of either game.

Self knew this before determining the punishment, and he made himself “look good” in the process. I would be curious to see if Taylor would have been sitting if those two games happened to be NCAA tournament games, and not against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, during seasons in which neither team will be going to the NCAA tournament?  Unfortunately…I think I already know the answer to my own question.

While Bill Self is not alone in the way he goes about “discipline”, at other schools, winning—while important—is not the most important part of intercollegiate athletics.

Some universities actually hold their athletes to the same standards of conduct as the “regular” student…and if that code of conduct happens to interfere with the possibility of a conference or national championship…then so be it.

Brigham Young University is one such school.

On paper, both Kansas and BYU appear to be spitting images of one another.

BYU is ranked 3rd in the country, with the same 27-2 record as the 2nd ranked Kansas Jayhawks. The Cougars are on the cusp of clinching their own regular season conference championship (Mountain West Conference), and, just like Kansas, they are in a good position to clinch a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

But off the court, both universities—and basketball programs—are worlds apart.

For those of you who may not know, BYU is a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Upon enrollment, all students are required to adhere to a strict code of honor, and, if the student does not adhere to the honor code while enrolled at the university and, violations, “may result in actions up to and including separation from the university.”

While every academic institution has some type of “code of conduct” for regular students and the athletes to adhere by while on campus, none are as enforced as those at BYU…and no one—athlete or not—is exempt from such rules.

Forward Brandon Davies, was dismissed from the BYU basketball team—for at least the remainder of this season– because of an unspecified violation of the university’s honor code.

Just like Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas, Brandon Davies is a key piece to the BYU basketball puzzle. He is the Cougars leading rebounder and arguably the teams’ best inside scoring threat. Unlike Tyshawn Taylor, Brandon Davies will not be able to take the court with his teammates in the Cougars quest for a national championship.

Some aspects of the BYU honor code may seem a little “harsh” for those of us who are not of the LDS faith, such as refraining from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee (I feel bad just writing that as I take a swig from my hot cup of Joe). Hell, I don’t know how anyone could make it through college without a couple of adult beverages to celebrate final exams being done, tailgating for sporting events, or having fun on a random Tuesday night.

Other aspects of the honor code are basic guidelines we all should follow in our everyday lives: respecting others, being honest, obeying the law, and the using clean language (OK..Some situations just warrant bad language). There is nothing on this list that is not what is expected of us as everyday citizens out in the world.

Weird—for a lack of a better word—or not, and whether or not you think the rules are ridiculous, they are the rules set forth by BYU and all students agree to adhere to them. Every student enrolled on the BYU campus knows that disciplinary actions may occur if they are found to be breaking any of the rules stated in the schools’ honor code.

Brandon Davies was caught doing something he should not have been doing, and he is being punished for it. I would much rather see situations like the one surrounding Brandon Davies than Tyshawn Taylor. Brandon Davies knew the possible punishment he could face if caught…and he is now suffering the consequences. Tyshawn Taylor, and many other athletes around the country, continue to be a detriment to their teammates by breaking team (or university) rules, and get a slap on the wrist.

Harsh with consequences is better than being lenient and having players continue to make themselves and the university look bad…conference and national championships runs aside.

Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.

shawn muller 2 9 Muller: BYU Title Run May Have Taken A Hit, But Pride Did Not

Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.

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