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BYU basketball player suspended: sports world shocked – and impressed

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In order to remain “chaste and virtuous,” one must not engage in premarital sex. Students have to sign the honor code every year.

While most sports commentators say they can’t imagine themselves (or most people, especially athletes) operating under such rules of behavior, BYU’s swift action in the face of an admitted violation has caused many to reexamine general sports behavior by comparison.

ESPN.com senior writer Pat Forde put it this way:

What makes this such a powerful testament is the fact that so many schools have cravenly abandoned their standards at such a time as this, embracing athletic expediency over institutional principle. It happens so often that we don't even raise an eyebrow at it anymore.

Player arrests or other antisocial behaviors are minimized as youthful mistakes, with strenuous institutional effort put into counterspinning any negative publicity. Academic underachievement is dismissed as merely the price of being competitive in big-time athletics. "Indefinite" suspensions often last only as long as they're convenient – timed to coincide with exhibition games or low-stress games against overmatched opponents.

FOXSports.com senior college basketball writer Jeff Goodman notes that “in an era in which big-time college athletics has run amok, BYU has maintained its core values and refused to sell out.”

Not surprisingly, Jay Evensen, editorial page editor at the Deseret News (which is owned by the Mormon church) used a biblical analogy in his signed column Thursday:

Mr. Evensen and other sports writers point to an investigative piece published this week in Sports Illustrated and headlined “College Football and Crime.”

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